Is Pine-Sol Toxic to Cats?

Is Pine-Sol toxic to cats?

According to a representative of the company, Pine-Sol can be used in pet areas*. To get absolute clarification regarding Pine-Sol and cats, I contacted Pine-Sol via email and this is their response.

In regards to your question, yes, all Pine-Sol® products are recommended for use in pet areas. Please note that we do not recommend using Pine-Sol® products as a pet shampoo. Feel free to reach back out with any other questions or concerns you may have.

Past formulations of contained pine oil which is toxic to cats, however, it is no longer an ingredient due to limited supply and increased costs as was announced on their Facebook page.

It was a tough decision, but we did have to change the formula of our Original Pine-Sol due to a lower amount of pine oil available’.

What is Pine-Sol? 

Pine-Sol is a popular household cleaner and disinfectant used to clean a range of household surfaces including kitchen benches, sinks, floors and bathrooms.

Pine-Sol ingredients

An up to date list of Pine-Sol ingredients can be found on the Smart Label site:

  • Water
  • PEG/PPG propylheptyl ether
  • C10-12 alcohol ethoxylates
  • Glycolic acid
  • Sodium secondary C13-18 alkyl sulfonate
  • Xanthan gum
  • Caramel
  • Sodium sulfate
  • Methoxyacetic acid
  • Formic acid

Fragrance

  • Fragrance ingredient
  • Hexyl cinnamal
  • d-Limonene
  • Acetophenone
  • Myrcene

From a personal standpoint, some of the ingredients above are considered toxic to cats, so I would urge pet owners to use this product with caution or better still, find a safer product. The percentage of each ingredient is not listed, so there is no way for the consumer to know just how much is too much. Also, we still don’t know the long-term effects of continued exposure to many common household chemicals.

  • d-limonene is labelled as toxic to cats, however, one study found no evidence of toxicity when a commercial insecticidal dip containing 78.5% d-limonene diluted to 1.5oz per gallon of water, was used on cats in a single application. At five times the concentration, cats exhibited mild symptoms of toxicity.
  • 344 rats were administered methoxyacetic acid at varying doses. No apparent toxic effects were found in rats who received low doses, however, when given a higher dose the rats lead to decreased bodyweight, severe degeneration of testicular germinal epithelium, decreased size of the thymus with depletion of thymic cortical lymphoid elements, and reductions in bone marrow cellularity resulting in depressions of red blood cell counts.
  • Glycolic acid is toxic to cats in high doses as it can cause metabolic acidosis and is converted by the liver to oxalate which combines with calcium to form calcium oxalate crystals inside the kidney tubular cells, causing blockage and renal epithelial cell death.

This highlights the fact that even products considered safe for cats can be toxic in high enough doses and great care must always be taken when using chemicals around animals. Risks can be minimised by taking safety measures (listed below), or by using cat-friendly cleaning products.

Related: Pine-Sol safety data sheet

Safety

  • Ensure the area is well-ventilated when using Pin-Sol.
  • Wear rubber gloves to avoid contact with the skin.
  • Follow the dilution ratio on the packaging and never use Pine-Sol at a stronger dilution than recommended.
  • Do not mix Pine-Sol with other cleaning products, disinfectants or chemicals.
  • Discard diluted solutions after use.
  • Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep cats away from the area until the product is completely dry.
  • If the cat’s coat comes into contact with Pine-Sol, bathe the cat immediately in warm water and liquid dish soap (Dawn, Fairy Liquid, Morning Fresh) to prevent ingestion during grooming. As always, if you have any concerns that your cat has ingested Pine-Sol, contact your veterinarian.

*Despite their claims, I do not recommend the use of Pine-Sol to clean pet bowls or bedding. Hot water and liquid dish soap are adequate to clean pet bowls. If disinfection is required (for example an outbreak of a contagious disease), a bleach solution of 1:10 (1 part bleach to ten parts water) is recommended. Rinse thoroughly with plenty of warm water and allow to dry.