With pets sometimes come messes, spills, stains, and smells—it's unfortunate but that's just a part of life, after all. Thankfully, there are a number of cleaning products on the market that are not only effective at removing odors, stains, and even pet hair from your fabrics and furniture but are also safe to use around your pets. Many commercial household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals like bleach to effectively remove bacteria and keep surfaces clean, which can be harmful if ingested by pets. Pet-safe cleaning products are often formulated with cleaning ingredients that are nontoxic to cats and dogs and are biodegradable, making them an eco-friendly option for anyone looking to keep their space clean without compromising their pet's health.
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What to Consider When Purchasing Pet-Safe Household Cleaners
Potential Irritants: Most allergies that dogs and cats have to contend with are due to ingredients found in their food, namely, their protein sources. These allergies can result in symptoms like dermatitis, which can leave a pet with itchy and irritated skin. Sometimes, the ingredients used in detergents and soaps can also lead to irritation on a pet's skin, especially if it's known to be drying, like denatured alcohols or sulfates. If your pet has chronic skin irritation, be sure to read all labels for potential irritants and steer clear of them, even if the product is marketed as "pet safe."
Instructions: While products formulated to be safe for pets and pet-filled households won't harm your pets, you should still always read the instructions before using a cleaning product. Sometimes, cleaning products can be used right around your pets without cause for concern, but in some cases, like products that require a stain or carpet to be soaked, for example, you may need to keep your pets out of the room or a least away from the treated area until the product has had time to work.
"Natural" Ingredients: The term "natural ingredients" describes any ingredient derived from plants, animals, and minerals, and should be created with little physical processing so it's in as close to its natural state as possible. Often, "natural" is conflated with safe, and that is true in some cases, but not all. Essential oils, particularly tea tree oil, have been linked to toxicity when ingested by dogs and cats. A pet would have to consume a large amount of oil to get sick, so the chances of that happening from a spritz of countertop cleaner here or there is pretty low, but if poisonous ingredients are used in things that can touch your pet's skin or hair, like detergent, it can add up over time. It's always best to be better safe than sorry and avoid known toxins for pets when shopping for cleaning products.
The Best Pet-Safe Floor Cleaner
Aunt Fannie's Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash Concentrate, 32-oz. Bottle
For a safe floor cleaner that you know will get the job done without irritating your pets, this is an excellent option to consider. Formulated with white vinegar, which is naturally rich in acetic acid—a strong acid that can break down a number of dirty substances, from grease build-up to scent molecules—this floor-cleaner is available in five fragrances, all of which contain pet-safe essential oils, like lavender, which is safe for both cats and dogs. This floor cleaner is built for use on sealed surfaces like hardwood, linoleum, tile, concrete, and laminate, making it a great choice for just about any household. To use, simply mix 1/2 cup of product with two gallons of water, then add to your mop bucket or spray bottle to eliminate pet stains or grime around the house.
The Best Pet-Safe All-Purpose Cleaner
Seventh Generation Lemongrass Citrus Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner, 26-oz. Bottle
This brand has become a trusted name in creating eco-friendly, multi-purpose cleaners without relying on harsh chemicals like chlorine, bleach, or synthetic fragrances. Additionally, you can use this cleaner on just about any surface around your home, including countertops, windows, floors, hardwood, and even food-prep stations. It should be noted that this particular cleaner contains thyme oil, which, when ingested in large amounts, can be toxic to dogs and cats. Because this product contains a minimal amount of it, it is considered to be pet-safe, but if you need to pre-soak deep stains it's best to keep your pet away from the treatment area just to be extra safe. This product is FDA-registered and disinfects 99.99% of germs including flu and the common cold.
The Best Pet-Safe Stain Remover
Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator, 32-oz. Bottle
Sometimes, our favorite furry friends leave our homes and cars with stains we'd rather not look at, especially if they're on the very young or very old end of life. This is why every pet owner should have a stain remover that they trust, like this one, which is formulated with professional-strength bio enzymes. Color-safe and free of chlorine, this convenient spray can be applied directly to a number of surfaces around the home, including upholstery, garbage cans, artificial grass, litter boxes, and carpets. In fact, it's so safe to use on carpet that it has received seal approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute for its ability to eliminate stains and odors without compromising color or leaving residue behind.
The Best Pet-Safe Odor Eliminator
Nature's Miracle Dog Stain & Odor Remover Spray, 32-oz. Bottle
When it comes to removing pet-related odors from the home, one name stands out above the rest and has continued to do so for years: Nature's Miracle. This product also uses a bio-enzymatic formula, meaning it uses bacteria to feed on odor-causing ammonia particles until they're gone for good—this product doesn't cover up smells or freshen the air (although it is formulated with a citrus scent), it removes odor from soiled surfaces on contact. Better yet, it's safe to use on furniture, clothing, bedding, and hard surfaces, all in a convenient spray bottle, although larger sizes of liquid refills are also available for purchase.
The Best Pet-Safe Carpet Cleaner
Carpet Miracle - Carpet Cleaner Shampoo Solution for Machine Use, 32-oz. Bottle
For a heavy-duty cleaning on a carpeted surface, finding a carpet shampooer and pet-friendly cleaning product may be your best bet, especially if you have deep stains, embedded pet hair, or if your pet has recently suffered from a flea infestation. Highly concentrated and designed for use with several different water-based carpet cleaning machines, including steam cleaners, this carpet cleaner is not only effective, but also certified animal cruelty-free, biodegradable, and nontoxic.
The Best Pet-Safe Laundry Detergent
Shop Care 4X Ultra Synergistic Enzyme Laundry Detergent, 1-gal. Bottle
Keeping clothing clean and laundered will go a long way in removing pet odors from the home, and the same goes for your pet's things as well, like bedding, leashes, coats, collars, and harnesses. Biodegradable and sulfate-free, this product is safe for use on all fabrics, from clothing to furniture, removing odors simultaneously. Used by pet care industry pros, this is a concentrated formula so a little bit goes a very long way (we're talking 3/4 of an ounce in some cases), and it contains zero essential oils. Like other products included on this list, this detergent uses an enzyme formula and is safe to use on both commercial and standard washing machines.