Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can Carpet Cleaning be Green or Eco Friendly?

A little bit of a departure from my usual spiritual musings, but an important topic none-the-less. Over the past year, my guy and I have been making the move to change out all of our cleaning products to green / eco friendly brands. There's lots of timely and Earth focused reasons for this, but there are some personal health reasons as well. I get migraines, which are triggered by environmental and chemical factors like cigarette smoke, perfumes and cologne, and sometimes even shampoo. My guy has allergies, which were narrowed down to dust mites when he was young, but I often wonder if there's more that makes him sneezey in our apartment.

Migraines are a topic I intend to address at another time with a post; there is plenty to discuss, for sure. Needless to say, migraine is a neurological disease, which gets passed generation to generation. If you have the disease, it gets triggered by environment, chemicals, food, hormones, lack of sleep, lack of magnesium, lots of things. It manifests outwardly as headaches, but also involves auras (visual disturbances), nausea and/or vomiting, inability to deal with light or sound or smells, just to name a few. I've encountered all of these in my own experiences with migraines.

So ... when we re-signed our lease for our apartment, it came with this little deal where we could get our carpets cleaned for free. We've lived there over four years at this point, and the carpets, well they are cream. At this point, they are dirty. Over the last week, I've called the rental office back to inquire about the carpet cleaner and was told it was a small business that cut the complex a good rate for a standard carpet cleaning.

OK, something about this discussion set bells off in my head, as I started to wonder what kinds of cleaning products this small business might use. A quick search reveals that the predominant carpet cleaning ingredients are "perchloroethylene, a notorious dry cleaning additive known to cause dizziness, fatigue and nausea if ingested or inhaled. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also links perc to kidney and liver damage. Another chemical, naphthalene, a solvent manufactured from coal tar, is considered toxic to the human central nervous system and a possible carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."

Yikes! Even if we didn't have any other concerns about health in our household, I wouldn't willingly let someone bring those two toxins into our home!

So I've done some more searching and it looks like lots of sites recommend that you just use plain old super hot water to clean your carpets, which can be done by renting a "Rug Doctor" from the local supermarket. Or there are mix-at-home solutions that involve using ammonia, and other less toxic products. At $19.99 for 24 hours, this seems like a deal to me. And, we'd have control over what is being brought into our apartment.

At this point, after making the conscious choice to remove chemical cleaners, and make food choices that avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (another trigger), I really feel like I need to make sure and pay special attention to everything that goes on in our home because it effects my health. For the last year and half I've been very vigilant, and I've seen it pay off. While the offer of "free" carpet cleaning is enticing, I would rather continue my vigilance and make a choice that is healthy. So, I'll report back on the adventure of steaming my own carpets before the holidays.

To see the update on the carpet cleaning, click here.

1 comment:

mariya dell said...

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