An expert reveals the everyday cleaning products that could be harming your pets

Always read the label

We all love a good Spring Clean, however, before you pull on your marigolds spare a thought for your furry friends. Your cleaning cupboard is potentially home to a huge number of non-pet friendly cleaning product ingredients.

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Some cleaning products can be harmful to pets causing irritation and breathing difficulties if they come into contact with them. Plus your pets hypersensitive sense of smells means strong-smelling products can be harsh on their noses.

To help you work out what cleaning products to be wary off, laundry expert and CEO of Laundryheap (opens in new tab), shares her advice on what ingredients are potentially harmful to animals.

Non-pet friendly cleaning product ingredients

grey living room with sofa and dog

(Image credit: Future PLC/D. Blackmore)

1. Ammonia

This ingredient is found in the majority of cleaning products, from drain cleaners to oven cleaners, but is far from pet friendly.

'Ammonia is one of the most popular ingredients found in cleaning products because of its degreasing ability,' explains Deyan. 'This ingredient 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.'

Deyan advises keeping your pet well away from any products containing ammonia. If you do use them, be sure to keep your pet in a different room until it's completely dry.

2. Bleach

coffee table with sofa in living room

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

Bleach is ideal for disinfecting surfaces. However, the strong scent can irritate your pets noose and cause breathing problems. The chlorine content in it, also makes it toxic to dogs and cats if ingested.

'If possible, opt for a safer, non-toxic cleaner such as Milton's all-purpose Cleaning Spray. Or if you have to use bleach make sure to rinse the area with plenty of water and allow it to dry,' advises Deyan.

3. Phthalates/ Fragrance

This ingredient is commonly used in air fresheners, linen sprays, carpet fresheners and other products that make your home smell niche. But, if these are inhaled or used near pets it can be dangerous.

Consider opting for a non-toxic alternative, or make sure your pet is out of the room when you use them.

dog sitting near sofa chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

4. Benzalkonium Chloride

'Many disinfectants contain benzalkonium chloride, so be cautious with this product,' says Deyan. 'This chemical can cause surface irritation on pets' paws, eyes and nose if it comes into contact with them.'

Disinfectant in the home is an easy way to keep viruses and bacteria at bay. However, if you are concerned about the well being of your pets consider using just gentle soap water on surfaces they can reach. It will work just as well.

Related: Three lemon cleaning hacks that are toxin free and total genius!

'Remember, pet owners must be cautious when using any cleaning products. It's advised you always read the label and keep the products well out of reach from pets,' says Deyan

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.