When you have a pet or small children at home, it’s normal to wonder how flooring and other household cleaners are affecting them. Just as some cleaners are toxic to humans, many are also toxic to pets. For example, formaldehyde, isopropyl alcohol, chlorine, ammonia and phenols are quite dangerous if ingested by animals. Indoor pollution — much of which is caused by household cleaners — can put pets at risk for anemia, liver and kidney damage, and cancer.
Are Household Cleaners Safe for Children and Babies?
In addition to pets, babies and small children are susceptible to household cleaners that contain harmful chemicals. Harsh household cleaners can affect a baby’s skin, eyes and airways. Harmful ingredients found in floor and other household cleaners can affect your baby’s health in various ways, including:
- Eczema: Allergens and irritants in household cleaners and detergents can lead to skin irritation.
- Allergies: Some researchers believe that when a home is too clean, it can increase the long-term risk of allergies in a child.
- Airway irritation: Strong fumes from household cleaners can exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms in babies.
- Eye irritation: Fumes in some household cleaners have the potential to irritate your baby’s eyes and even cause damage.
- Poisoning: Every year in the U.S., more than 1 million kids under the age of five swallow poisons found in household cleaners.
- Other unknown health effects: Phthalates are chemicals found in some fragrances. Some scientists believe that there may be a possible connection between phthalates and disrupted hormone levels.
Harmful chemical ingredients in many cleaning products can cause harm to every member of your household — not just children, babies and pets. When cleaning, it’s important to avoid household and floor cleaners that contain harsh chemicals.
DIY Solutions for Child-Safe and Baby-Safe Cleaning Products
When your little one starts crawling, he or she will come into contact with the floors in your home quite frequently. The good news is, you can use simple ingredients — many of which you may already have around the house — to achieve spotless, child-safe floors.
If you’re on a budget and want to make your own household cleaners, you have options! There are several ways you can turn simple ingredients into cleaning products for a wide range of purposes. Some of our favorite DIY household cleaning products are:
- Baking soda: Baking soda is the go-to choice for homeowners looking to remove tough stains on surfaces. Spray a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water on toilets, showers or ovens, then use a sponge dampened with baking soda and vinegar to scrub away any buildup or grime.
- Water and vinegar: Use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to wipe down your countertops, stove, tabletops or almost any other surface in your home. Again, be sure not to combine vinegar with hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach.
- Castile soap: Because castile soap is made exclusively from vegetable oils, it’s non-toxic and biodegradable. Make sure you do not combine this soap with any vinegar cleaning solutions, because using both simultaneously can leave a white filmy residue that’s difficult to remove.
- Hydrogen peroxide: This is a safe, natural and eco-friendly type of bleach. Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent cleaner for removing stains, getting rid of mold and mildew and disinfecting surfaces.
Best Pet-Safe Floor Cleaners
Because some household cleaners may irritate your pet’s skin or cause other disturbances, it’s crucial to look for household cleaners that are safe for pets. Here is our safe cleaners list for pets:
- Eco-Me Natural Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner*
- Aunt Fannies Vinegar Floor Cleaner*
- Better Life Floor Cleaner*
- Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner*
- Aunt Fannies Vinegar Wash Floor Cleaner Eucalyptus*
- Better Life Naturally Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner, Citrus Mint*
Baby-Safe Household Cleaning Products by Category
To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of safe household cleaning products by category. All the following products have been rated “A” by the Environmental Working Group and are widely available online or in stores. Next time you’re on a cleaning spree, try these products:
- Non-chlorine bleach alternatives: Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Bleach, Free & Clear*, will fight tough stains and is color-safe. It’s also made of only two ingredients — water and hydrogen peroxide.
- Cleaning wipes: For a disposable travel-friendly option to clean your baby’s spills and messes, we suggest Fragrance-free Dapple Baby All Purpose Cleaning Wipes* made from plants.
- All-purpose cleaners: We like ECOS All Purpose Cleaner Spray, Parsley Plus* for a plant-powered household cleaning solution for kitchen and bathroom surfaces, floors, stainless steel and painted surfaces.
- Dishwasher and laundry detergent: ECOS Dishmate Hypoallergenic Dish Soap* doubles as a dishwasher and a hand soap, so this cleaning product is a win-win. 365 Unscented Laundry Detergent* from Whole Foods is great for babies and anyone else in your household. It’s fragrance-free and made from plant-derived ingredients.
- Hand and body soap: Our two favorite hand soaps for your baby’s soft skin are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap* and ATTITUDE’s Baby Leaves 2-in-1 Hair and Body Foaming Wash*.
What Household Cleaners to Avoid for Pets and Children
As consumers become more conscious about product safety and health, some go-to household cleaners of the past are now considered unsafe for both babies and pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has provided a guide for knowing which household cleaning products to keep out of your pet’s reach to ensure their health and safety.
Toxic household and flooring cleaners that you should avoid include:
- Chlorine bleach
- Benzalkonium chloride
- Ingredients with names including triclosan and ammonium chloride
According to the EWG, it’s advisable to avoid household or flooring cleaners containing fragrances. Ingredients that contain fragrances may cause respiratory irritation, sneezing, headaches and watery eyes in those with allergies, asthma or chemical sensitivity.
Shop Easy-to-Clean Flooring Solutions at 50 Floor
Whether you’re looking to replace old flooring with laminate flooring, tile, stone, vinyl or other options, 50 Floor has the ideal solution for you. As part of our shop at home experience, a flooring expert will bring samples right to your door so you can choose the best flooring for your home’s lighting and decor. Schedule your free flooring appointment with 50 Floor today and experience the convenience of shopping from home.
*50 Floor is not affiliated with, nor do we endorse specific cleaning products. Always check your flooring warranties before using cleaning products.