Three Reasons Your Floor Cleaner Isn't Pet Safe
Cleaning up after our pets is part and parcel of having them. And since our four-legged friends are family, the same consideration that we give to household products and our health should be applied to the household products we use around them. The floor is their domain, and to keep it clean and safe you should be cleaning with a pet-safe floor cleaner. Learn why this is important and how to make sure yours is pet-friendly below
Why Pets Are More Susceptible to Toxins in Cleaning Products
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air inside our homes can be between two to five times more polluted than the air outdoors. This is cause for concern for us, but also for the health of our pets, particularly if they spend most of their time inside on the floor.
Floors become hotbeds for toxins – not only from the cleaners we use directly – but also because particulate matter from other household products ends up settling on the ground. This is why it is important to keep the floor clean using pet safe floor cleaners that don't add any harmful toxins.
The behavioral pattern of pets puts them at high risk of exposure to toxins from the floor. Living closer to the ground increases the amount of vaporization of chemicals left behind by floor cleaners which they inhale. Their paws and skin are also in direct contact with toxins on the floor, which can be absorbed through the skin. Furthermore, pets are likely to eat directly off the floor, lick at the floor or at their paws which have been in contact with the floor, and sniff at the floor which puts their sensitive nose into direct contact - all posing the risk of ingesting harmful chemicals from your floor cleaner.
Short term effects like contact dermatitis and itchy eyes can be easier for an owner to spot – although making the connection to irritating floor contaminants may not be as obvious. The adverse health effects of long-term exposure such as disease or asthma are often less visible.
The health effects of floor cleaner are dependent on several factors such as the level and duration of exposure, toxins and the characteristics of the pet. Your best bet is to get acquainted with some of the common culprits so that you can avoid them.
Ingredients in Floor Cleaners That Can Harm Pets
Ammonium, commonly listed as ammonium hydroxide is a common ingredient in floor cleaners as it is an effective cleaning agent. Unfortunately, ammonium is also highly toxic when inhaled or ingested and can be corrosive to the skin, eyes and respiratory systems of humans and pets.
"Fragrance" or "Parfum" is problematic when used in products because manufacturers are not obliged to list the chemicals that constitute the fragrance. Even though it is listed as a single ingredient, a fragrance can be made up of up to 200 chemicals. Commonly used toxins include phthalates: a class of chemicals linked to respiratory disease, chemical burns and hormone disruption.
Phthalates are an issue for pet safety particularly because they persist in the environment and can bioaccumulate, which can have a big influence in smaller pets.
Chlorine is a chemical commonly found in bleach-based cleaning products such as tile scrubs. Chlorine is toxic if ingested and can cause vomiting, diarrhea and burns inside the mouth if a large amount is consumed.
What Floor Cleaners Are Safe For Pets?
To find a floor cleaner that is safe for pets, start by looking at the ingredients listed on the product. Unfortunately, not all products will list all ingredients as manufacturers are not legally obliged to do so in North America. If you find that no ingredients are listed, it’s best to find an alternative.
Using a product database such as the Environmental Working Group's 'Guide to Healthy Cleaning' is a good way to find floor cleaners that have been investigated for their ingredient transparency and potential health risks. The best pet-safe floor cleaner is a natural, unscented floor cleaner that is also effective enough to clear away pet mess.
Top Pet-Friendly Floor Cleaning Tips
Keeping your floor clean will limit the amount of cleaner that you will have to use. This will help keep the overall toxicity of your home down, especially when you consider the amount of product it takes to clean your entire floor.
Using preventative measures like the ones listed below will help you stay on top of a messy floor:
- Use an entry mat, not just for humans but for pets too. Limiting the amount of dirt and debris brought into your home by your pet will limit mess. Keeping a shallow bowl of water by the door for pets to dip their paws into is handy for very messy outings.
- Use a rubber glove, lint roller or microfiber cloth to collect pet dander on furniture before it ends up on the floor.
- Keep a bowl of uncovered baking soda near your pet's favourite spot to deodorize. You can also sprinkle baking soda over carpet or pet beds to soak up smells, then vacuum after to clear odour and pet dander in one swoop.
- Leave a washable mat under food bowls. You can easily pick it up and wash it rather than having to wash the floor every time.
- Damp mop the floor with a pet-safe floor cleaner spray rather than wet mopping with a bucket full of water and solution. Wet mopping uses much more water and will take longer to dry, leaving the wet cleaner exposed for longer.
Ready to make the switch to a pet-safe floor cleaner that will keep all your family members safe? Hit the button to shop below.