Many homes have carpet for at least some part of the floor covering. It is soft, comfortable, quiet to walk on and saves toddlers many bruises. However, it is not quite as easy to clean as a hard floor surface. Professional carpet cleaning should be done by experts every year, but it is important to ensure they use products that are non-toxic.
Meanwhile, you will probably need to have some carpet cleaners in the cupboard so you can deal with spots and spills as soon as they happen. The only trouble is that many cleaning products for carpet contain toxic ingredients that stay in the carpet long after they have dried and release fumes that can cause a whole host of problems. Skin irritation, asthma, bronchitis, dizziness, headaches, nausea and many more symptoms can be caused by the toxins in your carpet.
Studies have shown that a carpet can hold up to eight times its weight in dust, dirt and allergens. You may think that throwing the old carpet out and laying new carpets will solve the problem. However, many new carpets are made from products that are actually very harmful to our health. These products release fumes into the air and we breathe them in. Have you ever noticed that new carpet smell? It is very likely toxic.
New carpets often contain volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) including benzene, toluene, styrene, formaldehyde, acetone and ethyl benzene, all of which are listed as Extremely Hazardous Substances by the EPA. They are treated with many different chemicals to make them soil and stain resistant, mothproof and flame retardant. Even the dyes used to colour them can contain toxic compounds.
So if you do purchase new carpets, make sure you choose from the VOC-free range and have natural fibres such as cotton, hemp and wool where possible. Then don’t spoil it by using toxic cleaning products on them. A simple carpet cleaner is white vinegar and water in equal parts, mixed in a spray bottle. This is good for stains as well as odours.
It is essential to only have the carpet cleaned by professionals who use environmentally friendly and non-toxic cleansers. This should be done on a regular basis such as annually, or more often if you have pets inside and toddlers who tend to drop food and dribble on the floor. And when vacuuming the carpet use a HEPA vacuum cleaner with high suction rating to ensure more dust and dirt is sucked out of the carpet.
Many cheap vacuum cleaners don’t do a very good job on carpet, with the deeper layer of dust and dirt remaining in place rather than being removed when you do the vacuuming. Keeping your home toxic free will result in much better health for the whole family.