Pet safe and natural cleaners

Natural Cleaners

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All-Natural, Pet Friendly Cleaners

I have two dogs and currently use natural cleaners in my house. My wife and I would like to continue this, but we wanted to know if somebody has any other ways to make natural all-purpose and floor cleaners that are safe for pets. Thanks!

Plain White Vinegar is the Best Natural Cleaner

Plain old inexpensive white vinegar is the best natural, pet- and kid-safe cleaner out there. For most things, I make a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water in a spray bottle and get to work! It's a degreaser and it disinfects very well. And if the pets or kids get into it, it doesn't matter, because we use vinegar in our food all the time!

You do want to be careful to check to make sure it's safe for your surfaces, though. The acidity can erode softer surfaces like marble. We use it on our glass, wood, ceramic tile, linoleum, countertops and appliance and bath surfaces with no problems!
Candice in OH

Clean Your Floors with Tea

I got this tip out of a magazine a number of years ago and have been using it ever since we moved into our current home. Wash your hardwood floors with tea! Steep black tea bags in boiling water for about 20 minutes, then use the tea to wash your floors. There is apparently an acid in the tea that helps clean the floor. Our hardwood floors look wonderful every time we clean them. I usually use about two tea bags to about a half gallon or so of water.
Tania from Manitoba, Canada

Cheap and Easy Natural Cleaner

I have an all-purpose cleaner that I make. It's cheap and easy and works great. I also have two dogs and a husband with asthma so I have to be careful what cleaners I use around the house.

2 cups water
1/4 cup vinegar (distilled white)
1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid (like Dawn)

Mix well and pour into a spray bottle (like an old Windex bottle).

I've been using this for years on countertops, toilets, mirrors, windows, etc. It's a great all-purpose cleaner.
Kathy in Greenbrier, AR

Related: Uses for Vinegar

Natural Cleaner Resources

I purchased a book entitled Cheaper and Better: Homemade Alternatives to Storebought Goods by Nancy Birnes. It has a chapter on household cleaning supplies. There are few things in your home that can't be cleaned with either vinegar or baking soda. She also has 11 other chapters dealing with health and personal care aids, gardens, pets, pests, convenience foods, etc. It's a very good resource book. Another good reference book is Reader's Digest Household Hints and Handy Tips.

A Simple Recipe for a Natural Cleaner

Our family, which has a golden retriever, is switching to more natural cleaners. I don't buy any specific brands just the raw material. I purchase vinegar, essential oils and baking soda.

Floor cleaner: Mix hot water in a bucket with about 2-3 cups of vinegar and about 5-10 drops of essential oils. I use this mixture to mop my floors. They are shiny and very clean. The vinegar smell disappears very quickly and leaves the smell of the essential oils. Mint, eucalyptus, orange, rosemary, peppermint, citronella and lavender are some of scents that I enjoy. I may combine any 2 or 3 of those for cleaning.

Window cleaner: Water, vinegar and essential oil. Put these into spray bottle and clean. This is also great for shower walls and curtains.

Scrub powder: In a clean parmesan cheese canister, I mix some borax (found in aisle of laundry products), baking soda and essential oils. I mix it well and use this mixture to scrub the sinks, tubs, etc.

Laundry softener: I pour vinegar and essential oil into the rinse cycle. Also, I keep a little plastic box in which I have cut up squares from white t-shirts on my dryer. I purchase a liquid fabric softener that I like. I mix hot water with softener and pour the mixture over the squares in the box. Keep the box sealed and throw in one or two squares with the clothes in the dryer. It stretches your liquid softener and is cheaper. Also, those squares can be reused over and over. Just throw in the wash once in a while.

Dog shampoo: Whenever you give your best friend a bath, add a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint or rosemary oils (essential oils) in his/her shampoo.

Professional House Cleaner's Advice

I can help. I've run my own non-toxic housecleaning business for 16 years and have recipes to share. A good floor cleaner is simply a splash of white vinegar in a bucket of water. It's safe and deodorizing. All-purpose cleaner can be as simple as mixing a liquid castille soap with baking soda. Rub this mixture on surfaces with a sponge and rinse well. Shaking baking soda into the toilet followed by vinegar can clean and deodorize the bowl. A spray bottle of water with a splash of vinegar can be used to clean counters. Full-strength vinegar can be used to disinfect bathrooms and kitchens. Add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or lemon to your cleaners for added anti-septic effects.

Natural Cleaner Tips

Regarding safe cleaners around pets, nothing beats vinegar and water. Add a teaspoon of alcohol if you want to disinfect. Mix 1/2 gallon water, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 1 tsp. alcohol or 1 tsp. liquid dish soap, preferably organic.

For a scrubber, borax is safe. Scrub and rinse well after. If Borax is too gritty, use baking soda shaken onto a damp sponge; it has enough grit to scrub without scratching.

Dried bay leaves on pantry shelves will keep little unwanted critters out of stored grains and will keep away other crawling things. Buy dried bay leaves and lay them down around the shelf generously. They last at least six months, but I've kept mine longer. I use an old styrofoam plate to hold my bag of sugar. I put bay leaves all around the sides of this plate to keep ants away.

If ants come in the doorway, a chalk line will stop them, or when you peel a cucumber, lay the fresh (scrubbed if not organic) peels where the ants are. They don't like cucumber peels.

Essential oils (lemon and lavender) mixed with some baking soda in an old plastic cup in a corner where the dogs lie down will keep doggy odors down.

For more natural cleaning recipes: See Clean with Essential Oils

Dry lemon and orange peels on a sheet of newspaper in an out-of-the-way place. When the house is not fresh smelling, bring a one-quart pot of water to boil and boil the dried peels. They'll give off their fragrance and refresh the house. Throw in old spices such as cloves or cinnamon sticks that are outdated for extra fragrance. When done, put it all in the bottom of the compactor or let everything dry and put it in the garbage as a deodorizer.

Compare prices on certified organic essential oils on

Don't Miss This Great Resource About Natural Cleaners

The best resource for homemade cleaners is Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond. This is a lifesaver for anyone with pets or children. Most of her recipes are on the website

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