The Best Pet-Safe Floor Cleaners and DIY Solutions · The Wildest

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The Best Pet-Safe Floor Cleaners

Because messes come with the territory.

by Elizabeth Laura Nelson
February 18, 2024
Woman and her dog mopping on the floor of a room during housework.
StefaNikolic / iStock

Pet parents can count on a few things: plenty of cuddles, spontaneous playtimes, goofy behavior (“Why?” is a question I ask my cats every day), and lots of extra love. But also, having a pet in your life means cleaning up more messes than you would otherwise. Of course it's worth it — even if waking up at the crack of dawn to the sound of a cat puking is a regular occurrence — but it's still not fun. Having an arsenal of pet-safe floor cleaners on hand, however, can make mopping up those messes a little easier.

Choosing pet-safe floor cleaners is crucial to ensure the wellbeing of pets. Opt for products that are labeled as pet-friendly or non-toxic, as these are less likely to contain harmful chemicals. Natural and eco-friendly cleaners made with ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, or plant-based surfactants are generally safe options. Avoid cleaners with ammonia, bleach, or strong fragrances, as these can be irritating to pets' sensitive noses and respiratory systems.

Not sure where to start? We rounded up some of the best pet-safe floor cleaners out there, and answered common questions about which cleaning products and ingredients are safe to use if you share your home with furry friends. (Plus, we share some tips on making your own DIY cleaning solutions, if you’re into that.)

What cleaning ingredients should I avoid if I have pets?

When you’re shopping for cleaning products, especially those that will be used on the floor, where your pet’s paws, belly, and nose are in frequent contact, it’s important to pay attention to what’s in them. As much as we all want our homes to be sparkling clean (well, maybe not sparkling, but clean nonetheless), you don’t want your cat or dog to ingest anything potentially toxic in the name of keeping a Martha Stewart-worthy home.

Toby Schulz, CEO and co-founder at Maid2Match, says there are a few ingredients to “avoid at all costs” when it comes to pet-safe cleaning products. These include:

  • Ammonia

  • Bleach (both chlorine and oxygen)

  • Phenols

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Strong artificial fragrances

  • Formaldehyde

  • Phthalates

  • Benzalkonium chloride 

Regarding bleach, Schulz says that while oxygen bleach is sometimes said to be safer than chlorine bleach, it can be highly toxic to cats. He also says to avoid essential oils that are toxic to pets, including peppermint, tea tree, cinnamon, and anything citrus-based — something to keep in mind if you're planning to make your own DIY cleaning formula.

“It's also important to consider what type of pet you have,” Schulz says. “Cats and other small pets are much more sensitive to chemicals than dogs, due to their size and mass. Cats also groom themselves, so there’s an increased likelihood of ingesting toxins from licking their fur. Some compounds can also be non-toxic for one animal but highly toxic for another. For example, pyrethrins are common ingredients in anti-tick solutions for dogs, but are terrible for cats. Lavender essential oil is generally dog-safe but very bad for cats.”

The best pet-safe floor cleaners

The best pet-safe cleaners to have on hand are the ones you can use not just on floors, but anywhere your sweet friend makes a mess. Sure, when I hear one of my cats heaving, I try to gently move them off the rug and onto the hardwood floor where I can more easily contain the damage, but this doesn't always work. Plus, I’m not always around. Long story short: An all-natural, pet-safe, green cleaning solution that works on multiple surfaces is a winner in my book.

Best pet-safe hardwood floor cleaners

If you’ve got hardwood floors, these products will keep them shiny and keep your dogs, cats, and any other furry friends that live with you (guinea pigs, anyone?) safe. Better Life is my go-to, personally — but as they say, your mileage may vary.

Best pet-safe tile cleaners

These cleaners are great for hard floors of any kind, but if you’ve got tile, they’ll keep it gleaming and odor-free — as much as possible, anyway. Schulz recommends both Nature’s Miracle and Bona products, and customers give them stellar reviews as well.

Nature’s Miracle Pet Cleaner

Nature’s Miracle Dual Action Hard Floor Stain & Odor Remover is safe to use on tile, linoleum, vinyl, and sealed wood floors. Made to tackle stains and neutralize odors, it gets rave reviews from customers, including one who said it “removes all traces of urine, feces, vomit, and other nastiness ... I even used it to remove dried mucus from our painted walls when our cats passed around a respiratory virus. There is no scent left behind and no residue.”

