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Common Chemicals Used in the Carpet Cleaning Industry

When you hire a carpet cleaning service company to come to your home and improve the look of your plush flooring, you want to know that the chemicals they use will not harm your family, pets, or property. Professional cleaners use a variety of substances and compounds, so it makes sense to ask a particular company what they use before you hire them. However, there are some common ones you should know more about.


Naturally-occurring enzymes use heat as a catalyst to help them break down oils and proteins that accumulate on carpets over time. This is the organic process that works every time you wash anything, and there are no dangerous side effects.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This spot treatment that sometimes gets used is a weak acid, which is not strong enough to cause damage or other difficulties. If a carpet cleaner uses a strong acid, it could damage the flooring and cause problems for skin in the future.

Synthetic Cleaners and Rinses

Ask if the company uses VOC-free or low-VOC chemicals. This stands for volatile organic compounds. They have been shown to emit gasses over time that can negatively impact the health of people who walk across the floor or live in the same house. Things like ENT irritation, skin problems, and even kidney, liver, and nerve damage may result.

Teflon or Protectant Coatings

To help repel stains and dirt in the future, carpet cleaning companies may finish the process with a coating like these. As this is designed to stay on the fibers for a longer amount of time, you should definitely ask what your service provider uses and how safe it is.

Potentially Dangerous Carpet Cleaning Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of known dangerous or carcinogenic chemicals that are sometimes used in cleaning solutions. These can contribute to everything from tumor growth to skin irritation to an increase in asthma-like symptoms.

Some chemicals to avoid include:

  • Glycol ethers like Ethylene Glycol Butyl Ether
  • Hydrofluoric acid
  • Naphthalene
  • Tributyl Tin
  • Sodium bisulfate or hydroxide
  • Propane, isobutene, or butane

Even if a carpet cleaning company claims their solutions are "green" or "eco-friendly," always ask about what that means or what type of chemicals or compounds exist in the systems they use. Companies that cannot or will not tell you either the ingredients or the brand names of their chosen chemicals or solutions may not be the best choice for you.

In the end, a reputable service provider cares not only about the look and feel of your flooring, but also the health and wellbeing of everyone who lives in the home or visits. As more and more companies understand how important it is for consumers to use more healthy, environmentally conscious cleansers, they tend to seek out the best non-toxic solutions. Take your time to find an excellent carpet cleaning company and do the research so you can have complete peace of mind when it comes to the chemicals used by your chosen carpet cleaning firm.

Safe Carpet Chemicals, Carpet Cleaning


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