Most consumers know that the majority of cleaning products on the market can be toxic for companion animals. Compared to previous generations, we worry a lot more about “sensitivity”, “allergies” and “toxicity”. Shockingly, Americans use at least 62,000 chemicals that haven’t been adequately studied for safety, much less even tested by the EPA!
Much of that dizzying array can be found in any grocery store’s cleaning aisle. It’s hard for even conscientious consumers to know the level of toxicity they’ve unwittingly invited into their homes.
The good news is that there are some simple ways to improve the environmental quality of your home and increase the safety of those who spend the most time there … your pet kids. Plus, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing that you have reduced the toxic burden for everyone in your household. To help you achieve that goal, here are four simple tips to make your home both clean and safe …
1. Actually Follow the Directions
Many common cleaners can be used safely around companion animals when directions are followed. For instance, if a label specifies “keep pets and children away from area until dry,” follow those instructions carefully. Toxins can enter the body in multiple ways including through contact, ingestion and inhalation. So, in this example, consider that it may not only be the slipperiness of the surface that is being warned against, but possibly the release of gasses during drying as well.
2. Proper Storage
Ensure that all cleaners, including laundry detergents and other soaps, remain in their original packaging. It’s also vital to store them securely, out of reach, and in a place distant from wherever your pet kid eats and sleeps. Don’t spray cleaning products near food or water bowls. And never store cleaning products near pet food. Be sure to follow the disposal instructions on the label, discard any empty containers or products you no longer use.
3. Find Products That Are …
–Fragrance-Free: Because fragrances are considered “trade secrets”, manufacturers do not have to disclose any of the ingredients in the scent formulation. Simply by seeking out products without added fragrance, you can eliminate a host of potentially toxic chemicals from your cleaning cabinet.
–Biologically-Based: Bio-enzymatic cleaners emerged on the ‘green’ cleaning scene as a category praised for working effectively without harming the environment or anyone within it. These products work when organic matter (such as soil and odor-causing bacteria) is completely broken down by live micro-organisms. These cleaners are more effective than enzyme-only formulas (commonly sold as pet odor removers) because the micro-organisms leave behind only water and carbon dioxide. Not only that, they continue working for up to 80 hours after application.
–Organic Cleaners: There are numerous options now available that do not contain harsh, manufactured chemicals. But, due to slack regulations on the use of buzzwords like “organic”, “natural” and “non-toxic”, this group of cleaners still requires a watchful eye.
–DIY Options: Introduce one or two of the numerous effective DIY recipes available online to your regimen. Many pantries are already stocked with the necessary ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon, salt, baking soda and castile soap. The simplest, most widely praised of all these is a mix of equal parts water and white vinegar, which can be used as an all-purpose cleaner.
4. Be Prepared
In case of accidental exposure to chemical cleaners or other household hazards, keep the phone numbers handy for both your veterinarian and the animal poison control center. The ASPCA Poison Control Center hotline is 888-426-4435 (there is a fee per call). Symptoms of ingestion or unwanted contact with cleaning products include …
• Nasal and eye discharge
• Decreased appetite
Eliminating toxic chemicals from your home can feel like a big undertaking, so consider making changes gradually. When investigating safer alternatives, start with the surfaces where your companion animals hang out. For dogs, the priorities may be a floor cleaner and laundry detergent for bedding. For cats, perhaps an upholstery cleaner or litter box deodorizer should come first.
To take some guesswork out of this important process, Life’s Abundance offers two popular, family-safe bio-enzymatic cleaners. Both products utilize friendly bacteria to do the do the work for you. Bio-Base Biodeodorizer is an outstanding odor-eliminator that is safe to apply directly to pet bedding, sofa fabric and litter boxes. Bio-Base Floorwash works in the same manner to handle grease, grime and anything your pet kid can dish out.
Caring pet parents take many steps to make their homes pet-friendly. Improving pet health and safety through awareness of potentially harmful chemicals is a natural and manageable extension of that process. Embrace one step at a time and start detoxifying your home today!