billionphotos-822868Keep You & Your Pets Safe - Beware Of These Common Household Cleaning Products

It may seem impossible to avoid chemicals these days. They are in our food, our hygiene products and of course, our cleaning products. Despite our best efforts to live “green”, we face an enormous amount of chemicals each day.

This is even worse for pets, who spend most of their days rolling around on the ground and sticking their noses in conspicuous places, especially if they are left to roam freely at home while you are out and about. It's up to us, as petowners, to make sure we keep our beloved friends safe and healthy. If you have a dog or a cat (or perhaps something more exotic, like a pig?), you’ve likely worried about the safety of your home. You probably try to keep your garbage sealed and the floor free of potential hazards (socks and shoes, mainly!). But sometimes the danger remains invisible.

What we are talking about here is cleaning supplies. Even those that are supposedly “green” or “eco-friendly” can contain chemicals that are harmful to your beloved pets. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy list for you – so you can make sure that you are only using safe, healthy products in your home.


Uses: cleaning products, air fresheners, plastics, toys, hygiene products, food

This hard-to-pronounce substance is a sneaky one, creeping its way into many of the products that we use every day. It is used for a wide range of purposes, including adding fragrance, thickening liquids and adding flexibility to plastics. This makes it a very popular addition to cleaning products as well as cosmetics, toys and packaging. But this versatile substance comes with some serious health problems, including disruption of hormones and the potential for obesity. What’s worse is that companies do not have to disclose what they use to add fragrance to their products, so it’s best to avoid using products that simply state “fragrance” on the ingredient label.

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Alternatives: natural air fresheners such as aromatherapy with essential oils, potpourri, or baking soda and lemon mixture, natural cleaning products such as vinegar and baking soda


Uses: air fresheners, cleaning products and essential oils that contain terpenes, hygiene products

You may have thought that formaldehyde was used exclusively as a preservative or embalming liquid, but you will also find this toxic chemical in many popular cleaning products. While it is praised for its antibacterial properties, it has been unanimously agreed to be a carcinogen that causes a wide range of health problems. Just like phthalates, there is no requirement to disclose formaldehyde on the ingredient label, but you may see it listed by one of its many other names, including menthol, methanol, formalin, methylene glycol, formic aldehyde and methyl aldehyde.

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Alternatives: natural air fresheners such as aromatherapy with essential oils, potpourri, or baking soda and lemon mixture, natural cleaning products such as vinegar and baking soda


Uses: laundry detergent, toilet bowl cleaners, mold/mildew removers, scouring powders

Exposure to chlorine comes in many forms, from breathing it in to absorbing it through your skin while your cleaning, to even drinking it – as it is commonly used to disinfect city water. Worse still, chlorine fumes linger at pet level due to the higher density, making it so important to avoid using this product if you have pets at home. Frequent exposure to chlorine can cause respiratory problems and disrupt the thyroid.

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Alternatives: hydrogen-peroxide based bleaches (chlorine-free)

Glycol Ethers

Uses: e-series – cleaning products, degreasers, adhesives, cosmetics, dyes, pharmaceuticals

Glycol ethers are found in two main forms: e-series and p-series. While p-series are marketed to contain lower toxicity levels and are commonly found in “green” cleaning products, they are still harmful to human and pet health. E-series glycol ethers are found in many cleaning products for its powerful grease-cutting properties, but you should be weary of using this product. Though it may clean faster than plain old soap and water, it is known to cause anemia, intoxication and irritation. More specifically, studies have shown that even low exposure to glycol ethers can cause birth defects in animals as well as cause liver cancer. Take extra caution if you continue using this product – it can even seep through rubber gloves and soak into your skin. Check the labels for substances such as 2-Ethoxyethanol, 2-Methoxyethanol and 2-Butoxyethanol.

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Alternatives: natural cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide and castile soap


Uses: window cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, shining waxes

Ammonia is a very popular ingredient in many types of cleaning supplies, though many people are not aware of the health problems that it can cause. While it is very effective at cleaning windows and polishing other hard surfaces, even low levels of exposure can cause serious irritation of the skin, eyes and stomach. Ammonia can even cause death if exposure continues for a long enough period. Your pets suffer these same symptoms and by the same exposure avenue – inhalation or ingestion. And though it is known as a “natural” cleaning product, if you choose to use it, take extra precaution to ensure that you and your pets do not come into direct contact with the substance.

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Keep your household safe and healthy - use toxic-free cleaning products or go with a green cleaning company.