You once loved your carpet, but now it’s not looking its best–and maybe it’s even making you sneeze and sniffle. Don’t despair. With the right cleaning practices and products, you can clear the air without filling your house with toxic chemicals. And your old carpet might just win its way back into your heart.
The first step in sustainable carpet care is all about maintenance–keeping dirt outside, vacuuming regularly, and cleaning up stains quickly. But no matter how stellar your housekeeping habits, your floor will need a deep cleaning occasionally. For DIYers, the most common method is hot water extraction. It’s also called steam cleaning (even though no steam is produced). You can also dry clean your floor, which involves sprinkling it with a powder saturated in solvents and/or detergents. You work the powder into the pile by hand or with a machine, then vacuum it up with dirt attached. Since the floor never gets wet, it’s ready for action sooner than a steam-cleaned carpet. Another option is hiring a cleaning company. Traditionally, the pros have used either hot water extraction or dry cleaning. But these days some companies use a system that bubbles up the dirt with carbonated water. They say it reduces the use of both water and cleaning chemicals.