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What Cleaning Products Are Safe for Cats? 6 Vet Approved Items to Keep at Home

Written by: Kit Copson

Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat sitting near basket of cleaning products

What Cleaning Products Are Safe for Cats? 6 Vet Approved Items to Keep at Home

VET APPROVED

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cleaning when you have cats can be a worrying business. Common cleaning agents like ammonia, chlorine (bleach), phenols, rubbing alcohol, formaldehyde, benzalkonium chloride, and essential oils can all be harmful to cats if they come into contact with them.

If you use these products, some of the chemicals in them can cause irritation to the respiratory tract if your cat inhales them, or they can cause irritation to the eyes or skin by coming in contact with them. Cats can even ingest these chemicals directly or by licking them off of their hair after rolling on a cleaned surface. This can cause irritation to the mouth and throat and serious issues in the rest of the digestive tract. Rather than risk harm to your cat, let’s look at some safer cleaning agents you can use in your home instead.

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The 6 Cat-Safe Cleaning Products

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is an inexpensive but powerful odor and stain eliminator. It’s often mixed with other ingredients like vinegar and lemon to make non-toxic cleaning solutions and is even found in some types of cat litter. Some cat parents add a thin sprinkling of the stuff at the bottom of the litter box to help with odor control.

You still need to be careful, though: if a cat manages to eat a large amount of baking soda, it could be toxic to them. In standard-sized cats (10 pounds), any amount greater than 0.3 tbsp is enough to cause toxicity. Luckily, it’s unlikely for cats to be tempted to eat baking soda; just be sure to store it properly where your kitty can’t get to it.

baking soda
Image Credit: NatureFriend, Pixabay

2. Distilled White Vinegar

Another affordable and non-toxic product, distilled white vinegar effectively disinfects surfaces, neutralizes odors, and removes stains. It also contains anti-fungal properties. As such, this is one cleaning product we think every cat parent should have in their cupboard.


3. Lemon Juice

Adding lemon juice to a baking soda and/or vinegar DIY cleaning solution mix not only gives it a nice, zesty scent, but it also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It’s commonly used for degreasing surfaces, adding shine to glass, and getting rid of food stains.

Take note, however, that consuming lemon plants, flesh, and peel can make cats sick. In addition, a highly concentrated lemon juice cleaning solution can cause some irritation to a cat’s eyes and upper respiratory tract if they are confined in a small space when you use it.

lemon juice in small bowl
Image By: Joshua Resnick, Shutterstock

4. 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an alternative to bleach. It breaks down quickly into water and oxygen and doesn’t contain chlorine. It’s often used to tackle odors and kill mold, fungi, and bacteria, and is commonly blended with baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon juice in DIY solutions.

You should never apply hydrogen peroxide to your cat’s skin or let them ingest it. If your cat has a wound that needs cleaning, please seek veterinary advice.


5. Pet-Safe Commercial Enzyme Cleaners

Commercial enzyme cleaners are formulated to tackle urine, feces, and vomit stains and odors left behind on floors, carpets, and other surfaces. You can also get enzyme cleaners designed for specific purposes, like carpet shampoo. When used as directed, they’re typically safe to use around pets, but you should always check the label to make sure.

water spray bottle
Image By: Squirrel_photos, Pixabay

6. Pet-Safe Laundry Detergents

If you’re worried about washing your cat’s bedding or toys in standard laundry detergent, you can get pet-safe detergents for this purpose. These are formulated with natural, plant-based ingredients that are free from harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes that could be harmful to pets. Some are even vet-formulated!

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What If I Need to Use Standard Cleaning Products?

We get it—sometimes, only certain products can cut it. You can still use your regular cleaning products in a home with cats as long as you take certain precautions to keep them safe.

Here are some tips:
  • Keep your cats away from the area you’re cleaning, even if that means shutting them in another room for a while.
  • Don’t let cats anywhere near the cleaning area until it’s completely dry.
  • Open your windows to ventilate during and after cleaning.
  • Always follow the instructions on the product’s label.
  • Dilute bleach with water to reduce its concentration.
  • Rinse cleaning items like mops, buckets, sponges, and rags well after using them.
  • Never leave cleaning products open around your cats.
  • Store cleaning products in places where cats can’t get to them.
  • Keep the toilet lid down to prevent cats from drinking water that may contain toilet cleaning chemicals.

What Are the Signs of Poisoning?

cat vomitting
Image By: Sarah2, Shutterstock

If your cat experiences toxicity from coming into contact with cleaning products, they may display a number of signs. If you spot any of these signs, please contact your vet at once.

  • Pawing at the face and mouth
  • Drooling
  • Trouble breathing
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Collapsing
  • Sores or ulcers on the skin, paws, tongue, or in the mouth
  • Swelling of the skin, paws, or mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty eating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Twitching
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Depression

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Conclusion

There are a number of pet-safe cleaning products you can use, and many are very inexpensive and easy to find. To reiterate, if you do need to use cleaning products that are toxic to cats, please make sure your cat stays away from the area until the cleaning products are dry to prevent them from walking on, rolling on, or licking any toxic substances.


Featured Image Credit: NDanko, Shutterstock

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