The sad truth is the carpets that hold up best to traffic are the ones coated with toxins. And we don’t want those in a place where humans dwell.
If you do have a healthy wool carpet in your home, you can still clean it without harsh chemicals like perchloroethylene – which the EPA has linked to kidney and liver damage. Naphthalene, made from coal tar, is also considered a carcinogen that can harm the central nervous system.
Ask cleaning services if they simply steam to lift dirt or apply shampoos to loosen those hard-to-clean coffee and wine stains. Treatments like Oxi Fresh use an oxygenated method by applying less water and natural ingredients. Some cleaners also use citrus-based products that smell much better than standard chemicals. Just check and see if their products are plant-based chemicals (Biokleen, NatureClean and Seventh Generation’s Natural Citrus Carpet Cleaner) or made with synthetics.
Here are some natural ways to go for maintaining cleaner carpet:
1. For daily maintenance, have guests and family members remove shoes when entering the house if you have carpet on the first floor. Otherwise, remove shoes before heading upstairs. Obviously there can be exceptions, such as when you are entertaining. Guests often complain about taking off shoes for a more formal event. They may have holy socks or need the height so their pants won’t droop.
2. ehow tells us to spot clean with vinegar and water by mixing equal parts into a spray bottle and applying to the stain, then blotting with a clean, dry towel. For tougher stains, you can make a paste of baking soda and water and coat the stain. Let the paste sit for about 30 minutes, then wipe away with a damp cloth. For deeper cleaning, they suggest going with biodegradable cleaners like AFM Safecoat added to a rented carpet cleaner.
3. Do It Yourself recommends regular vacuuming to prevent dirt and pet dander from settling into your carpet fibers, and to sprinkle on some baking soda before your sweep to eliminate potential orders. You can even add spice, such as cinnamon or cloves, in the baking soda before you spread it. Also, let the baking soda sit on the carpet to lift stains and dirt at least 10 minutes before you vacuum.
4. For spot removal, use a clean dry cloth or paper towel to soak up the spill and blot the stain rather than rubbing it. Once you blot it, apply club soda or soda water to dissolve and lift, then blot up the liquid. You also can use hydrogen peroxide and vinegar mixed with water or rubbing alcohol to lift the stains. You might also try making your own spot cleaner with a teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and one to two cups of water.
In terms of cleaning fiber rugs, such as sisal, it is best to just use water or soda water. These can be the hardest rugs to maintain because many products don’t work very well to get out the stains.
Let us know if you have some other tried and true green methods of carpet cleaning!