This Is the Healthiest Way to Clean Your Carpets

A cleaner, safer home is just moments away.

For decades, carpets have battled a reputation for exacerbating health concerns such as asthma and allergies, contributing to their decline in popularity. Because they can trap dust, mold, pet dander, and pollutants, they typically require substantial upkeep to healthfully maintain. Unfortunately, standard carpet cleaners present their own range of health concerns. In fact, the side effects of many carpet cleaners are more serious than the issues they prevent.

Rutgers University published one particularly troubling case study, detailing the story of a 42-year-old asthmatic woman that hired a professional team to clean and deodorize her home carpets while she was out. Upon returning home, she suffered an asthma attack and seizure, then fell unconscious. Her tox screens revealed that she had been exposed to dangerously high levels of sodium tripolyphosphate (or TSP), as well as DPGME. According to the CDC, DPGME, an organic solvent, can cause dizziness, drowsiness, eye irritation, respiratory distress, and central nervous system issues.

So, how can we keep our carpets clean while preserving our health? The National Center for Healthy Housing determined that the optimal solution is vacuuming once to twice per week using a HEPA filtration vacuum. In addition, people should supplement this method with dry vapor steam cleaning at least once to twice per year. A HEPA vacuum can reduce airborne fine particles by 50 percent after just four minutes cleaning a 10-square foot space. For deeper cleans, use a dry steam cleaning method. The high temperature of this particular method (typically over 245 degrees Fahrenheit) kills mildew, mold, mites, and a range of airborne allergens.

Finally, be sure to spot-clean any spills as they occur. Use a homemade solution of baking soda, white vinegar, and organic dish soap for optimal results. This means that, when it's time for a thorough clean, you won't need chemical-based solutions to get the job done.

Carpets tend to bear the brunt of our not-so-spotless lifestyles. However, committing to a regular carpet cleaning plan can keep them cleaner, and the whole family healthier. And when you want to keep every part of your house safer, make sure to take proper precautions with the 50 Deadliest Items in Your Home!

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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