Best natural pet-safe cleaners

Lots of companies use the word “natural” in their marketing, but it’s hard to know what it means. All of the pet-safe cleaning products on this page are free from harsh chemicals that are potentially toxic to animals, making them all more or less “natural.” These three are some of the best — one is vinegar-based, one is refillable and recyclable with natural ingredients, and the other is from a subscription service that offers environmentally-friendly refillable packaging.

Grove Co multi purpose cleaner

The Grove Co.’s multi-purpose cleaner is made with 92 percent bio-based ingredients, bottled in recyclable glass, and packed in recyclable cardboard (you can even mail your waste back to Grove, and they’ll recycle for you). You can use them with Grove’s reusable cleaning spray bottle to cut down on your plastic use even further.

Each individual bottle makes 32 oz of cleaner when mixed with water. There are a variety of yummy fragrances to choose from — and each are made with no triclosan, parabens, phthalates, phosphates, or dyes.

TrulyFree Everyday Cleaner

This all-purpose cleaning solution is made with plant-based ingredients that are safe for the whole family — including pets and kids. “The easiest way to ensure your cleaning products are safe for your furry companions is by ensuring that they are safe for you,” says Maria Mooney, a cleaning expert at Truly Free, an all-natural subscription service that offers a variety of pet-safe cleaning products. Use this one on hard flooring of all types, as well as appliances, countertops, cabinets, and pretty much anything else that gets messy.

How to create a pet-safe DIY floor cleaner solution

Of course, you don’t have to buy a pre-made cleaning product. If you want to save a little money and do it yourself, you’ll just need a refillable spray bottle and a few pet-safe ingredients.

“For DIY or homemade cleaners, you’re generally safe with baking soda, vinegar, and accelerated hydrogen peroxide,” Schulz says. “However, these are not without their hazards, either. Be careful when cleaning, and make sure your pet doesn’t ingest too much of any cleaning solution. Rinse surfaces thoroughly!”

To make your own pet-safe floor cleaner, try mixing apple cider vinegar, water, and lemon juice. Use one part vinegar and four parts water, add a dash of lemon juice, and shake it up. Use it on tile, linoleum, sealed wood, and other hard flooring.

FAQs (People also ask): 

How should I store my cleaners to keep my pets safe? 

Dogs (and certain cats who live with me!) love to get into things. Many a pet parent has come home to a chewed-up bag of treats, a devoured birthday cake left on the counter, or a favorite pair of shoes that’s been demolished. To keep your pet safe from getting into your cleaning products —because even pet-safe floor cleaners will cause problems when ingested in quantity — keep them in a cupboard, closet, or shelf that your pet cannot reach or get inside.

You know your pet best, so think about where they’re likely to go exploring. Be mindful of where you keep your cleaning products, and don’t leave them out when you're done mopping up the latest biohazard your cute little companion has created.

What are the best products to use to clean pet stains?

Many of the products above work well on stains, but if you have a stubborn one, try one of these methods to get it out. Getting to it early, blotting it with a paper towel, and letting whatever pet-safe cleaning product you’re using soak for a while are all best practices. Things like white vinegar and baking soda are good to have on hand to fight stains, as well. 

Is Method floor cleaner safe for pets?

Method products are marketed as non-toxic and environmentally friendly, but it’s always best to check the label and read the ingredients carefully. If there’s anything that sounds unrecognizable, or is on the above list of toxic ingredients for pets, you might be better off sticking with a DIY solution using vinegar and other pet-safe ingredients, or with products that are specifically made for homes with pets.

Is Bruce floor cleaner safe for pets?

Again, it’s essential to check the label and read the ingredients on any cleaning product you plan to use on your floor. “The easiest way to ensure your cleaning products are safe for your furry companions is by ensuring that they are safe for you,” Mooney says. “Most cleaning products, like disinfectants and other aerosol sprays, contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), identified as having the potential to cause health harms, such as respiratory system damage or increased cancer risk.”

Is Swiffer floor cleaner safe for pets?

Swiffer dry mops can be used with a variety of different pet-safe cleaners, or with a DIY solution of vinegar and water (or lemon juice, baking soda, etc.), but if you’re wondering whether the cleaning solution in Swiffer WetJet is pet-safe, you’ll need to read the ingredients and decide for yourself whether you want to use it. The ASPCA officially debunked a rumor that Swiffer WeJet was unsafe to use around dogs, but the product is not specifically marketed as being safe for pets.


Writer Elizabeth Nelson with her cat, Freddy

Elizabeth Laura Nelson

Elizabeth Laura Nelson is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. As a child, Elizabeth was scared of cats (claws and teeth, yikes) but she has since gotten over her fear and now shares her home with three sweet and gentle feline companions who make life better (and cuddlier) every day.

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