When your dog has allergies and sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to eliminate their exposure to dyes, chemicals and perfumes found in many cleaning products. It will be difficult if not almost impossible to completely determine if your pup is allergic to the wide range of ingredients found in cleaning solutions. However, if your dog exhibits allergy symptoms while indoors, chances are high that your cleaning products could be adding to their discomfort.
Use Powder-based Bathroom & Kitchen Cleanser
Most kitchen and bathroom cleaning products come in aerosol or pump spray containers. Although these sprays make it easy for you to quickly cover large surfaces, they also throw chemicals and perfumes into the air – which could bother your dog. A great way to avoid these harsh chemicals and perfumes is to go back to the basics and use a good old fashioned power cleanser. These powder cleansers have little to no fragrance and don’t mist chemicals into the air.
I’m a big fan of Bon Ami Power Cleanser. Not only does it to a great job of picking up soap scum and stains, but it is also gentle enough to not scratch surfaces. It’s also amazing at removing dried on foods from stainless steel pots and pans.
After using a powder cleanser, your air may not have the “just cleaned’ scent that the perfume-rich cleaning products offer, but your surfaces will be just as clean and your dog may breathe a little easier.
Try Allergen-Free Dusting Sprays
Many traditional dusting sprays have a wide spray range to cover a greater amount of surface area. While this may make cleaning easier, it also increases the chance that these chemicals could spread into the air and be inhaled by you and your pet. New allergen-free varieties, like Endust Free, have a more narrow spray area that reduces mist. Allergen dusting sprays also should be fragrance free, as strong fragrances can trigger allergic reactions in humans and pets.
Sprinkle Baking Soda on Carpets & Rugs
An unfortunate side affect of dog allergies is dog odors. No matter how often we shampoo Elsie, we find that within days she gets a little musty smelling. This smell has a way of attaching itself to her dog bedding and our rugs and carpets.
Before I learned about allergies and cleaning products, I used to sprinkle carpet cleaners or use fabric sprays on our rugs to eliminate odors. Then, I learned that the chemicals and perfumes in these products could actually be contributing to her problems – and also her odors.
Now, the only product I use on our carpets is Arm & Hammer baking soda. Baking soda neutralizes odors by regulating pH, keeping a substance neither too acidic, nor too alkaline. Baking soda contains natural ingredients for odor fighting, which means it contains no fragrances or dyes.
Since sometimes the baking soda comes out of the box too quickly, I’ll put it in container with a lid for sprinkling – such as an old spice or parmesan cheese container. Just clean out the empty container, fill it with baking soda, and you’re ready to start sprinkling over your carpets.
Use Perfume & Dye-free Laundry Detergent & Dryer Sheets
Although some people love the fresh scent that laundry detergent and dryer sheets give their clothing, allergy sufferers often find that the perfumes and softening agents bother their skin and make it hard to breath. Our favorite brand of laundry detergent is Tide Free & Gentle. It comes in both a liquid and powder form.
Consider washing your bedding and your dog’s bedding with laundry detergents designed specifically for allergy sufferers. These products contain no dyes or perfumes. When you wash your dog’s bedding, I’d suggest eliminating dryer sheets altogether. Your dog won’t mind if there is a little static cling and you won’t have to worry about any of the softening agents bothering your dog’s skin.
Stop Using Commercial Air Fresheners
There continues to be much debate about whether air fresheners contain toxic chemicals that work as indoor pollutants in your home. In a 2008 University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products and air fresheners, it was discovered that these products threw several different chemicals into the air. Each product contained at least one chemical deemed as toxic under federal law.
Since there is too much unknown about the affects of these chemicals on humans and pets, it would be best to avoid regular use of air fresheners in your home. Here are some more natural alternatives:
- Kill odors at the source. Rather than trying to cover up odors with perfumes, it’s ideal to figure out what the smell is coming from and to eliminate it. If the smell is your dog, then frequent baths are necessary. You’ll also want wash their bedding each week and use baking soda on carpets and rugs when vacuuming.
- Simmer cinnamon. A great way to scent your home with little expense is to simmer a few cinnamon sticks in water on your stove.
- Use essential oils. Essential oils are an excellent way to naturally scent your home. You can create your own room sprays or opt to use a diffuser or light bulb ring. Due to the potency of these oils, you need to be careful to not ingest the oils or rub them directly onto your or your dog’s skin. Read all directions when working with essential oils.
These are just a few suggestions on how you can eliminate the use of dye and perfume laden cleaning products. The key is finding more natural methods to clean and remove odors at their source.