Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day7 Ways to Make Your Home Cleaner & Greener
By Gail Mayhugh

Earth Day, an annual event, is celebrated on April 22nd across the world.  It was founded in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. After witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, he wanted to increase the awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment and was inspired by the student anti-war movement.  April 22nd was selected as the date because it fell between Spring Break and Final Exams.  So what can we do as pet lovers to enjoy Earth Day and reduce our pet’s paw print?  How can we make our home a cleaner and greener home for us and our pets?

  1. Poop Patrol – We all wish our pets could learn to use the toilet like some of those we see on YouTube, but it’s not reality.  So picking up poop is a daily routine.  If not picked up it pollutes the environment, plus you have to watch for those little ones who should be in “Poop Anon” for cleaning it up for you. Use paper bags or ones that are biodegradable.  If you’re not bringing your own bag to the store, use the plastic ones you get.  At least you’re making them double-duty.
  2. Spot Clean Floors – Your pets walk on them and then lick their paws.  So this is a very important area to read the labels and invest in non-toxic cleaners.  As with any number of cleaning products, mild skin irritation or stomach upset may occur if pets walk through a still-wet floor or lick any spilled solution.
  3. Carpet Fresh – Personally I feel any of the powder carpet freshener’s shouldn’t be used.  They get into the fibers which isn’t good for your carpet or pets.  Just my opinion.  If anything use baking soda because it is safer for you and Mollie.
    When having your carpets cleaned allow the carpet to dry before allowing pets into the area. This will help to prevent the risk of skin irritation or tummy upset. Just have them spot clean and use very hot water and no chemicals.  They can leave residues that are toxic.  Even if you manage to get all of the residue off the floor, the vapors and residue can linger and can be dangerous to your pet.
  4. Air Fresheners – You’re just spritzing a little into the air to get rid of the fishy, doggy and kitty smells.  But have you thought that it’s landing on your floors, counters as well as any dishware around.  Even though your room smells clean and fresh, they are emitting volatile chemicals into the air.  I have never used activated charcoal as an air freshener, but there are many articles on the web on how it is a non-toxic deodorizer.  Word of caution regarding essential oils, they can be toxic, especially to cats and birds.
  5. Be Water Smart – When refreshing the water bowl each day, instead of dumping it down the drain, use it in your garden.  We live in a drought environment and the plants don’t mind that Max shared his water.
  6. Laundry Detergent – It’s easy to assume that choosing a laundry detergent isn’t that important because the rinse cycle rinses it away. But there is residue left behind on clothes and pet blankets that can be harmful to your pet, especially those that chew on their bedding. Avoid detergents with toxic ingredients.
  7. Plants – Plants do help keep our indoor air clean, but so many are toxic to our pets.  Before bringing one into the house or planting outside, check the ASPCA’s Poison Control list of toxic plants.  You’ll probably be as shocked as I was to find out what they are and ones you may have in your home.

Always strive for non-toxic pet friendly products which will be safer for both you and your pet. Consider that anything that irritates you will most likely bother and be harmful to your pet.  As with any product, it is important that you always follow label instructions for use.


Gail Mayhugh, the owner of GMJ Interior Design has been designing in Las Vegas for over 20 years.  She also supports animal rescues and shelters through her non-profit, www.SeniorsToTheRescue.org.