I have a love-hate relationship with carpet. I love that my feet don't get cold when I get out of bed in the morning. I love how I don't fall tumble weeds of cat fur in the corners. I hate that this means that the fur is sitting deep inside the carpet - taunting me when I vacuum. Years ago I had read that using a carpet cleaner in a powder form would reduce the friction and static of the particles stuck in your carpet, making it easier to suck up.
Traditional carpet cleaners come into two forms, either a foam or a powder. Foam carpet cleaners are sprayed onto carpets and then wiped away with a cloth or with a wet vac. They contain an extremely long list of hazardous ingredients including: ammonium hydroxide, polyacrylates, methylchloroisothiazolinone, propane, isobutane, and of course - fragrance. Powder carpet cleaners are sprinkled onto carpets and then sucked up with a vacuum cleaner. The list of hazardous ingredients is just as long as foam carpet cleaners and while they contain a lot of the same ingredients they also include: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and filler. FILLER? This is just another way for ingredients to be hidden under a generic term, similar to fragrance.
Your risk of exposure is in the application of both products. With foam cleaners the concern is vapors becoming airborne, while with powder cleaners it is fine particles becoming airborne. Skin exposure can occur from tracking powder throughout the home and from residue leftover on the carpet after you are finished cleaning. Your vacuum will also become contaminated withe products and could be transferred to other areas, increasing your exposure each time you clean. In both product types, exposure can lead to respiratory issues, skin and eye irritation and triggering of allergies.
There are products on the market like Arm and Hammer with a smaller ingredient list and while it is a vast improvement they still contain fragrance, which is the black hole of hazardous ingredients. An easy way to reduce your exposure and create a healthy home is to make your own carpet cleaner.
DIY Carpet Cleaner
What You Need
1 cup baking soda
5 drops of our favourite essential oil (buy here)
What To Do
Place baking soda and essential oil into a glass jar with a lid. Mix well to combine the essential oil. Sprinkle onto your carpet, allow to sit for 5 minutes and then vacuum as your normally would. For a typical sized bedroom I have found that I use 1/3 cup of the mixture. Once a quarter follow the same process and then follow up by using a steam cleaner on the carpets.
Bonus is that you can use it as a mattress cleaner too! Cleaning your mattress gets rid of dead skin and any mites that might be living off of them. Sprinkle the top of your mattress with your homemade powder, let sit for 5 minutes and then vacuum it off. When picking your essential oil for a mattress cleaner think about scents that are calming and can aid in sleep. Make sure you steer clear of ones like peppermint that aid in waking you up. Don't forget to clean the sides and bottom of your mattress too.
Do you make your own carpet and mattress cleaner? What is your recipe?
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