Many people view professional dry carpet cleaning as a favorable option, since they are associated with being “green” and environmentally friendly. Before choosing their services, it is essential to study the benefits and detrimental effects.
Sometimes, things are not what they appear or have been advertised to be. Many companies using the dry carpet cleaning method claim and promote the use of green and no residue-cleaning agents. They define residue as the substance from shampoos and soaps, which settles within the carpet’s fabric after cleaning. While the cleaning solution may leave no soapy residual deposits since they don’t contain soap at all, that’s not the real hazard.
The actual source of hazard is the chemicals applied to carpets for treating blots and stains. These chemicals could be extremely dangerous to health.
Some professional carpet cleaning businesses label themselves as advocates of green technology because they do not use water in the process. It conserves water, and does away with the need for water treatment of dirty carpet water waste. That interpretation of being “green” may be true, but it can still cause harm if toxic cleaning agents are involved. Similar to dry clean services for clothes where chemicals are used, chemical agents are use for cleaning carpets.
Dry cleaning the carpet entails use of low moisture cleaner that is dries quickly. The cleaning agent sometimes includes the chemicals perchloroethylene and naphthalene. The carpet cleaning industry refers to perchloroethylene as “perc”, a substance that can be damaging to the human body when the vapors are inhaled.
Naphthalene can have harmful effects on the nervous system. Research reveals that the fumes emitted by the chemicals can result to cancer, liver damage, loss of appetite, dizziness, disorientation, sleepiness and nausea. If you do get your carpet cleaned, make sure the ventilation is good.
Besides toxicity, another disadvantage of low moisture and zero residue solution is its inability to clean the carpet thoroughly. The chemicals can clean the surface, but they often don’t penetrate deeply for thorough deep carpet cleaning. (It may turn out to be a good thing, if the chosen chemical agents happen to be toxic and have not been properly cleared out.)
In comparison, hot water extraction or the steam carpet cleaning will deep clean the carpet. The method is effective in eliminating bacteria, dirt, skin cells and other debris that have sunken to the bottom of the carpet fiber.
Smart customers recognize the dangers that toxic fumes from chemicals can inflict on health and the environment. While adults may be able to stomach the toxicity and recover, the effects on children and pets can be dire (see this article). If you are hiring a carpet cleaner, be careful with their definitions of “green.”
Don’t hesitate to ask them about the types of cleaning chemicals used, for both cleaning the carpet, and for clearing out stains.
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