We love using essential oils here at the CMS HQ to add a little zing to our DIY cleaning products. Not only do they smell great, but many of them also have unique anti-microbial and anti-bacterial qualities, which make them ideal for cleaning your home. Cheryl asks:

I love essential oils too, but I keep reading that they are a no-no if you have cats. I see that your two beautiful cats seem perfectly fine and that you use essential oils all the time. Can you clarify if there are rules you need to follow if you have pets?

Melissa Says:

Indeed, a number of oils are known to be toxic to animals, including, unfortunately, some of my favorites! Cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, and tea tree are among the ones that can be toxic to cats (there are a few more not listed here, as well as different ones for different animals — do your research!). However, with some precautions, you can have both pets and essential oils in your life.

First off, a good rule to follow if you want to use a diffuser is that your house should never be overpowered with a scent. Cats and dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than we do, and they can become overwhelmed easily. If you diffuse, be sure it’s in a small space, and that the rest of the house is kept scent-free so that the pet can retreat to another room. You can even consider keeping that area off-limits for pets during the diffusing session. Second, be sure that your diffuser is 100% spill-proof; you don’t ever want your pets coming directly in contact with the oils within!

As far as cleaning with essential oils, when using a few drops mixed in with a lot of water (and any other ingredients) as a cleaning solution, the mixture should be very diluted, so it shouldn’t cause any trouble for the cats. I still use eucalyptus in my floor cleaner.

At the end of the day, I recommend talking to your vet and learning about any symptoms or concern to watch for. As long as your cat seems happy and healthy, you’re probably striking just the right balance!

Good luck!

We know that you have lots of questions about cleaning and we want to give you those answers! So, continue asking away by emailing us at askmelissa@cleanmyspace.com. We love hearing from you!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Just to let you know in case you use White Vinegar. It is deadly for cats, so when measuring it into containers to add anything else to. Clean up right away with cold water only I do it twice to be safe.

      • I have been using a ratio of 1:1 water and white vinegar in addition to essential oil drops and Dawn. I believe it is a much safer alternative to commercial cleaners. In addition, there have been no serious research studies regarding which, and how much essential oil is toxic to cats or dogs.

  2. Thanks for addressing this issue. I’ve been concerned about it since I like to use essential oils in my DIY cleaners and room deodorizers. To play it safe, I’m just avoiding spray diffusers altogether! (My husband is sensitive to aromatics anyway).


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