Are Your Cleaning Products Fatal If Swallowed?

Hand with glove and sponge washing floor

Dogs and cleaning products don’t mix!

There are plenty of cleaning products out there that are harmful to humans, but our dogs are much more sensitive to them.


Well, our fury companions spend much of their days on our floors, carpets, and head deep in our toilet bowls.

All places we clean – all places they like to lick and lay in!

If you’re worried about harming your dog and family with toxic chemicals, this might interest you.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a “Cleaners Hall of Shame“, which reviews more than 2,000 products and 200 brands, some of those labelled as ‘green’ or ‘natural’, and exposes the true ingredients and hazards in these products.

Below are some highlights (From the Cleaners Hall of Shame) of products you will want to avoid. . .


Cleaners labeled “safe,” “non-toxic” and “green” can contain hazardous ingredients. There should be a law against bogus claims, but there isn’t. Some companies are willing to bend the truth – because they can.

Bottle of Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner

Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner

It’s labeled “non-toxic” and “biodegradable.” It contains:

  • 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent absorbed through the skin that damages red blood cells and irritates eyes;
  • A secret blend of alcohol ethoxylate surfactants. Some members of this chemical family are banned in the European Union.

Worse, the company website instructs the user to dilute the product significantly for even the heaviest cleaning tasks. Yet it comes in a spray bottle that implies it should be sprayed full-strength. Such use would result in higher exposures.

Bottle of Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser

Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser

These concentrated liquids and ready-to-use sprays contain d-limonene and orange oils from citrus peels. According to the company’s worker safety disclosure, Citra-Solv concentrate is 85 to 95 percent d-limonene. That the oils are derived from citrus implies safety, but sprayed into the air, they can react with trace levels of ozone air pollution to form ultra-fine particles that penetrate deep into the lungs and formaldehyde, which the U.S. government classifies as a known human carcinogen. The California Air Resources Board advises people to limit the use of citrus- or pine oil-based cleaners on smoggy days to avoid exposure to particulates and formaldehyde.

Banned abroad

Bottle of Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner

Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner

This product contains nonylphenol ethoxylate, which the state of California has banned in cleaning products manufactured after 2012. Products containing this chemical cannot be sold in the European Union. It breaks down to nonylphenol, which can disrupt the hormone system, is toxic to aquatic life and persists in the environment.

Bottle of Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner

Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner

It contains DEGME, also called methoxydiglycol, at up to 15 times the concentration allowed in cleaners sold in the European Union. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe says DEGME is “suspected of damaging the unborn child.” (This product is also sold as “Mop & Glo Triple Action Floor Shine.”)

Fatal If Swallowed

When is a clean house worth this risk?

Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Lime & Rust Remover

This corrosive acid concoction kills bacteria but is also labeled “harmful or fatal if swallowed.” The cleaner’s child-proof cap is an important safety feature. The label warns not to squeeze the container when opening and to wear safety goggles. A bit of this acid in the eye can cause “irreversible damage.”

Boxes of 2000 Flushes and X-14 toilet bowl cleaners

2000 Flushes and X-14 toilet bowl cleaners

These chlorine-laden discs don’t harm plumbing or septic systems, but according to the label they “may be fatal if swallowed.” The boxes warn customers to wear rubber gloves when handling, hold the disc away from the face and avoid inhaling the fumes. A pet could confuse a disc with a plastic chew toy.

Green Safe Alternatives

Most cleaning products are damaging to your dog, your family and the environment. For healthier cleaning options, read our article on Cleaning Supplies Your Dog Can Live With

To visit the Hall of Shame, visit here.

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