Chain e-mails have asserted that Swiffer WetJet uses an ingredient similar to antifreeze and that standard use of the product causes liver failure in dogs and cats. The reader who requested this article and most people reading these unfounded allegations were naturally skeptical, but we thought it would be nice to provide some details to put shoppers at ease. Swiffer WetJet is a household cleaning product by Proctor & Gamble (P&G). The assertions are unfounded and – as far as we can tell – undocumented.
The cleaning agent used by the Swiffer WetJet product is 90% to 99% water. The solution sprayed out by the product contains only 1% to 4% propylene glycol n-propyl ether or propylene glycol n-butyl ether and isopropyl alcohol. Toxicologists at the ASPCA Poison Control Center have stated that these chemicals are safe around pets at the low concentrations specified by P&G. P&G points out that over the past five years, more than 38 million households have cleaned with Swiffer products. If the Swiffer cleaning solution were toxic to pets, it is likely that there would be many verifiable and documented incidents. This cleaning solution poses no more threat to the safety of animals than any other cleaning solution.
The harmful ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol causes renal failure, not liver failure. The names of the chemicals in the Swiffer solution sound like ethylene glycol but are not chemically similar to ethylene glycol. ASPCA Poison Control Center toxicologists verify that the ingredients in the Swiffer cleaning solution cause neither liver failure nor kidney failure. Feel free to Swiffer!