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Spring clean the pet-friendly way

April 1, 2008 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode

I am by no means a great housekeeper. I could use an Alice in my life. I try to find value in dust. I have to. I have lots of it. It gives my home character I think. Plus, I have big shedding dogs. I could be in the pillow making business with all the fur I collect each week. Yet, when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting I am a bleach freak. I once asked my friend if my house smelled like dirty dogs and she factually said, “no, your house usually smells like bleach.” I have more bottles of Clorox Clean-up around than a hospital. I practically grew up in a swimming pool and worked as a lifeguard during college. I have always loved the smell of chlorine however pungent and overwhelming for most people. Even Jesse would head for the back door begging to go out when I was sanitizing the kitchen. She was rather dramatic I must say when she'd shove her snout into the door crack and start breathing heavily as if in search for fresh air. I know dogs have an extremely sensitive sense of smell but she insisted on being right beside me in the kitchen .

A pet-lover friend of mine got me this cute little kit of holiday cleaning products two Christmas’s ago but it wasn’t until this year that I really took a good look at it and began using it. The product line is by Mrs. Meyers and most importantly is  ‘not tested on animals’. In fact, upon further research, Mrs. Meyers makes a whole line of natural cleaning products for pets. I’ve never run across anything as strong as my bleach when attacking dirt and stains but I have to admit that Mrs. Meyers gives my bleach a run for the money AND it is pleasant smelling, doesn’t dry out my skin and most importantly does a great job cleaning counter tops, stoves, grease, spills, etc.

The closest retail outlet seems to be Weis Market in State College but all products can be ordered online at

The company claims that they “make all pet products with the organic and natural essential oil… and like all Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products, our pet products are cruelty-free and environmentally friendly.”

I checked out reviews on to see if all that I was reading was true. According to this environmental version of the Consumer Report, Mrs. Meyers does use a very small amount of synthetic preservatives, most of which are naturally derived but can still cause mild skin irritation or allergic reactions like all cleaners. However, Mrs. Meyers products are entirely plant-derived and biodegradable – which means environmentally friendly and unlike my toxic bleach, pose less of a risk to your family’s health. And, the containers are cute and recyclable. (

If you’re really turning into a green monster, there is a website (which I have not checked out myself but found referenced by the green guide: “For truly safe cleaning supplies, Grassroots Environmental Education, an EPA-funded group dedicated to educating people about toxic pesticides and cleaners, has published a list of approved products on their site at Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products are not presently on their list. And as always, you should visit The Green Guide's Household Cleaning Supplies Product Report for other least-toxic cleaning products and natural cleaning suggestions.”

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