Eco-Friendly Carpet Cleaning in Dallas - Fort Worth
By Teresa McUsic
Most of us have to face our dirty carpets at some point each year, but there are many green alternatives to what can be a chemically-laden process. Both professional and home recipes can knock that dirt and most stains out of your carpet without compromising the environment. And the cost is typically the same as using the toxic stuff.
Bruchard Lewis, owner of Unique Carpet Cleaning in Dallas, has used nothing but green products since he launched his steam cleaning business in 2009. “I committed to do green only because of my health and my clients’ health,” he said. Lewis said his non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning products can be just as effective, but take more effort to do the job. “I have to work a lot harder to provide a clean carpet,” he admits. “The products are not as strong and powerful as normal cleaning agents. I have to dwell a little longer to get good results.” (Bruchard Lewis photo: Unique Carpet Cleaning)
Dalworth, a large carpet cleaner in the Metroplex, says it uses cleaning products that are non-toxic, dye and perfume free, and contain no VOCs, phosphates or other hazardous materials, as well as being biodegradable and most are environmentally safe, according to a spokesman. Some products for harsh stains require chemical cleaners, he said.
The national carpet cleaning chain ChemDry, a division of Home Depot, uses carbonating cleaning bubbles instead of chemicals to remove dirt. The company claims it uses a fraction of the water of other services, as well.
Zerorez, a Dallas carpet and surface cleaner in Dallas since 2007, goes a step further in its green process by using a patented non-toxic formula for cleaning that allows the cleaner to remove 100 percent of its product when it cleans, said John Hopkins, owner. “Our pre-spray and cleaning fluids have no detergent,” he said. “Most carpet cleaners only get out 75 percent of what they put in, which means spots come back that are a source for bacteria and viruses. We get it all out, so spots do not come back.” (Zero Rez Logo - Zero Rez Dallas)
Simple Green has a line called The Naturals® that includes Simple Green Carpet Cleaner. However, "Simple Green cautions the consumers about claims made by some companies. 'Natural' is not a standardized or regulated term. That is why we don’t call our product ingredients natural – we more correctly call them naturally-derived. The reason for any man-made modifications to a natural source can be to reduce the irritancy of an ingredient, draw forth that portion of a natural ingredient that does the cleaning task, or eliminate portions of natural ingredients that do bad things like spoil." (Simple Green Logo - Simple Green.com)
Consumers should be on the lookout for “green-washing” when choosing their carpet cleaner by making sure the products used are truly non-toxic and eco-friendly.
But all the local carpet cleaners said there are no effective green products for certain stains caused by pets and humans. Consumers have to make the choice at cleaning whether to use detergents or toxic cleaners to remove stains, which are in the fibers and often the pad below the carpet.
When choosing a carpet cleaner, here are some things to watch for:
- Avoid the toxins in many carpet cleaners, especially the dry cleaning agent, perchloroethylene, also known as “perc,” and naphthalene. Both are possibly carcinogenic, according to government regulators.
- Look for certified green products with a Green Seal logo. The blue and green seal of approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute, (www.carpet-rug.org) is from a trade association that uses independent labs to test carpet products for environmental safety. The Green Good Housekeeping Seal also can be seen on non-toxic carpet cleaners. Other green product testers include the Organic Materials Review Institute (www.omri.org) for organic production or processing. and NAMSA (www.namsa.com ).
- There are green cleaning solutions available for do-it-yourself home use that can be used in carpet cleaning machines and for spot application. Brand names include Seventh Generation Carpet Cleaner, SimpleGreen, Bi-O-Kleen, Capture, AFM SafeChoice and NatureClean. These products are available at whole food and natural health stores or ordered online.
- Consider home-made solutions for carpet cleaning. Salt can be used for mud, dirt and red wine; club soda for coffee stains; and cornstarch or cornmeal for grease. For odors, sprinkle baking soda and let it sit overnight, then vacuum. Direct sunlight also works as a deodorant.
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Teresa McUsic is an Arlington-based writer focused on consumer, environmental and health issues for a number of local and national publications. Her column, The Savvy Consumer, appears in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She can be reached at TMcUsic@aol.com