Can I Clean My House With Apple Cider Vinegar?
Many commercial cleaning products are not safe to use around cats. The chemicals in these products can be extremely toxic, and even deadly. Cats are especially susceptible since they groom themselves by licking and as a result ingest anything that comes in contact with their feet or fur.
Additionally, the chemicals in and fumes resulting from cleaning products can cause allergic reactions in cats (and humans, for that matter). Many chemical cleaning products pollute the air inside your home by off-gassing toxic fumes, or they contain antibacterial substances that are not only unnecessary, but can actually contribute to bacteria becoming more resistant to killing agents.
Thankfully, there are alternatives to these chemical products that are not only safer for your cats, but also gentler to the planet. And they’re inexpensive! Allegra was kind enough to pose with two of my go to cleaning products for this post. You’d be surprised what you can do with vinegar, baking soda, olive oil and lemon juice.
FloorsUse a vinegar and warm water solution on wood, ceramic tile, linoleum or vinyl flooring. Since cats are so low to the ground, using a non-toxic cleaner on floors is especially important. If you’re using a carpet steam cleaner, use a water and vinegar solution (one part water to one part vinegar) in the reservoir.
Bathrooms and KitchensDust surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens with baking soda and wipe with a moist cloth or sponge. Vinegar and warm water work well, too. If you need to get rid of mildew or grease stains, spray them with lemon juice, wait a few minutes, and then use a stiff brush to scrub away the residue.
Unclogging a DrainHave you ever read the warning label on a bottle of drain cleaner? It’s enough to make you afraid to even open the bottle. Use baking soda and vinegar instead. Pour a few tablespoons of baking soda down the drain, and follow with a cup of vinegar. The foaming action of the two products will work away at the clog. Rinse with hot water.
FurnitureOlive oil, or olive oil and lemon juice (two parts olive oil, one part lemon juice) makes a wonerful furniture polish.
OvenI do not recommend using the self-cleaning feature on ovens. I find myself reacting to the fumes released during the cleaning process, so I can only imagine how more sensitive cat noses will react. Use a paste of baking soda and water instead: coat the inside of your oven, let it sit overnight, and then scrub away the grime the next day.
Dryer SheetsThe chemicals contained in dryer sheets (as well as fabric softeners and laundry detergents) get absorbed by your skin as well as your cats’ skin. Chemicals contained in these products are known carcinogens and neurotoxins.
Paint fumesSometimes it’s inevitable to expose our cats to toxic fumes (although I have been known to nix remodeling and painting projects because of the impact they might have on my cats). It goes without saying that the area that is being painted should be well-ventilated. If you don’t have an ionic air purifier, set small bowls of vinegar around the room, and change daily. The vinegar will absorb the smell. Leave these bowls out until all paint odor is gone.
While these safe and inexpensive cleaning products may require a little more elbow grease than their chemical cousins, isn’t the peace of mind of knowing that they’re safer for your cats worth the extra effort?
By Dr. Becker
The potential for a flea infestation on your pet, and therefore in your home, is one of the unpleasant parts of pet ownership. Fortunately, it’s not a given that your pet will ever get fleas, and there are many steps you can take to lower the risk.
Many pet owners turn to chemical flea products, including spot-on treatments, collars, powders and more, often believing them to be the only option. However, the pesticides used in these products can pose dangers to your pets and other members of your household, like pregnant women or children snuggling up to your pet.
The fact is, applying too much topical flea product to your pet, or mixing up a dog flea preventive and using it on a cat, can be deadly.
Even when applied properly, there’s no guarantee of safety and serious side effects, from skin irritation to neurological problems, gastrointestinal disorders and organ failure, are all-too-commonly reported.1
Apple Cider Vinegar: Natural Flea PreventionIt makes sense to try a non-toxic flea deterrent whenever possible. Apple cider vinegar is one such option. While it doesn’t kill fleas, per se, it may repel them because fleas dislike its smell and taste.
One of the simplest ways to use this natural flea repellent is to make a solution out of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. I recommend using raw, organic apple cider vinegar.
Add the mixture to a spray bottle and spritz it on your pet before he heads outdoors. You can also spray his bedding. To “supercharge” this spray and make it even more distasteful to fleas, add in a few drops of dog-safe essential oils.
Geranium, lemongrass, lavender, neem and catnip oil are good choices for essential oils that will help deter fleas (as well as ticks, mosquitos and other pests) from your pet. Apple cider vinegar can also be used in other ways to repel fleas, including:
• Add it to your pet’s food. Use about 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar per every 20 pounds of dog. I don’t recommend adding vinegar to your pet’s water because many dogs dislike the taste and consume less than adequate amounts of water.
• At bath time. You can pour diluted apple cider vinegar over your pet during bath time as a flea-preventive treatment. I use 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water.
Pour over a freshly bathed dog (avoid his head), massage into his coat and towel dry, do not rinse. You can also simply add about two cups of apple cider vinegar to his bath water.
Vinegar is a natural, inexpensive alternative to harsh commercial cleaners. Apple cider vinegar offers the same benefits as plain white vinegar and a more pleasant smell. Both have a similar acidity level and can be used to clean and disinfect around the house, on everything from floors to drains. Apple cider vinegar is a nontoxic, biodegradable cleaning alternative
How It Works Cleaning with apple cider vinegar is safe; it effectively removes dirt, mineral deposits and bacteria from surfaces.Though not as effective as chlorine bleach, the mild acidic properties of apple cider vinegar works to kill bacteria on a cellular level. The active cleaning agent in any vinegar is acetic acid, which is safe for most surfaces, but can dull some finishes on wood or no-wax floors and can cause etching in softer stone counter and floor surfaces. A diluted solution of 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to 1 gallon of water safely cleans surfaces without risk of clouding or etching.
Cleaning the KitchenA solution of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water makes an all-purpose cleaner suitable for almost any surface in the kitchen. Use it to clean and deodorize the inside of the refrigerator and microwave. Wipe full-strength apple cider vinegar on wood cutting boards to clean and sanitize them. Add a cup of full-strength apple cider vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher before running to clean and deodorize the machine and help prevent mineral buildup on your glassware.
Cleaning the BathroomClean bathroom counters, cabinets, sinks and most surfaces with a mix of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Keep bathroom drains fresh and clean by pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of hot water. Let it sit for 10 minutes; then flush with boiling water. Use apple cider vinegar at full strength on showers and tubs to remove soap scum. The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps cut mineral deposits and other buildup without creating chemical fumes or leaving residue that must be washed off.
Windows and Walls and LaundryUse the 50/50 water and apple cider vinegar mixture to give windows a streak-free cleaning. The same mixture can be used on painted surfaces like walls and cabinetry to clean, remove stains and eliminate odors. Adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a load of laundry freshens both the laundry, and the machine. Cleaning with apple cider vinegar helps reduce odors and eliminate mold and mildew on any surface. The scent of vinegar can be strong when wet, but as it dries, apple cider vinegar leaves behind a mild, sweet scent.