Wisely choose your Carpet Cleaning Method
Among the inevitable things in life is the fact that all carpets will get dirty over time. Carpets and rugs, of course, take a lot of abuse from rambunctious children and pets, dinner guests who spill, people who refuse to wipe their feet before entering, and fine dust, dander, mites filters down below the carpeting due to poorly functioning vacuums–the list goes on and on. So it is also inevitable that carpets have to be cleaned somehow, at some point. Like other cleaners, carpet cleaners may contain toxic ingredients, some of which are not listed on labels because they are considered "proprietary" or "trade secrets".
Some carpet cleaners–especially spot removers–can be particularly dangerous, because they contain chemical solvents similar to those used by dry cleaners. These chemicals dissolve dirt without soap and water, but give off strong odors. Other potentially problematic ingredients in carpet cleaners include other compounds that produce lots of fumes (like formaldehyde), acids, pesticides, disinfectants, lye (sodium hydroxide), fragrances and many others.
Fabric and carpet stain repellents or "guards" may contain plastics and other potentially dangerous ingredients. The key ingredient in 3M’s popular Scotchguard® line of products, perfluoro-octane sulfonate (PFOS), was once portrayed as chemically inert, but recent research shows that it is a persistent organic pollutant (POP). PFOS, a suspected hormone disruptor, accumulates in the environment and the tissue of animals and humans. Despite sample evidence of PFOS's persistence, 3M kept it on the market for 40 years. In spring 2000, 3M announced it would phase out PFOS products by the year 2002. The safety of another perfluorinated compound, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the main ingredient in Teflon®, which is used to coat non-stick pans and in fabric protectors, is currently under investigation. We do not recommended or use protectants.
During application and while drying, the chemicals in carpet cleaners and protectors evaporate and may concentrate in the air, causing indoor air pollution. (Because homes are built more tightly to save energy, polluted air is trapped in homes making it unhealthier. Heavier chemical molecues will settle down where children, pets, and sleeping areas are.) This is more likely if the room is not well ventilated, the weather is hot and humid or the room is damp. Indoor air pollution can cause headaches, irritation to eyes, nose and lungs, asthma attacks, congestion, sneezing, coughing, fatigue, nausea and other symptoms.
Long-term exposures to chemicals may increase the risks for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, depending on the chemicals involved. see tragic news about John Travolta's son's experience and possible link to carpet cleaning. see more info below
Shampoos usually leave a sticky residue on carpet fibers. The residue is usually hard to see or feel–though it can make carpets feel rougher and you may be able to smell it. Not only does the residue attract and latch onto dirt, but children or pets, who crawl and play on carpets, can inhale these residues and/or get them on their hands or pads.
Carpet Dry shampoos, powders and foams may also linger on carpet fibers. These products generally contain solvents and detergents that must be applied for a specific period of time, then vacuumed to remove the cleaning product. A residue may be left behind or the product may sink deep enough into carpets to avoid being pulled out by the vacuum cleaner. Powders or dusts are easily inhaled and may irritate airways and cause asthma attacks-- especially with infants, small children and pets. In fact, anti-dust-mite carpet treatments sometimes contain tannic acid or benzyl benzoate, both of which are skin, eye and respiratory irritants. Deodorizing powders often contain fragrances that irritate asthmatic lungs as well. Our green certifide Host method does not contain any solvents or detergents that are toxic to infants or animals; as well as, Host does not become airborne as other shampoos, powders and foams do when they are dry.
Dangerous Chemicals Found in Some Carpet Cleaners
Butoxyethanol and other glycol ethers
Acids and other corrosive chemicals
Mildewcides and Disinfectants
Butane, propane and isobutanes (aerosol propellants)
Nonylphenol ethoxylate (surfactant)
Octylphenol ethoxylate (surfactant)
You can find out if a carpet cleaning product you use or are considering contains any of these ingredients on the Household Products Database, produced by the National Institutes of Health. You can also search by ingredient. Mold and Mildew
Another issue related to carpet cleaning is the potential for mold growth in carpets that do not dry quickly enough. Steam cleaning carpets can thoroughly dampen the carpet AND the pad underneath. In humid or poorly ventilated spaces, a steam-cleaned carpet is an invitation for mold spores to sprout. Once mold begins to grow in a carpet or its pad, it's impossible to remove adequately. The spores and particles will be embedded and will thwart any removal process unfortunately. Even when mold is not actively growing, mold particles and spores can cause health problems, such as fatigue, headaches, allergy symptoms, asthma attacks and other breathing problems.