How to Clean Carpets without Dangerous Chemicals
November 14, 2012
By Healthy Child Staff
One of the most frequently asked question we get at Healthy Child Healthy World is “How can I keep my carpets clean?” It’s possible to keep carpets clean and green, but it takes some work and simple steps to maintain carpets every day. The healthiest homes have carpets that have not been treated with toxic chemical cleaners. Here’s a collection of the best tips we’ve seen for keeping carpets clean and green – or avoiding carpet all together.
- Avoid carpet if you can
- Essentially, carpets are giant traps for dirt, hair, insects, wine, juice and more. Keeping the floors bare while using rugs makes your home easier to clean. That said, carpeting can make a room a special place to hang out. Think carefully about whether a room needs carpeting or whether you can find another solution.
- Take off your shoes
- As much as 85% of the dirt in our homes comes in on our shoes and pet paws. That means pesticides, pollutants and dirt are making their way onto your carpets from shoes. It will go a long way to keeping carpet clean to have family members and guests take off their shoes before entering your home.
- If going shoeless is not acceptable to family members, suggest that they wear house shoes (that don’t go outside), slippers or socks.
- Vacuum two or more times per week.
- Frequent vacuuming helps reduce the level of dust mites, which trigger asthma and allergy attacks. It also means getting rid of surface dirt on carpets before it has a chance to get ground in. A vacuum cleaner with strong suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA filter, so the dirt and dust won’t get blown back out in the exhaust, is best. Go back and forth over the same spot several times, especially in high traffic areas, to get all of the dirt and dust out of your carpet!
- Take care also to vacuum thoroughly along walls and carpet edges because dirt and dust accumulates there.
- Clean up spills on carpets immediately to prevent stains.
- Soak up liquid spills by covering them with clean white (or light-colored) towels or paper towels.
- Scrape sticky substances off carpets with a spatula or spoon. Don’t rub the spill. That will damage carpet fibers and make the stain spread.
- To clean the stain, mix 1 cup warm water and 1/2 teaspoon mild liquid soap, such as dishwashing liquid or fine fabric detergent. Apply a small amount, blot by pressing a clean white towel into the carpet and lift. Then repeat the process until the stain is removed.
- Don’t scrub. Be patient. After stain is removed, rinse the area with a solution a few teaspoons of white vinegar to one cup water and blot with another clean towel.
- Use household ingredients to clean carpet stains.
- Club soda removes red wine stains.
- Use an ice cube to harden gum and candle wax stains on carpet, then scrape off.
- Sprinkle greasy carpet stains with baking soda, corn starch or corn meal. Let stand six hours or overnight. Then vacuum. Mix 1/3 cup vinegar with 2/3 cup warm water and apply to the stain. Then blot with a clean towel and repeat until the stain comes clean.
- Steam clean your carpets every six months.
- Steam cleaning will make your carpets super clean! You don’t need to use special detergents on carpet. A simple mixture of vinegar and water will do the trick.
- Ventilate well during and after carpet cleaning. To prevent mold growth and speed drying time, keep windows open and use fans.
How do you keep your carpets clean? Please share your tips with us!
July 15, 2014
To help explain the potential kid's health impacts of electronics and wireless devices, we reached out to our advisor Dr. Leo Trasande … More ›