Avoid the hazards of conventional carpet cleaning chemicals by using a green carpet cleaning service

Many services provide eco-friendly carpet cleaning.

Though wall-to-wall carpeting is luxurious underfoot and can add elegance to a room, a dirty carpet can be an eyesore-or, worse, a health hazard, encouraging the growth of germs and mold.

Regular professional carpet cleaning is a worthwhile investment, but not all cleaners are created equal.

Some commercial carpet-cleaning companies actually use chemicals that are more dangerous (especially to kids, pets, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems) than the dirt and germs you’re paying them to remove. Because of this, many consumers are requesting “green” carpet-cleaning practices that protect their health and the environment.

What’s so harmful about traditional carpet-cleaning systems? Standard commercial cleaning often involves alkalines, disinfectants, dyes, bleaches, and aggressive enzymes—all of which can be toxic to health.


Dry carpet cleaning uses butyloxy ethanol, also known as buytl cellosolve. The active ingredient, butyl, is known to damage the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys in humans. Dry carpet cleaning can also include perchloroethylene, which can cause liver and kidney damage as well as dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Children and pets who spend extended time on the floor have the greatest exposure and the greatest risk.

While the chemical soup in traditional carpet-cleaning agents is bad for health, disposing of the water used to clean carpets is bad for the environment. Standard carpet-cleaning practices suck chemicals out of your carpet—along with any germs and dirt they have removed-and dispose of this mix improperly. These waste materials can damage waterways, harm living things affected by those waterways, and even work their way back into our food chain.

To answer consumer demand for “green” carpet cleaning, many companies are offering alternatives to traditional cleaning methods. Eco-friendly cleaning employs safer cleaning chemicals, often composed of bio-based ingredients, and reduces water consumption.

Many carpet cleaners now boast of being environmentally friendly, but such claims are largely unregulated. To ensure that a carpet cleaner is truly using green products in your home, inquire as to whether the company’s products are certified by either Green Seal or Environmental Choice, two independent testing organizations.

To bear certification, products must be readily biodegradable and have limited toxicity for water and land organisms, including people and pets. They also must clean just as well as traditional cleaning products, preserving a carpet’s color and protecting the carpet from future wear.

You can find a carpet cleaner in your local Yellow Pages or online. Prices for green cleaning should be comparable to those of standard commercial cleaners, but be wary of prices that seem too good to be true. Prices should be determined by the total area of your home and not by the number of rooms, as rooms can vary in size.

With a little research, it’s easy to make a “green” choice. Your home and health will thank you for it.

Article Copyright HomeTips. Information provided by expert Steven Santos—owner, Sunset Carpet Cleaning, Portland Oregon.

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About Don Vandervort
An avid builder and remodeler, Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years, as Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort