7 Pet-Safe Floor Cleaners and DIY Solutions (and Ingredients to Avoid)

Calling all fur parents! Keep your fuzzy family members safe from harmful chemicals with these pet-safe floor cleaners.

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a dog on the floor with floor cleaning suppliesINSIDE-STUDIO/GETTY IMAGES

Prancy paws, fuzzy bellies and even drooly tongues are constantly frolicking, slinking and scurrying through our homes. Later, when they start licking and grooming, dogs and cats can be in real danger if they’ve stepped in something toxic. Pet-safe floor cleaners help ensure the residues they pick up during their day won’t hurt them.

“Often these products are also more environmentally friendly, because they contain natural ingredients or avoid the use of harsh chemicals that can be caustic or irritative or even toxic in certain amounts,” says Rebecca Greenstein, a veterinary medical advisor for Rover.

Common ingredients to avoid include:

  • Ammonia
  • Bleach (chlorine)
  • Ethanol
  • Formaldehyde (AKA formalin, methanol, methylene oxide)
  • Glycol ethers
  • Glycol ether benzoic acid
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Perchloroethylene
  • Phenols
  • Phosphates
  • Phthalates (artificial fragrances)
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds
  • Sulfates
  • Triclosan

Using Pet Safe Floor Cleaners

When using pet-safe cleaning products, you still need to be careful. “When it comes to pets, nothing is ever ‘totally safe!'” Greenstein says. “We can’t always trust that our curious pets won’t try to ingest large amounts by accident, which can lead to anything from simple irritation to GI upset to more serious issues, depending on the amount in question.” Also, keep in mind some commercial cleaning products containing toxic ingredients aren’t considered dangerous as long as they’re used as directed. “Even at our vet clinic, we often need to use strong disinfectants or even bleach, but diluted,” Greenstein says.

Regardless of what cleaner you’re using, take these steps:

  • Keep pets out of the room you’re cleaning until the floors are dry.
  • Don’t leave disinfectants unattended, and store them in a secure location.
  • Consider rinsing floors with water after cleaning.
  • If you suspect ingestion, call ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 and get your pet to a vet immediately.

Still, there are lots of floor cleaners sold with pets in mind that don’t contain any of the ingredients listed above. Read on for our top picks for pet safe floor cleaners, including two DIY pet floor cleaner recipes.

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Eco Me Natural Plant Based Concentrated Multi Surface And Floor Cleaner
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EcoMe Floor Cleaner

EcoMe floor cleaner is a pet-safe floor cleaner, as well as a multi-surface formula made from natural plant extracts and essential botanicals. It works on stone, sealed wood, vinyl, linoleum, laminate and other sealed surfaces. It comes in four scents, including a fragrance-free option.

All EcoMe products are made in the U.S. with ingredients sourced from local suppliers. The bottles are bisphenol A (BPA free, and what’s inside is vegan, Leaping Bunny (cruelty-free) certified and Environmental Working Group (EWG).org rated.

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Puracy Multi Surface Cleaner Concentrate
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Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner

Puracy multi-surface cleaner is a safe, versatile cleaner from a company with a kind heart. It’s an all-around workhorse for floors, counters, tables, glass, marble, sinks, chrome, toys and any other non-porous surface.

Made in the U.S., it’s formulated from renewable, biodegradable organic plants and water. It’s hypoallergenic, vegan and certified cruelty free. Two best friends from Austin, Texas own the company, and they support local artists with the original hand-drawn artwork on the bottle.

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Aunt Fannie's Ultra Concentrated Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash
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Aunt Fannie’s Vinegar Floor Cleaner

A good old-fashioned vinegar cleaner, Aunt Fannie’s vinegar floor cleaner is named after the founder’s good old-fashioned grandmother. Aunt Fannie’s is a no-nonsense, non-toxic floor cleaner with essential oils to leave a clean scent. It’s cruelty free certified, EWG rated for safety and contains only plant-based ingredients.

The company’s philosophy is to work with nature’s rhythms and powers. That’s just like its namesake, “a woman with enough life force and common sense to set this whole world straight,” according to the company.

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Puracy Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine Detergent 4x Concentrated Upholstery Cleaner
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Puracy Natural Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo

For carpets, Puracy carpet and upholstery shampoo is a winner for safely getting rid of dirt, odors and other furry funk. Use it on carpets, rugs, upholstery and any other washable fabric.

Its plant-based enzymes are low-foaming and, it can be used with a carpet-cleaning machine or by hand. It features clinical-grade, natural biodegradable ingredients that are hypoallergenic, vegan and certified cruelty free. It comes in 4x concentrate to reduce plastic and shipping waste, and stands up fine to less-healthy petroleum-based chemicals.

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Better Life Naturally Dirt Destroying Floor Cleaner
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Better Life Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner

What’s nice about Better Life dirt-destroying floor cleaner? Its value and availability in brick-and-mortar stores, and it works well, too. Use it on hardwood, tile, marble, bamboo, vinyl, laminate and other sealed floors.

The ingredients are plant-based, and the scents come from essential oils and botanical extracts. It’s certified cruelty free, vegan and biodegradable. And, if the brand sounds familiar, that’s because it was made famous on Shark Tank and later bought by Bissell.

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zero waste eco friendly cleaning concept. wooden brushes, lemon, baking soda, vinegar
OlgaMiltsova/Getty Images

Homemade Vinegar Floor Cleaner

First, a quick note about DIY cleaners: While they’re good for many occasions, Greenstein says they may not be robust enough for serious disinfecting tasks.

“Many pet parasites and harmful germs are surprisingly hearty in the environment and may not be destroyed by more gentle formulations,” she says. “If you’re trying to disinfect your home from a particular pet pathogen, talk to your vet about the right product and protocol to make sure you’re keeping everyone safe.”

Now, on to the simplest DIY cleaner:

Mix them in a bucket and make sure the floor is swept before mopping. If you want to get a little fancy, or if the vinegar smell disagrees with you, add a few drops of essential oil. Once the vinegar evaporates, the fresh scent of the oil will remain. For particularly grimy jobs, add a few drops of natural dish soap. Some people also like to add 0.25-cup of baking soda to the mix. If you do that, go over the floor a second time with fresh water for a better shine.

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Eco-friendly natural cleaners on wooden table
Qwart/Getty Images

Homemade Floor Cleaner for Wood Floors

In a bucket, mix:

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 0.75-cup olive oil
  • 0.5-cup lemon juice

Just mop and let it air dry. The olive oil polishes the wood and the lemon juice cleans the floor.

Source:

  • Rebecca Greenstein, a veterinary medical advisor for Rover

Karuna Eberl
A writer and indie film producer, Karuna Eberl covers the outdoors and nature side of DIY for Family Handyman, exploring wildlife, green living, travel and gardening. She also writes FH’s Eleven Percent column, about dynamic women in the construction workforce. Karuna and her husband and frequent collaborator, Steve Alberts, spent years renovating an abandoned house in a near-ghost town in rural Colorado before moving on to their latest project: Customizing kit homes and building a workshop and outbuildings on their mountain town property, all with economical, sustainable and environmentally sound features.
When they’re not writing or building, you can find them hiking and traveling the backroads, camping in their self-converted van, and DIYing house projects for family. Some of her other credits include Readers Digest, National Parks, National Geographic Channel, BBC, and Atlas Obscura. Karuna is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), the Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA), and SATW (Society of American Travel Writers).