Don’t you wish you could just skip spring cleaning altogether? Well, too bad! It’s time to throw open the windows, dust off the knick-knacks, and scrub away all of the accumulated dust and grime of winter.
One of the largest surfaces in your home may be one of the most neglected. In most homes, almost every room has some sort of carpeting. With yards of carpet to maintain, it may seem like a daunting task to give it all a good sprucing up. You could always hire professional cleaners, but if you prefer to do things your way (and save a buck or two in the process), you might be interested in cleaning carpets and rugs the greenest way possible, and even with non-toxic household items.
Why is it important to use non-toxic methods to clean your carpet?
Some commercial detergents will quickly and effectively remove stains. Unfortunately, these same detergents are often very strong and the chemicals that they contain can be very dangerous to you and your family. Many carpet cleaners contain perchloroethylene (PERC). PERC is a toxic chemical that is often added to cleaning solvent soaps. As the chemical breaks down, it is released into the air. When people breathe it in over a short period of time, it can affect the nervous system, cause fatigue and dizziness, and even cause people to become uncoordinated or to pass out. Long-term exposure could even cause liver and kidney failure and in studies it has caused cancer in animals.
Certain cleaning agents may also contain naphthalene. Naphthalene is primarily used in mothballs, but could be used as a deodorizer in the soap that you use to clean your carpets. You should be particularly concerned about this chemical if you have small children in your home as exposure to naphthalene can cause neurological damage in infants. Naphthalene exposure is also thought to cause health problems including retinal hemorrhage, cataracts, diarrhea, confusion, anemia and all sorts of other issues.
Think of all the time you and your family members spend up close and personal with the carpet. If you have small children, they may even crawl around the living room with their faces only inches from the rug. You may lie on the floor to watch t.v. and, of course, your pets most likely lie or sleep close to the floor. Cleaning your carpets the old-fashioned way will help protect you, your children and your pets from ingesting the toxins found in commercial cleaning agents.
Try using some simple, tried-and-true methods that grandma would surely approve of:
- You can make a shampoo for your carpet with just warm water and half a spoonful of vegetable oil-based soap. You can disinfect and clean light stains with equal parts vinegar and water.
- Using a steam cleaner is a very effective way to clean the dirt out of carpeting. In this case, the liquids put into the reservoir of the steam cleaner can contain hazardous chemicals. If you have any doubts about the safety of the liquid cleaner, simply use water mixed with vinegar instead.
- Baking soda is the most efficient powdered cleaner. It successfully absorbs moisture and odors from the carpet and any other fabric surface. The tougher the stain, the more baking powder you should apply and the longer you should leave it on the surface. Then just scrub and rinse.
- For treating spots, try applying club soda or cornstarch liberally to the stain. Let it sit, scrub and then rinse with water.
Forget the chemical cleaners this spring and clean carpets and rugs the natural way. It’s better for your health! Happy spring cleaning!
Article written for Your area Cleaning