Carpets and rugs are soft and inviting, yet it can take some work to keep them that way. If you have children or pets in the home, the mess can be astronomical. Your carpets absorb dust and dirt from shoes, and spills of food and drinks, quickly becoming a haven for a thriving community of dust mites and bacteria. The carpet also filters allergenic particles from the air, trapping them in the carpet's fibers.
When carpets and rugs get this dirty, even the best vacuum will only remove a fraction of the soil. Yet it seems that there must be a way to get it really clean and treat bacteria, viruses, and other microbes at the same time.
But is carpet cleaning healthy, or could the cleaning solutions used be dangerous for your family?
Every carpet cleaning solution contains chemicals of some kind, but don't panic! Successful cleaning uses acids to neutralize dirt that is a base, or vice versa, to bring your furnishings back to a safe, neutral pH. And acids and bases are chemicals. Even vinegar is a chemical, a mixture of acetic acid and water, and its chemical formula is CH3COOH.
So are carpet cleaning chemicals safe to use in your home? Cleaning products are safe for most people as long as they are used according to their safety instructions. And this holds true for all cleaning products you use.
A professional carpet cleaner will use the correct dilution and will know how to rinse the cleaning solution from the carpet. Ensuring adequate ventilation during drying can air out any VOC emissions as well as prevent mold and mildew growth. VOCs are particularly a concern with home spot removers that tend to have a strong smell and dissolve soil without using detergents. And VOCs may last longer if the room is particularly hot and humid, so ventilation is really key for restoring good indoor air quality quickly after cleaning.
Carpet cleaning may be particularly irritating for asthma and allergy sufferers. You can limit the exposure of carpet cleaning chemicals for them, as well as for children and pets, if you keep them out of the house while the carpet is still damp (for around four hours) after cleaning. This will allow any residue there may be to evaporate and be ventilated out. In any event, Baltimore Carpet & Upholstery recommends limiting contact with carpet while it is still wet. You may slip and fall when walking from wet carpet to hard floors if you are not careful.