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Eco-Friendly Pet-Safe Cleaner

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in Green Clean | 1 comment

Eco-Friendly Pet-Safe Cleaner

Just like you and I, our pets are vulnerable to harsh chemical cleaners. In fact, they are more vulnerable because they breath more rapidly, have a faster metabolism and often lick or lay on the surfaces we clean without knowing how toxic the chemicals may be.

Harsh chemical cleaners can negatively effect our pets’ health, causing respiratory issues, skin irritation, kidney damage and cancer, among other ailments. The cleaning chemicals don’t just effect you and your pet, they also effect any animals unlucky enough to come in contact with the chemicals that get washed down the drain into your local water system.

I’ve owned indoor rabbits for more than 10 years and none of my fuzzy companions has weighted more than 7 pounds. In addition to their small size, rabbits have very sensitive eyes and skin and since it’s nearly impossible for a rabbit to vomit, it’s important they don’t ingest harmful things.

In an attempt to keep my bunnies healthy and happy I’ve been using a┬ásimple water and white vinegar mixture cleaning solution for several years. It is a very effective, natural, pet-safe cleaner and disinfectant that doesn’t irritate them.

Homemade Pet-Safe Cleaner with Vinegar

For daily use, I make a 50% distilled water, 50% white vinegar mixture. I mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and use it to clean my rabbit’s food dishes, toys, litter box and the carpet in the rooms she’s allowed in.

If something is particularly dirty or stained, I soak it in white vinegar for a few hours and the mess rinses or wipes away easily, usually without any scrubbing.

When volunteering at the humane society, I often speak with potential adopters who ask about the vinegar smell. Once the vinegar is removed from the object you’re cleaning (by wiping or rinsing), the smell is gone. It does not linger to create indoor air pollution like chemical cleaners. In instances where I use it to clean the carpet and I can’t completely remove all the vinegar, a faint scent lingers until the spot is dry.

To mask the vinegar smell or add certain properties to the cleaner, you may be inclined to add essential oils. That may be OK depending on how you use your cleaner, the type of essential oil you use and they type of pet you have. Do your research and, when in doubt, ask your veterinarian. I don’t use any essential oils in my cleaner because:

  1. The scent of the essential oils is likely to linger on the objects you clean and most pets wouldn’t appreciate that. Citrus scents, for example, will irritate most animals and lead them to avoid the tainted object. I don’t want my rabbit avoiding her litter box because it smells like a lemon!
  2. An enticing scent may cause them to bite, eat, rip or dig at the object. In the case of my little herbivore, scents like basil, thyme and rosemary would encourage this bad behavior.
  3. Any essential oils left on the object may irritate the sensitive skin or eyes of your pet. Remember, your pets clean themselves they lick their paws and wipe their faces, so anything on the pads of their feet end up in their mouths and eyes.

An appreciative holland lopI hope you’ll trade your toxic chemical cleaners for a natural, pet-safe cleaner. This small, green upgrade will be very much appreciated by your animal companions.


Nicole knows making small changes for the greener add up over time and hopes you’re inspired to make some changes of your own after reading her articles. She focuses on easy, green, homemade personal products and green living tips for city dwellers. Nicole lives in Pittsburgh, PA and you can find her on twitter at @_nlg_.

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One Comment

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  1. robin

    This is wonderful, however vinegar does NOT kill harmful bacteria staphylococcus and will not prevent or assist with recovery from such illness’s as these.

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