Keeping a clean home is one of the many challenges of pet ownership. As most animals are highly sensitive to commercial cleaners, it can be difficult to find a cleaner that works while ensuring the safety of the vast variety of species that share our homes.
Approximately 70 million American households own a pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. That’s roughly 56 percent of all American households. With allergies on the rise, air quality declining and pet owners becoming less tolerant of that “pet smell,” the natural cleaning products segment of the industry is booming.
In the past, consumers had to choose between safety and effectiveness. However, with the lifestyle industry now becoming driven by the pet industry, we are seeing a change in the quality of natural cleaners. These days, it’s no longer necessary to sacrifice health for a clean home.
“There’s no getting around it,” said Melinda Adamec, director of marketing for Fresh Wave by OMI Industries. “If you have pets, you have not-so-nice odors in your home. You may not smell them, but it’s one of the first things a guest notices upon entering. And just like a hotel room, if there’s an odor, the first impression is that your home is unclean. Rather than covering up those pet odors with fake fragrances, Fresh Wave products make the odor molecules disappear, so your guests will have no sign of your furry family member until he/she comes around the corner to greet them at the door.”
Today’s consumers are focused on the wellbeing of their pets, often taking a holistic approach that encourages a look at everything from nutrition to cleaning products. As a result, they are more conscious about their own health and realize that the natural products are often more effective than others. The humanization of pets is what is driving growth for eco-friendly products. To ensure products are eco-friendly, a manufacturer must be very selective about sourcing and manufacturing processes.
PL360, a company known for their natural grooming and home cleaning products, are focused on using plant-based ingredients.
“PL360 utilizes natural, plant-based ingredients that are free of harsh chemicals that can irritate our pets and harm the earth,” said Katie Rogers, marketing manager for PL360. “Our formulas are biodegradable so that they break down through natural decomposition rather than taking a toll on the environment. Even further, many of our bottles use 25 percent post-consumer recycled material.”
“We are the only manufacturer that produces natural, plant-based household cleaners specifically marketed towards pet owners,” Rogers said. “These products include all natural carpet powder, multi-surface cleaner, plant-based stain and odor remover, and surface wipes.”
The Ava Anderson collection of organic, nontoxic products that contain a strong blend of natural surfactants (compounds that lower the surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid), minerals and enzymes. They utilize a blend of essential oils such as peppermint, lavender and tea tree oils. Together, these form a strong cleanser without harmful chemicals or synthetic fragrances.
Cleaner Cages and Kennels
Owners especially want their cage cleaning products to be safe and effective because of the amount of time pets spend in their cages, crates and kennels.
Earth’s Balance, a division of Marshall Pet, recently introduced 180XT with moleculift technology that lifts pheromones and eliminates stains and odors in three easy steps. All natural, this formula also uses de-ionization of water to help boost cleaning power.
While most natural cleaners cannot claim to also disinfect, there are several that can. Zoo Med’s Wipe Out 1 terrarium and small animal cage disinfectant, cleaner and deodorizer is one of the few cleaners ideal for cleaning reptile cages and other animal enclosures. Wipe Out 1 kills Salmonella choleraesuis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and can reduce the spread of bacterial infections among livestock.
ProVetLogic offers effective products to naturally help clean and disinfect kennels, even effectively destroying parvovirus.
Clorox has entered the natural category with their Green Works line of products. All Green Works products are 95 to 99 percent naturally derived. That means all of the active cleaning ingredients in their products are derived from plant-based cleaning agents, essential oils, corn-based ethanol and wood-based fibers.
Ecologically-friendly products are not only preferred for the environment; they are safer, better quality, and these days, often less expensive than resource-draining products manufactured outside of the country in unregulated factories.
Every ingredient should have an easily identifiable purpose. For example, there is no reason to include harmful ingredients like parabens in a product as they create a health risk and also create environmental issues when released into our limited groundwater supply.
BarkLogic, a division of Logic Products, has been carrying all-natural dog grooming, household and kennel products for years. Their products are free from dangerous parabens and are 100 percent plant and mineral based. Their extensive line of HomeLogic cleaning products is not only safe for people, but for our sensitive pets as well.
“In the manufacturing process, our facility uses energy-efficient, high lumen lighting to help conserve energy, VOC-free paint and solar energy panels,” said Jill Taft, founder of Logic Product Group. “The facility also works with a carbon credit company to neutralize energy consumption and has implemented a waste management program, which reuses and recycles materials wherever possible.”
Skout’s Honor just entered the market in 2015. Their BioKore technology is a revolutionary green cleaning process that breaks down and lifts away stains on contact. All of Skout’s Honor products are nontoxic, rapidly biodegradable, eco-friendly and free of harsh chemicals, chlorine and formaldehyde, and manufactured under the California Green Chemistry initiative.”
Healthy Habitat, an enzyme-based cleaner from Natural Chemistry, is formulated using naturally based SMARTZyme technology and botanicals and is for use within any pet habitat and all surfaces including: glass, heat rocks, artificial plants, and more – it can even be used while pets are in their habitat.
“We make our own enzymes,” said Vin Hourihan, marketing director of Natural Chemistry. “This gives us control over the quality.”
In addition to cleaning sprays are alternative ways to remove hair from the home. Bissell has long been a strong player in the pet industry, and now works with leading retailer Petsmart to offer steam vacuums for rent at select stores. Neato Robotics has also worked with the industry to show the benefits of robotic cleaning. Outside of vacuums, there several new methods for eliminating fur.
SwiPets was created with one purpose in mind: find a solution to the endless battle of removing pet hair from furniture and fabric. SwiPets utilizes a patent-pending, ‘sticky-grip’ technology on the palm of its glove, which are made from a nitrile based formula (not latex). The unique formula and special fabric create an electrostatic charge, while ‘grabbing’ the pet hair and clumping it so you can simply pull it off and throw it away! The gloves are machine-washable and help to naturally eliminate fur and allergens.
Retailers who choose to embrace natural cleaners can see a big increase in revenue. More consumers are seeking out ways to deal with pet mess naturally, which is a big opportunity for retailers.