Is Pine-Sol Toxic to Cats?

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  • 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.

    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 was 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 Pine-Sol 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.”

    Should I put my cat in a different room if I use Pine-Sol? Is that enough?

    It is a good idea to contain your cat elsewhere if you plan to have an open bucket or container of Pine-Sol. Though they have removed the pine oil from current formulations, drinking the product may still cause your cat to have health issues. Once the open product is disposed of, and the surfaces are dry, it is safe to allow your cat back into the room.

    Safety measures to take when using Pine-Sol

    • Ensure the area is well-ventilated when using Pine-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.

    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 labeled 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 body weight, 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.

    Clinical Signs of Pine-Sol Toxicity in Cats

    If ingested, Pine-Sol may burn your cat’s mouth, which results in signs of oral pain such as drooling and ulceration. Gastrointestinal upset (cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss) may also be seen.

     

    What if my cat ingested Pine-Sol?

    If you know or even suspect that your cat ingested Pine-Sol, you should take them to the nearest veterinarian for prompt treatment. You may also call the ASPCA Pet Poison Helpline at 1-888-426-4435 for advice.

     

    Pet safe cleaning products we love

    The ingredients of household cleaners change frequently, so it is hard to recommend specific brands. However, products that contain baking soda or vinegar as their active ingredient are typically safe. The following is a list of ingredients to avoid:

    • Ammonia
    • Bleach
    • Chlorine
    • Formaldehyde
    • Hydrogen peroxide
    • Isopropyl alcohol
    • Phenols
    • Phthalates

    Frequently asked questions

    Are Pine-Sol fumes toxic to cats?

    • Used correctly and in a normally ventilated space, the fumes of Pine-Sol are unlikely to cause your cat any issues. However, if there is a spill of the concentrated product or you are using the product in a small, enclosed space, the fumes might bother your cat’s respiratory tract. It is recommended that you remove your act from the area where you are using Pine-Sol just to be safe.

    Can you dilute Pine Sol with water?

    • Yes, Pine-Sol is provided in a concentrated form and should be mixed with water according to label instructions prior to use. Always thoroughly read the directions of the Pine Sol bottle to ensure safe use.

     

    Related: Pine-Sol safety data sheet

     

    Author

    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio