The Dangers of Household Cleaners: A Special Warning to Pet Owners

Everyone enjoys the idea of having a clean home, and is enticed by the vast array of household cleaners that are on the market. Many cleaners are anti-bacterial and can boast of killing bacterial and viral germs up to 99% ensuring us that not only do we have a clean home and environment, but germ free from the bacteria and/or viral germs that can make us sick. However, what one may not know is just how harmful these cleaners can be, and could trigger off health problems in children and in some cases be downright toxic. So therefore, no one would never think of getting such cleaners and expose their children to these toxic cleaners, would they? But how many will consider just how hazardous these cleaners can be to their beloved pets? Now of course, most cleaners do come with warnings that they may be hazardous to children and domestic pets, usually citing that they are eye irritants, and therefore not to accidentally get the cleaners in one’s eyes. But is that all? There are far more serious issues about cleaners, especially to pets that many people might not even be aware of.

I recently became aware of cleaners that pose serious health issues to pets, particularly any cleaner or disinfectant that contains the word “sol”, that is cleaners such as Lysol and Pine-sol. The culprit is the ingredient phenol, which in many cases may not even be listed on the label of such cleaners. This not only means the cleaners like the “traditional” pine-scented Pine-sol or Lysol cleaners, but even the pleasantly scented cleaners manufactured by the same companies, such as Pine-sol’s choices of scents such as Lemon, Lavender, Sparkling Wave, and so forth. It should be noted that shelters, and pet rescuers have eliminated the use of such cleaners due to their toxicity to animals.

Now one would never expose children to such cleaners, but does one give a thought about their pets? Here’s are two classic scenarios of what I mean by seemingly and innocently exposing their pet to these toxic cleaners and may not even realize the harm they are causing to their pet. Scenario one: You’ve just cleaned your kitchen floor with a Pine-sol cleaner and the floor is drying. Your dog or cat comes into the kitchen while the floor is still drying. The pet gets the cleaner on their paws, then later on, the pet grooms itself cleaning off their paws…bingo, they just ingested some of that cleaner. Scenario two: The kitchen floor you cleaned hours ago with one of these cleaners is now dry. It’s feeding time for your pet, and you give your pet moist food on a dish or in a bowl. The pet gets some of the food onto the floor and eats it off from the floor. The moisture of the food absorbs into it some of the chemical cleaner even though the floor was dry. Once again, you’ve unknowingly exposed your pet to that chemical cleaner. Therefore, you may be inadvertently exposing your pet to severe health risks every time you use any one of these chemical cleaners

Now here are the alarming facts about the ingredient of phenol that is found in many chemical type disinfectant, antiseptic and anti-bacterial cleaners, particularly the ones containing the word “sol”. Phenol is in itself a highly toxic compound derivative of coal tar, and the health hazard symptoms it can create in pets, range from liver and kidney damage, respiratory problems; phenol is also caustic to mucous membranes, and since cats are more sensitive to phenol, even just a few drops that are accidentally ingested can cause death. While the following symptoms, such as panting, drooling, vomiting, voiding green or black urine, muscle tremors, among other symptoms (1) may be caused by other health problems, if your pet shows any of these signs shortly after you have used a chemical cleaner, your pet no doubt had been exposed and ingested the cleaner, and it’s important to take your pet to a veterinarian immediately!

Of course one sure way to have peace of mind and never have to worry whether you’re exposing your pet, or yourself and your children for that fact, to the dangers of chemical cleaners is to start using products that are more natural. The website Co-op America gives many natural substitutes for any kind of cleaning project in your home, such as using white vinegar which is a known antifungal that kills germs and bacteria; baking soda which can act as a more natural alternative to scouring powders to pure lemon juice that acts as a bleach, grease cutter and stain remover.(2)

There are also cleaning products one can purchase, usually on-line, such as the “Get Clean” line of natural cleaners and is the same line of products that have often been shown on the Oprah Winfrey Show. These products clean every bit as well as the more famous brand names that are nothing more than chemical “concoctions” that are hazardous, but have all natural ingredients that aren’t toxic to humans or pets, and also have the added plus in that they are environmentally friendly and not toxic to our planet as well. Yes, these may be more expensive, but isn’t paying a little more for natural cleaners worth it in the end result in safeguarding the health of your pet and yourself as well?

So before you think about cleaning again with those brand name chemical cleaners that are a hazard to not only humans, but to your beloved pet, please consider going the extra mile and start using more natural cleaning products. It could just save your pet’s life.

For more facts about the dangers of Household Cleaners especially with Phenol:


Natural Alternatives To Chemical Cleaners:

Co-op America Website:


“Get Clean” Website:

These are the cleaning products often seen and talked about on the Oprah Winfrey Show:

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