Safety of Carpet Cleaning Chemicals for Pets and Humans

It is so easy to forget how much larger we are than our pets. After all, many housecats can end up “ruling the roost” even if outweighed by their human owners by ten or twenty times! Forgetting the size and height of a dog or cat can lead to a problem, however, when deciding to get the carpet cleaned. After all, they are 100% exposed to whatever compounds are used; absorbing any residuals through their feet and skin, plus they are almost in direct contact at all times. This is why it is of the utmost importance to ensure that any carpet cleaning chemicals used in your home are not just human-safe but also harmless to your pets. Not all compounds can meet that criteria, but the good news is that “According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, most carpet-cleaning products can be used safely in households with pets as long as the instructions for their use are strictly followed.” And if you are not going to tackle the job as a DIY project, you can also find many carpet cleaning services that offer either no chemical services or “green” services that rely on eco- and animal-friendly compounds.


Instead of looking at the overall safety of carpet cleaning chemicals for pets and humans, though, it is easier if you know what NOT to use in your home or other living/working spaces. The experts say that all cleaners should be:

  • Free of chlorine that irritates the skin and eyes
  • Ammonia that can cue serious reactions
  • Stain removing ingredients that are chemical solvents
  • Formaldehyde is harmful to humans and pets
  • Sodium hydroxide is lye and also extremely irritating
  • Also be aware of ingredients such as disinfectants, acids, artificial fragrances and pesticides, among others potential irritants

In addition to the cleansing ingredients, be aware that some carpet cleaning solutions or carpet cleaning services also use “guards” in their work, and these can be just as dangerous.


If you are like the rest of the world, you might know of the compound called Scotchguard. This protects fabrics from stains and other similar issues, but it is also a POP or persistent organic pollutant. This has been proven to be a risk to humans and other animals and is why it has been phased out over the years. Teflon, however has not and it too is used in some cleaners to prevent future staining.

Whether buying a product or having it used on a carpet, ask about any guards or potentially harmful ingredients to ensure that the cleaning and treatment process is leaving no nasty residues behind.


No matter what approach to cleaning you use, you can reduce risks of irritation or negative reaction by ensuring that you ventilate the room well, allow the product to dry and the room to air out for days afterward before letting pets or others inside. Find out what is left behind by any products used and learn what steps you can take to ensure that they do not irritate anyone (two or four-legged – or winged!) in the home. Also find out what you should do to improve air quality when any products are in use and ensure safety once it is done.

The market is full of human and animal-friendly products, but it is up to you to find the companies and services that make use of them when cleaning your carpets and rugs.