Steam cleaning your carpets is one of the most toxic things you can do to your home because of the chemical perchloroethylene contained in most commercial carpet cleaning solutions. But for the do-it-yourselfer, there is a simple, natural alternative for green carpet cleaning.
Perchloroethylene, or PERC, is a known carcinogen, and often makes people feel dizzy and short of breath durring and right after it has been applied to carpets. Worse, however, is the fact that it clings to carpet fibers and remains in the home long after the carpets start getting dirty again. It can be especially bad for young children who spend a lot of time on the floor, close to the carpet.
Thankfully, you can easily make your own non-hazardous cleaning solution with just vinegar and water. Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water with a few drops of your favorite essential oil—lemongrass and eucalyptus are great options—and use the solution in any rented or purchased home steam cleaner. The vinegar helps lift stains and is a natural antibacterial agent and the essential oils deodorize your carpets naturally.
For more stubborn stains you can try a higher ratio of vinegar to water, or pre-treat the stains with a mixture of equal parts natural dish or laundry soap and baking soda. Allow the soap mixture to stand on the stain for a few minutes before cleaning with the vinegar and water in the steam cleaner for best results.
Always be sure to test a small patch of carpet with these or any other cleaners in an inconspicuous spot (like under the sofa or in a closet) before treating your whole rug.
image by by Janine