Before buying a carpet cleaning product, the only thing in our mind is "Will it clean well?". Unless you have a baby or a pet, you likely wouldn't bother reading the label on the back. In reality, however, you should be well aware of the potential dangerous chemicals the product could contain.
What toxic chemicals are there in carpet cleaners?
- Perchloroethylene - a chemical found in many dry cleaning products. It's been known to cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and also liver and kidney damage.
- Butyloxy Ethanol - a solvent found in various cleaning products (liquid soaps, glass cleaners and dry cleaning solutions). The potential harms of it entering your body are damage to the central nervous system, the kidneys and the liver.
- Phthalates - a well-known fragrant chemical component found in many carpet cleaning products. It is deemed carcinogenic, and can also cause allergic reactions in children.
- Naphthalene - commonly found in pre-treatment products for high traffic areas, also in some pest control sprays. Prolonged exposure to it can cause numerous health problems, such as lung damage, liver damage, nausea and vomiting.
How do toxic chemicals enter the body?
Toxins from carpet cleaning products fall within the body primarily through inhalation and skin contact. For that reason, whenever you are about to clean your carpet, use a protective mask and gloves. Additionally, always have windows open as the fumes from the carpet cleaning chemicals need to somehow go out of the property.
When exposed to harmful chemicals, professional cleaners (mainly women) are at danger of developing respiratory problems. Male cleaners, on the other hand, are not as affected in this aspect. The study found that female cleaners who were exposed to the chemicals developed lung damage at a faster rate than their male counterparts. Male cleaners on the other hand, are more likely to have high cholesterol, impotency, and poor sperm quality.
What's more, women exposed to high levels of chemicals have been observed to give birth to infants with various health conditions. The list includes the following: weak lungs, insufficient weight and irregular head circumference, which in the long term can be very damaging.
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Are commercial carpet cleaning products environmentally friendly?
A study conducted in the United States 15 years ago, tested samples from various lakes and rivers across the country. What the study found are traces of household cleaners in 69% of all samples! If this tendency continues, irreversible environmental changes might occur.
What you can do to help prevent this is to act right away and go green. Currently, about 35% of UK households use only eco-friendly cleaning products and home remedies. You should do the same thing - always go for green cleaning solutions!
Carpet cleaning products which have the WoolSafe label, for example Prochem's Pre-Spray Gold, are completely harmless. While this product is for professional use only, many store-bought chemicals also have said label (1001 Carpet Stain Remover). This entails that the products are safe for wool and natural fibre carpets in general. What is more, they are safe not just for the environment, but for people as well.
Other ways in which you can safely clean carpets is with the help of baking soda. Buy a few boxes from your local store, and once you're home, hoover the carpet to be cleaned. Then, spread baking soda in order to cover the whole room, especially the stained areas.
Let it sit for a minimum of 4 hours, but it's best to leave even overnight. In the morning, all you would need to do is hoover the mess up.
Another very useful method for cleaning greasy stains is with salt. However, this technique is effective only if you act immediately while the stain is still fresh. Simply sprinkle some salt over the greasy mark and wait for a few minutes. If necessary, use a clean cloth dabbed in a mixture of vinegar and water and blot it.
Do professional carpet cleaners use toxic chemicals?
Nowadays, most professional carpet cleaning companies work closely with certified manufacturers of cleaning detergents, such as Prochem. Their carpet cleaning solutions range from mild to completely eco-friendly. Moreover, they're suitable for all carpet fibres, regardless if natural or synthetic.
The other benefit of using carpet cleaning services is the quality of the machines professionals have. High-powered machines have the necessary suction power to leave carpets nearly dry. In comparison, non-commercial machines (Rug Doctor) extract a much smaller amount of water, leaving the carpet to dry for 24 hours.
That amount of time is enough for mould and mildew to start developing. In turn, this can cause serious health risks and also worsen the indoor air quality.