Just How Safe Are Carpet Cleaning Chemicals for People and Pets?


Ask Which Chemicals Are Present

Like many other commercial cleaners out there, carpet cleaning chemicals contain ingredients that are not safe for consumption. For most people, that’s not a problem – it’s a no brainer that you won’t be licking your carpets after they get cleaned. But what if you have pets or small children? Is having your carpet cleaned safe when you can’t guarantee that they won’t come into contact with the chemical residue? Here are some facts to know.

There are some chemicals that should not be used at all in areas where humans will be living or working. The impact on the air quality alone is bad for adults, but there are extra risks for pets and children. It is absolutely okay to ask a professional cleaner what chemicals their products contain. The chemicals you need to avoid include:

  • Sodium bisulfate, Sodium carbonate, and Sodium hydroxide
  • Glycol Ethers
  • Propane, Butane, or Isobutane
  • Chloride
  • Hydrofluoric acid
  • Nitrilotriacetate acid
  • Tributyl Tin
  • Perchloroethylene

If these chemicals are breathed in or come into contact with a person’s or animal’s skin, they can cause major irritation.

Carpet Cleaning Chemicals and Disease

There is very limited evidence to support the idea that being around cleaning chemicals can cause Kawasaki Disease; however, it’s important to know that there is speculation regarding the link between the two. There is also proof that long-term exposure to certain harmful cleaning chemicals can increase a child’s risk of heart disease and cancer.

The worst culprits for this concern are typically carpet cleaners that foam or harden into a vacuumed layer. These products leave residue behind on your carpet, and when children or pets crawl through the residue, it can end up in their mouths, eyes, or other orifices. Powders are the second most concerning carpet cleaner chemical, as they are easy to inhale and come into contact with the skin and eyes.

Carpet Cleaning Chemicals Are Regulated

While not every company in every state or country has to follow the regulations, there are regulations in place to ensure that carpet cleaning chemicals are safe for households with babies and children. Specifically, the EPA and the Carpet and Rug Institute will certify a product as safe for use around people and animals. If you aren’t sure if a cleaner will be safe for your home, look for the certification information. This indicates that the chemicals have been tested and cleared for use, and have also been shown to still be effective cleaning agents.

Cleaning Your Carpet is Still Important

Not using any cleaners on your carpet at all is not a better solution. Mildew, mold, and dust mites that can grow in dirty carpets can be just as harmful to the health of pets and children. Be sure to choose a chemical or a professional that is certified safe for use around people and animals.

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