Swiffer WetJet Harmful to Pets?
SUMMARY: Email rumor claims Swiffer WetJet disposable floor cleaner contains an ingredient toxic to dogs and cats.
Description: Email rumor
Circulating since: May 2004
Email example contributed by Lynn P., May 2, 2004:
Warning for your animal's health:
I recently had a neighbor who had to have their 5-year old German Shepherd dog put down due to liver failure. The dog was completely healthy until a few weeks ago, so they had a necropsy done to see what the cause was. The liver levels were unbelievable, as if the dog had ingested poison of some kind. The dog is kept inside, and when he's outside, someone's with him, so the idea of him getting into something unknown was hard to believe.
Comments: No evidence exists to support or substantiate the claim that the Swiffer WetJet floor cleaner is harmful to pets. Quite the opposite, in fact. According to veterinary toxicologists at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the chemicals in the Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution "are safe ingredients at levels used in cleaning products and do not cause kidney or liver failure."
Though the product label advises (as with all cleaning products) to "Keep out of reach of children and pets," Swiffer WetJet's manufacturer, Procter & Gamble, maintains that the Swiffer WetJet Mop leaves no appreciable residue and is therefore safe to use in a household with pets, even if they lick the floor after it has been mopped.
Low order of toxicity
The Material Safety Data Sheet for the product says it has a "low order of toxicity." The Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution contains the following ingredients:
- Water (90% - 100%)
- Propylene Glycol n-Propyl Ether (1% - 4%)
- Isopropyl Alcohol (1% - 4%)
- Minor Ingredients (< 1%)
- Preservatives (< 0.1%)
Propylene glycol n-propyl ether is a solvent similar to, but much less toxic than, ethylene glycol, the antifreeze ingredient cited as a hazard to pets and children. The MSDS for propylene glycol (which is present in no greater than a 4% concentration in the Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution) states that the chemical has "low toxicity in animal studies" where ingested. Propylene glycol is also found in other household cleaning products.
Procter & Gamble statement:
Are the ingredients safe?
We're glad you came to us for the facts about Swiffer WetJet. Let us assure you, this rumor is completely false. Our Wet cloths and WetJet liquid solution cleaners do not contain antifreeze or any ingredient similar to it.
We have pets too and their health is very important to us. All our products have been evaluated by internal and external veterinarians and scientists, and Swiffer WetJet and Swiffer Wet cloths are safe to use around pets.
We hope you'll help us put an end to this rumor by letting others know the truth.
More on pet safety and care:
About Cats: Health
From About.com Guide Franny Syufy
About Dogs: Health
From About.com Guide Jenna Stregowski, RVT
About Veterinary Medicine: Toxicology
From About.com Guide Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM
Sources and further reading:
NIH Household Products Database: Swiffer WetJet Liquid Floor Cleaner Advanced
Safety information from the National Institutes of Health
MSDS: Propylene Glycol n-Propyl Ether
Material Safety Data Sheet
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Responds to Swiffer Wet Jet Rumor
"Veterinary Toxicologists regard allegations of liver failure and death from household cleaner as unfounded."
Last updated: 01/21/09