How do I safely clean my dog's crate

Eric has a lovely Canaan dog called Klaus

Klaus_Canaan dog_ what non-toxic cleaning can I use to clean my dog crate

Klaus is loved and adored by Eric and his family; he is almost considered the third child, but like all animals (and humans for that matter) he has some, not so lovable habits.

Klaus is a sturdy ‘unit’ of a dog and keeping him fit and healthy is one of Eric’s main goals.  Rather than canned dog food or dried kibble, Eric feeds him a raw diet; raw poultry, red meat, organs, bones and veggies – lucky dog!

Most dogs eat from a bowl but not Klaus - he likes to drag the meat out of the bowl and devour it off the floor which, as you can imagine leaves a bit of a mess.  To try and minimise this, Eric took to feeding Klaus in his crate which has a plastic liner that has to cleaned every day.

Up until now, Eric has been using ‘409 lemon all-purpose cleaner’ to wash down the crate to kill the bacteria left from the raw meat, why?

Eric wanted to prevent the spread or accumulation of bacteria and like most people, assumed  a disnfectant like 409 would be the best choice for the job.

Our desire to use the 'best' or 'strongest' chemicals comes from a place of wanting to keep our families and loved ones safe from bacteria and illness, but sometimes we don't think about the potential side effects of chemicals and whether safer alternatives exist.

Eric is looking for a non-toxic cleaning solution as cleaning with 409 disinfectant every day is giving him some real concerns:

  • Is there a build-up of chemicals with regular use of disinfectants?
  • How do disinfectants affect my dog?
  • Is my dog ingesting chemicals when I clean his crate?
  • Are the chemicals from disinfectants dangerous to my pregnant wife?
  • Can the chemicals from disinfectant be having an effect on my young son?
  • What safe cleaning alternatives are available?

These concerns are understandable, Eric  has gotten to the stage where he is fearful for his dog’s health with the continued use of chemicals in his crate.  We want to be able to help Eric and shed some light on the situation he is in, to allow Eric and his family to find a non-toxic cleaning solution and to make the right choice for Klaus.

Is there a build-up of chemicals with regular use of disinfectants?

Yes.

We are exposed to toxins each and every day from the food we eat, to the air we breathe and the products we use.

“The average new-born baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood” - EWG.org

Scary thought; before we are even born, the toxins are already in our blood.  Through the natural progression of life, toxins build up in our bodies which lead to a large number of diseases and sickness.

The same can be said of domestic animals.  Dogs sleep on floors, walk on surfaces cleaned with disinfectants, eat food containing additives and inhale the products we use in our homes.

How do disinfectants affect my dog?

A common product used in the home is bleach.  Bleach comes in many different forms with the active ingredients being sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide (peroxide is the element that removes colour and stains)

Bleach can be extremely harmful to dogs and can result in severe lesions on the skin, or in lesser cases, skin irritation.

If ingested toxicity could result in complications within the digestive and respiratory systems.

You can read more about the effect of bleach on your dog here

How does bleach effect my dog?

You will remember I mentioned that Eric is using ‘409 lemon all-purpose cleaner’ in Klaus’s crate?

One of the ingredients in 409 that may be cause for concern is Lauramine oxide which can be found is some washing up liquids. If exposed, lauramine oxide dissolves the lipids in skin.  Lipids are skins natural fat which keeps the skin health, locks in moisture and creates a barrier for dirt.  When these lipids are dissolved the skin can become, dry, flaky or cracked.

Another significant ingredient in 409 lemon all-purpose cleaner is dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride or Benzalkonium chloride. Benzalkonium chloride is used in many products such eye drops, hand sanitisers, Dettol, spermicidal creams, inhalers and surface disinfectants.

Many products still contain this ingredient despite substantial evidence that it can adversely affect:

Ciliary motion - these are the little microscopic hairs that beat in a rhythmic pattern and move liquids over the surface of internal tissues

Nasal mucosal histology -The microscopic structure of the nose and throat

Human neutrophil function – White blood cells in most mammals

Leukocyte responses to local inflammation – Leukocytes help fight infection and play an important role in the body’s immune system.

You can find a copy of the Safety Data sheet for 409 lemon all-purpose cleaner here

The Clorax Company - Safety Data Sheet for 409 lemon all-purpose cleaner

Is my dog ingesting chemicals when I clean his crate?

Most disinfectants contain chemicals that are deemed as a biocide.  A biocide destroys or renders harmless, harmful organisms e.g. bacteria, viruses and fungi at the point of contact.  They are designed to continue killing on surfaces after application.  As such, these residues will exist after cleaning.

Unless the surface is washed down with water after being cleaned, there will chemicals on the surface with the risk of them being ingested by Klaus when he is eating his dinner.

