The cleaning products you should NEVER use around pets

Beware! Cleaning products you use in your home could be toxic to animals

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While we are battling coronavirus with cleanliness, many cleaning products we are using to scrub our homes till they gleam could be toxic to our pets. So if you're doubling down on your cleaning regime at the moment, determined to keep everything germ-free and smelling fresh (and ourselves busy while confined to four walls), spare a thought for your pet pooch and puss. 

Dogs and cats can get everywhere and into everything – including using the toilet as an alternative water bowl. However, if you have just squirted cleaning fluid round the rim, this could be dangerous for your precious fur baby.

Our four-legged friends are hypersensitive to the strong odours and fragrances from cleaning products, which could lead to irritation and, sometimes, breathing difficulties.

And, as cleaning expert Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of laundry delivery service Laundryheap (opens in new tab), warns, there are ingredients in the liquids and sprays that can cause harm to animals.

Deyan advises on the products you should be cautious about using around them, recommends that you always check the bottles and cans before use to see what they contain, and suggests some pet-friendly alternatives.

1. Ammonia

Commonly found in drain cleaners, oven cleaners and floor cleaners, ammonia is a popular ingredient in cleaning products because of its degreasing ability. It is highly toxic to pets and can cause severe irritation to their skin and eyes, as well as burning in the nose, throat and stomach if they lick it. Keep your furry, or feathered, friends away from products containing ammonia. If you do use them, make sure your pet stays in a different room until it’s completely dried.

2. Bleach

Pets' sense of smell is hypersensitive. Bleach is highly likely to irritate dogs’ delicate noses and can even cause breathing problems, such as asthma. If ingested, bleach is toxic to dogs and cats because of the chlorine content. If possible, opt for a safer, non-toxic cleaner such as Milton’s All-Purpose Cleaning Spray (opens in new tab). If you must use bleach, make sure to rinse the area with plenty of water and keep your pets away until it is completely dry.

Cleaning expert, Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap, advises on the products that are dangerous to use near pets

(Image credit: Cong H/Unsplash)

3. Phthalates (sometimes listed as fragrance)

Phthalates can be found in products used to make your home smell good. These could be air fresheners, linen sprays, carpet fresheners and other home deodorisers. They can be dangerous if inhaled or used near pets, so again, make sure animals are kept out of the room if you’re using a product containing phthalates, or opt for a non-toxic alternative.

4. Benzalkonium chloride (disinfectant)

Many disinfectants contain benzalkonium chloride so it’s best to be cautious with this product. This chemical can cause surface irritation on paws, eyes and the nose if it comes into contact with them. At this time, disinfectant is being used in the home to keep viruses and bacteria away, but dilute it before use (as recommended on the instructions) and wait until all areas are dry before letting your pet near it.

Alison Jones
Alison Jones

Alison is Assistant Editor on Real Homes magazine. She previously worked on national newspapers, in later years as a film critic and has also written on property, fashion and lifestyle. Having recently purchased a Victorian property in severe need of some updating, much of her time is spent solving the usual issues renovators encounter.