Cleaning Guides

Are Homemade Disinfectants Safe for Pets?

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Given the current pandemic situation, our furry family members are spending a lot of time indoors. And we should strive to provide them with a safe and sound environment.

When it comes to disinfecting your home, there are two options to choose from – to buy a commercial disinfectant or to craft a DIY solution.

If you opt for a homemade disinfectant, make sure the active ingredients you use are harmless for your pets and family, too.

Unlike us, our beloved animals don’t wear protective layers of clothes, shoes, nor bathe daily. Because of this, they can get in direct contact with all chemical and toxic substances we use in the quest to disinfect our home.

Table of Contents:

So if you want to:

  • Find out what homemade disinfectants are pet-safe;
  • Rest assured your house is bacteria-free;
  • Learn a little more about store-bought cleaning products’ content,

This article might be of interest to you – keep reading on!

3% Hydrogen peroxide

As we’ve covered before, hydrogen peroxide is among the most effective disinfectants to use at home. Due to its antibacterial and disinfecting properties, 3% of hydrogen peroxide is just as effective at sterilising as chemical-based cleaning products

With its million-and-one uses around the house, H202 is your cleaning arsenal’s secret weapon. But can you tell for a fact if hydrogen peroxide is safe for your pet?

Breathe easy – as long as you run into three per cent concentration of peroxide your pet is out of harm’s way.

While disinfecting you home, keep pets in another area and dry all surfaces before they are allowed back in.

If you’re worried your four-legged friend will go around licking every single surface you’ve just tackled, don’t panic. Three per cent hydrogen peroxide diluted at the right ratio, is the most common way to induce vomiting in dogs when they ingest something they shouldn’t – potential toxins or things that may cause blockage for example.

Hence, chances of 3% hydrogen peroxide harming your pet are comparatively low. Worst case scenario – you’ll have to clean a pile of its barf.

Did you know that many animal shelters use hydrogen peroxide as an effective disinfectant product? We hope this news soothes you.

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Alcohol-based sanitisers

As for alcohol sanitisers, here is a widespread hoax, circulating through the web: “Hand sanitisers have the same ingredients as antifreeze and can be fatal for pets if they lick your hand”.

The truth is, antifreeze’s main ingredients are much different than those in hand sanitisers.

Rather than the extremely toxic ethylene glycol, the main component of antifreeze, the most commonly used active ingredients in hand sanitisers are ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.

Even in small amounts, antifreeze can be fatal for pets since ethylene glycol will cause kidney failure in just a few days.

The American Pet Poison Helpline featured an entry for hand disinfectants and pet health, where a key contrast with antifreeze was apparent.

Hand sanitisers can cause issues similar to drinking too much alcohol when consumed in larger amounts. A disinfectant gel won’t hurt your pet, although it would likely taste bitter to it.

Bleach products

Is bleach poisonous for dogs and cats? The short answer is yes, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

Bleach is strong and effective at killing bacteria and viruses, according to the CDC. The issue here is that household bleach is also a powerful alkali that can eventually harm pets’ health.

Household bleach is an irritant, not a corrosive agent. In high concentrations, it makes your pet drool, irritates its skin, and causes rashes and burns. Meanwhile, ultra-concentrated solutions will erode its paw pads or, if ingested, will damage its mouth, throat, and stomach.

In this regard, the ASPCA recommends cleaning and disinfecting your home with a properly diluted bleach solution, followed by a thorough rinsing and airing out. This way, you’ll weed out the potentially hazardous effects of the bleach on your pet.

Learn How (And How Often) to Clean High-Touch Points in Your Home using bleach in our blog post.

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Tea tree oil

Despite the lack of clinical evidence demonstrating the efficacy of tea tree oil against bacterial infections, many homeowners still use the essential oil as a disinfectant. What’s left off the mark, however, is that the essential oil could be harmful to pets, depending on the circumstances of exposure

Studies have shown that pets develop an adverse reaction to oral or skin exposure of 100% tea tree oil. Noted negative symptoms include depression, weakness, lack of coordination, drooling, and muscle tremors, as well as other minor symptoms, such as rashes, vomiting and alteration of liver enzyme levels.

If you sanitise your house with tea tree oil, after all, make sure you dilute it accordingly with large amounts of water.

What about commercially available disinfectants

Going down the line with a commercial disinfectant? Choose wisely. Keep the following chemicals out of the shopping cart and protect your beloved furry friend from their toxic effects.

Quats (quaternary ammonium compounds)

Quats are potent disinfectant chemicals commonly found in antibacterial wipes and a range of household cleaning products. Certified by EPA as pesticides, quats are designed to kill germs in a matter of seconds.

What’s kept under wraps, however, is their noxious effect over humans and pets. While we don’t go around the house licking floors and chewing toys, our four-legged friends do.

And what makes quats so dangerous is their ability to linger on a surface and remain active long after you have cleaned with them.

Exposure to quaternary ammonium compounds through direct ingestion may reduce your pet’s appetite, bother its stomach, and induce vomiting. Depending on the severity, the symptoms may require treatment by a veterinarian.

Keep your pet safe from potential health hazards and steer clear of cleaning products containing quats.

Check the front label of the solution for the following ingredients: Benzalkonium chloride, Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides, Didecyldimethylammonium chloride.

If the product contains one of the mentioned above chemical compounds, you better put it back on the shelf.

Phenol disinfectants

Phenol-based disinfectants might be effective against bacteria and fungi but are extremely toxic to pets and humans.

Imagine the following scenario: cleaning around the house, listening to some nice music, while suddenly, your dog, curious to find out what you’re doing, spills the cleaning products. Sounds familiar to you?

Now ask yourself what if the solution you’ve used was phenol-based.

We hate to say it, but If your pet ingests or comes into contact with phenol-based disinfectants, you should treat it as a medical emergency. Wash the skin where the contact was made with mild dish soap. In case the pet ingests the solution, get it to a veterinarian immediately.

Keep your family and pets safe from harmful bacteria

Do you struggle to find the perfect pet-safe disinfectant for your home? Feeling overwhelmed by reading the label of every cleaning product you buy? You might need expert help.

The professional sanitisation technicians at Fantastic Services will have every nook and cranny of your property treated, leaving you with a germ and bacteria-free home. And, best of all, the detergents they use are non-toxic and 100% safe for your family and pets


  • Not all store-bought cleaning agents will harm your pet, as long as they’re used and diluted properly.
  • Don’t put your pet in danger and always check the front label of your disinfectant of choice.
  • Bleach solutions should be properly diluted with water and surfaces should be rinsed thoroughly before returning your pet to its habitat.
  • Avoid phenol-, quats- and tea tree oil-based disinfectants. 
  • Always keep an eye on your pet while disinfecting – if you notice any signs of the symptoms above take it to the vet as soon as possible.


Is your four-legged friend sensitive to a particular cleaning product? Do you have a homemade pet-safe disinfectant recipe? Tell us in the comments!

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