Are the chemicals from disinfectants dangerous to my pregnant wife?

We mentioned earlier that the average new-born baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood.

There was a benchmark study* carried out by EWG to establish the levels of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in umbilical cord blood, the dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied.

Here is a more detailed table from EWG.org detailing the chemicals and pollutants found:

Chemicals found in the umbilical cord

Can the chemicals from disinfectant be having an effect on my young son?

Yes.

Children and babies in the womb are more susceptible to the harmful effects of chemicals because their metabolism works faster, taking on board more air, water and fluid that a fully grown adult.

Previously, we have been taught that cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising was essential to prevent the spread of infection and ensure clean, safe surroundings.   This much is true however, emerging evidence is highlighting that the effects of these strong disinfectants are having an adverse effect on humans, animals and the environment.

Related content: The use of disinfectant - why bacteria are important

We found this interesting article surrounding non-toxic cleaning in an early learning environment and why it is critical.

Green cleaning in an Early Years environment

 My dog crate smells, what non-toxic cleaning products are available?

There are several Eco-friendly options available on the market in the UK however, Eric and his family live in the USA.  One product that we are familiar with that is available in both countreis is Method.

Method anti-bacterial cleaners

Method  is a popular and widely available cleaning range available in the UK and USA, You can find a link to their products and where to buy here:

Method Eco-friendly cleaning products - where can I buy?

When we were researching online for non-toxic cleaning products in the USA, we came accross this great article.  Figo a pet insurance company have pulled together a great resource listing 10 non-toxic pet safe cleaners available in the USA, you can find this here:

Figo Pet Insurance - top 10 non-toxic pet safe cleaners

If you are reading this and you are in the UK,  and you are looking for a non-toxic cleaning solution, we have some articles that might help you too:

Eco-friendly cleaners for your home - Tescos vs ECover vs Method vs ESOL

How can I kill bacteria safely? 4 readily available, eco-friendly cleaners & sanitisers

Is there a natural alternative for killing bacteria?

Cleaning products don't always have to be shop bought.  More often than not surfaces can be wiped down with hot soapy water to keep them clean and safe.  In the case of Klaus and his meaty mess, well, he need a little extra 'cleaning' to make sure there is no cross contamination from the raw meats.

Vinegar (malt or white) has been used for 100's of years to kill bacteria.   The acid (acetic acid) in vinegar has been proven to kill bacteria and viruses, by chemically changing the proteins and fats that make up these nasties and destroying their cell structures.

You can read more about the science behind vinegar here here and 70+ more uses for vinegar around the home here

What next?

Along with natural remedies, there needs to be reliable and effective products on the market to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.  Does this mean that the health of our families and pets have to suffer?

No, there are alternatives.

It is our mission is to keep you and the environment clean, healthy and safe and now that Eric has more information on 409 lemon all-purpose cleaner, we hope it will allow him to make an informed decision.

Wait, what about beautiful Klaus?

I don't know about you but I have not seen a dog like Klaus here is Scotland, he is a cracker!  Did you know that Canaan dogs are thought to be the oldest dog breed in the world?  Dating back to times before the bible was created and being depicted as man’s best friend in 4000 year old tomb paintings.

You can find out more about the Canaan breed here:

Things you might not know about the Canaan Dog

Humans are habitual creatures; it is easier to carry on using products that have been part of their lives for years. It sometimes takes a drastic incident to cause us humans to change.  Why?  If we know something is bad for us, harmful to our family and not allowing us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be why is it so hard to change?

Making changes in the products we use, the food we eat and how we stay healthy and active can seem like a daunting task.

Where do you start?

Where do you find the time?

Maybe you have you made some changes but don't know what else you can do?

Our ‘Detoxify your life’ project could help you along the way; one email each month with helpful suggestions to detoxify your life one step at a time – interested?

There are a fair few links in this document so in case you misssed one, we have popped them below for you here:

Studies: 

A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, Pollutants and Pesticides in umbilical cord blood 

Green cleaning in an Early Years environment 

Websites: 

EWG.org 

Safety Data Sheet 

The Clorax Company - Safety Data sheet 409 lemon all-purpose cleaner 

Resources:


How does cleaning with bleach effect my dog? 

The issues with strong disinfectants - why bacteria are important 

Green cleaning in an Early Years Environment 

Method eco-friendly safe cleaning solutions - where to buy 

Figo pet insurance - top 10 non-toxic pet friendly cleaners in the USA 

Eco-friendly cleaners for your home - Tescos vs ECover vs Method vs ESOL


How can I kill bacteria safely? 4 readily available, eco-friendly cleaners & sanitisers


Things to watch: 

Things you might not know about the Canaan dog

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