Carpets. Ugh. I don’t know you but I hate them, yet it seems hard to avoid them. Everyone has at least area rugs, and some of us whole rooms with wall to wall carpeting.
The thing about carpets is that they trap dust, dust mites, and any pollution brought into your home (lawn chemicals, animal feces, or just anything you could have stepped on). They can also be the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. All of these pollutants can trigger skin irritations and breathing problems.
Add to all that the harmful chemicals in conventional carpet cleaning products. Most cleaning products emit VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. The EPA defines VOCs as gases from certain solids or liquids found in products such as paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides (source). And their health effects can range from headaches to to cancer.
Green Cleaning for Carpets
So how do you avoid potential harmful toxins while trying to keep your carpets clean? Well, make your own natural cleaners, of course!
Before vacuuming sprinkle some baking soda mixed with a few drops of essential oils–my favorites are tea tree or rosemary. Wait at least 15 minutes to vacuum. Baking soda helps deodorize and helps the vacuum pick up everything easier. The essential oils aren’t just for added fragrance, they can be used to sanitized and even naturally prevent/kill fleas.
I have two dogs, Roxie and Peanut the doxies, so regularly washing my carpets is a must.
- For light cleaning forgo any soap or detergent and use only hot water, you’ll be surprised how effective just water is
- For medium to heavy cleaning try adding equal parts water and white distilled vinegar. This is only if your carpets are soiled with dirt and not other kinds of stain as vinegar will only further set the stain
- For heavy duty cleaning and/or stained carpet I use hot water, a squirt of castille soap, and a squirt of vodka. Never mix castille soap and vinegar
I have to clarify that most steam-vacuums recommend against using anything other than their suggested cleaner, and it may void your warranty. I rather have a voided warranty than to be sniffing phthalates, but that’s just me.
The best solution against stains is to act immediately by blotting–never scrubbing. But if the stains are old here some suggestions
- Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of white vinegar. Mix together into a paste and apply to the stain. Let dry and then vacuum to clean up. (Source: Rethink Simple.)
- For pet urine and food stains my favorite spot remover is Bac-Out. This cleaner uses natural enzymes cultures to attack organic stains, it’s biodegradable and completely nontoxic. It can be your for three easy payments… I know I sound like TV ad but ask my husband I am a faithful Bac-Out user, it even made my list for the Top 10 Essential Items for Green Cleaning.
Other Useful Tips:
- Use only HEPA filters in your vacuums (like this one)
- Vacuum as frequently as possible
- Clean spills right away to prevent stains
- Open a window for at least 5 minutes a day (read more about improving indoor air quality here)
There you have it. You can have clean carpets without the use of harmful chemicals. Well, just think how much time your kiddos spend so close to the ground. They are definitely worth switching to green cleaners, don’t you agree?
Looking for more green cleaners?
This is the perfect book just for that, in fact it is my favorite book. Packed full of nontoxic, easy to make, green cleaner recipes. Heather Dessinger has taken out the hassle out of trying lots of recipes, sometimes with no success. Every recipe works, and works well. From citrus all-purpose spray to mold and mildew remover, this book has every recipe you’ll need. Learn more HERE.