Despite your best efforts at cleanliness, your carpet will eventually become the victim of drops, spills, accidents, and whatever's on the bottom of your shoes. It is a good strategy to set up a maintenance program that takes care of carpet needs throughout their useful life. Using the wrong products or excess amounts of chemicals can easily damage carpets. |
Most homes have carpet in them somewhere, but one problem with carpeting is that it's a perfect home to microorganisms such as mold, mildew and dust mites. It's also a reservoir for everything you track indoors on your shoes: lawn chemicals, lead dust, animal feces, and anything else found on the ground outdoors.
Preventing soil from entering a building in the first place means carpet cleaning can be less frequent, thereby reducing the amounts of chemicals used.
Another form of prevention comes from reacting immediately to spills and spots before they have time to become semi-permanent stains. However, thorough training in spill clean-up is very important because using the wrong techniques or chemicals can smear the spilled substance or set the spot permanently. It is usually best to start with clear, cold water and blotting cloths, and then move on to try stronger chemicals only if needed.
A special word of caution - carpet spot removal products contain some of the most dangerous chemicals found in carpet care products. Manufacturers make several products for carpet cleaning. These products range from mild to strong, and have many different ingredients. Some of these cleaning products have acids and other chemicals that can harm you.
Vacuuming is your first line of defense. But carpet eventually means carpet cleaners, many of which contain the infamous dry cleaning agent, perchloroethylene (perc). We've written about this substance in the past. Another common nasty isnaphthalene, a possibly carcinogenic solvent linked to red blood cell damage.
Postpone a general cleaning with spot maintenance. Here you have some natural options: salt for mud, dirt and red wine; club soda for coffee stains; and cornstarch or cornmeal for grease. To control odors, liberally sprinkle carpeting with baking soda and allow to sit overnight before vacuuming. Direct sunlight is also a great deodorant. A couple of hours in the sun does wonders to freshen bathroom mats and area rugs.
Renting a commercial steamer? Rinse out the cleaning chamber with warm water and flush the residue. It's not the best solution, but it beats recirculating the pesticides and chemicals from other people's carpets through your home. Invest in your own steam cleaning unit, and you'll have peace of mind knowing only natural cleaners are keeping your home fresh, clean and healthy.
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