Protecting your health is just one of the many reasons why you should clean your carpets regularly; in addition to the dirt and stains that you can see, carpets also accumulate potentially harmful pollutants and allergens between cleanings. But some carpet cleaning processes are healthier than others. If better health is part of what motivates you to clean your carpets, you should also be mindful of what kinds of cleaning solutions are used. While some are kid- and pet-friendly, others are not.
Professionals generally do a great job at removing the cleaning solutions they apply to your carpet. But no matter how well these solutions are extracted back out of your carpet, traces and residues will be left behind; these traces can be released into the air in your home. If your cleaning required the use of chemicals or solvents, this could be a problem. Studies have found that chemicals in carpet cleaning solutions can cause short-term health issues such as headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, and trouble breathing.
In short: You don’t want to use cleaning solutions that you’d be afraid to breathe in.
Thankfully, the carpet cleaning industry has made great strides in improving the processes and solutions that they employ. Many companies now specialize in green cleaning solutions that are eco-friendly in addition to being safe for you and your family. There are several eco-friendly carpet cleaning companies in Tacoma. Rainier Chem-Dry, for example, uses a method they call hot carbonation; instead of using chemicals, Rainier Chem-Dry uses a variation on tried-and-true club soda.
Here are some other reasons why you should pay close attention to the methods your carpet cleaner uses:
Chemicals can harm your carpet, too. If that cleaning solution includes optical brighteners (or dyes), or has a particularly alkaline or acidic pH, it may degrade or discolor your carpet fibers. Of course, you shouldn’t be expected to become an expert on cleaning solutions. But you ought to take a moment to see if your cleaner is certified by the CRI – a watchdog organization that strives to maintain high standards in the carpet cleaning industry.
Residues can attract dirt. Virtually any carpet cleaning will leave the carpet cleaner than before. But some processes can leave behind a sticky residue that actually attracts dirt and hastens the need for another cleaning. This is especially likely if large quantities of water or cleaning soaps are used, such as is the case with traditional steam cleaners; as a general rule, the more detergent, polymer, or solvent that’s applied, the more will be left behind.
Cleaning agents can be irritants. If your cleaning employs solutions with a low (acidic) or a high pH (alkaline), any residue left behind is more likely to irritate your skin; bleach, for example, is a common cleaner with a high pH that can irritate. If possible, try to use solutions with neutral pH (think distilled water or club soda) to minimize the chance of skin irritation or other more harmful effect.
If you have to hire a carpet cleaning company, take the time to ask about their methods. Do they use chemicals? Are their ingredients non-toxic and eco-friendly? Does a residue of any sort get left behind? If you’re working with a reliable professional that uses sound methods, their answers should reassure you. If they don’t, look for another local carpet cleaner – there are many here in Tacoma!