Many people are rejecting the unsafe cleaning products of yesteryear in favor of healthier alternatives. Too many carpet cleaning solutions contain harmful toxins such as pesticides and formaldehyde. According to the EPA, the fumes released from such solutions can cause both minor and major health problems. Allergies, headaches, kidney damage, asthma and even cancer is associated with exposure to these toxins.
●● Spot Removal Cleaning Alternatives ●●
Distilled White Vinegar and Water. Fortunately, there are some cleaning aids that can be made with safe products found in almost every home. A proven spot cleaner for light stains can be made by combining one-half distilled white vinegar and one-half water. This solution can be applied to a spot and then allowed to soak in for several minutes to work its magic. Then the area should be rinsed with water.
Salt, Club Soda, Cornstarch and Borax. Given the fact that few cleaning tips works well for all stains, here are a few other recommendations for specific types of stains. Other spot maintenance ideas include using salt to clean mud, red wine and dirt from carpet. Club soda is recommended for coffee stains. Finally, cornstarch is considered to work well on removing grease. Tougher stains might require an overnight cleaning using a special paste containing salt, vinegar and borax.
Homemade Shampoo. If you feel the need to use a brush to remove a particularly tough stain, you can make your own shampoo. Mix one-half teaspoon of vegetable oil-based soap with a cup of water. This nontoxic formula will lather up and pull most stains from carpet by applying a little elbow grease.
●● Steam Cleaners ●●
For people who want to thoroughly clean carpets, the steam cleaner is not the enemy. It is the cleaning solutions used by most professional cleaners that cause the health problems. Based on that fact, steam cleaners can still be used. Since they clean deep into carpet with heated vapor, these machines still come in handy. By replacing toxic cleaning solutions with a mixture of plain water and vinegar mixed equally, it is possible to thoroughly clean carpets with a steam cleaner without risking your health. It is important to use the steam cleaner based on manufacturer's directions for best results. Providing plenty of ventilation to the room is also important to prevent mold from growing in the wet carpet.
Carpet that has heavily soiled areas might require a solution using more vinegar than water. It is important to test a small section of the carpet first when using extra vinegar. Discoloration can result on some rugs. Don't worry about the vinegar smell. The smell disappears completely once the carpet dries.
If you rent a commercial cleaner, it is important to rinse it out with clean water to remove any leftover toxins. Otherwise, residue leftover from other uses will contaminate the clean solution you put into the machine. Whenever possible, purchasing a fresh, uncontaminated steam cleaner is preferred.
●● Summary ●●
Carpets trap dirt and toxins from the air. A regular cleaning is critical to keep a family safe. While a good cleaning is necessary, there is no excuse for exposing your family and pets to the toxins in so many commercial carpet cleaners.
Given that animals and children are prone to play on carpet, rolling around on the floor's surface, it is especially important to take extra precaution when pets and children are a part of the family. Spot cleaning with common household products mixed with water works well for most stains. These touch-ups are helpful but they do not replace the need for a thorough cleaning of the entire carpet surface. A heavy cleaning with a steam cleaner is still necessary and can be safe by mixing your own safe cleaning formula. Not only will these recommended nontoxic cleaning approaches be safer for everyone involved, they are also cheaper.
… written by Sam Hardiker owns and runs Wellshine - domestic and commercial cleaning experts based around the UK.