We’ve seen a few instances of green-washing from certain carpet cleaning service providers, who claim they’re eco-friendly when they really aren’t. So, if you want to make sure your carpets are getting as clean as they can, as green as they can, be sure to follows these tips:
Find the most reputable carpet cleaning service provider with one or more of the following certifications.
Anyone can claim that their carpet cleaning services are green, but they should be able to back up their claims with some type of proof. Currently, there is no certification specifically used to designate a Green Carpet Cleaning service and this list is by no-means absolute or complete. But, if a potential provider is advertising their ‘green’ certification, be sure to ask for some details before hiring them. Here are some of the most-trusted certifications in the carpet cleaning industry:
IICRC – The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification
IICRC-trained technicians are regarded as the very best the industry has to offer. So, be sure to look for an IICRC tech and inquire about his or her experience with green carpet cleaning. There are extensive training resources and classes available to IICRC certified technicians which focus specifically on green carpet cleaning. Cleaning technicians who wish to remain marketable in today’s eco-conscious society are wise to stay on top of the latest green cleaning practices.
Green Seal Certification
Look for Green Seal certified GS-42 Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services, and see if they use GS-37 certified Cleaning Products for Industrial and Institutional Use.
EPA Design for the Environment
DfE certified ingredients have been screened for potential human health and environmental effects. Based on currently available information, EPA predictive models and expert judgment, these designated products contain only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.
CRI SOA – Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval certifies superior carpet cleaning products and equipment.
Some vacuums and cleaning machines can actually do more harm than good to your carpet and can adversely hurt your building’s indoor air quality by throwing particles and VOCs into the air instead of capturing them. Look for cleaning solvents and vacuum equipment that have received the CRI Green Label Seal of Approval.
The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends asking the following additional questions when shopping around for a reputable service provider:
- How long have you been in business?
- What formal training is required for the company’s management and cleaning technicians? Are they all IICRC certified? (They all should have some type of professional carpet cleaning certification.)
- Do you vacuum before deep cleaning the carpet? (All professional cleaners should vacuum before they deep clean the carpet. This not only enhances the effectiveness of deep cleaning, it also minimizes the amount of debris that may end up in waste water.)
- What cleaning solutions and equipment do you use? Do they have a CRI Seal of Approval, or some other form of trusted certification? (All CRI products have been tested to show they do not harm carpets.)
Cleaning carpets professionally usually involves the use of cleaning solutions, stain removers and stain guards that may contain harmful chemicals. If you look up some of the commonly-used chemically-based carpet cleaning solutions you’ll find such toxic goodies as perchloroethylene (a.k.a. PERC), naphthalene, butoxyethanol, nitrilotriacetic, hydrofluoric acid, hydroxyacetic acid, sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide tributyl tin, phenol, formaldehyde and a lot more; none of which are substances you would want anyone to be exposed to, walk around on, ingest or breathe in. Several of these chemicals are known carcinogens, some can trigger mild to severe allergic reactions, and some can even cause permanent damage to internal organs.
Thankfully, there is a strong demand for less harmful, non-toxic cleaning alternatives at both the consumer and industrial level. And now most reputable carpet cleaning services are boasting that their solvents are safe and non-toxic. For example, check out the CRI approved Simple Green carpet cleaner solution which is non-toxic, biodegradable, non-flammable and VOC-compliant. Look for carpet cleaning providers that exclusively use non-toxic, non-hazardous, no-VOC cleaning formulas.
Look for better processes
Be sure to contact the manufacturer of your carpet before you allow any cleaning treatment. You could accidentally void the carpet’s warranty. Be sure to ask the manufacturer about recommended deep-cleaning methods, too. Determine what’s allowed and what’s not.
Hot water extraction (HWE) is the most widely accepted method of deep cleaning carpets, and many carpet manufacturers will only recommend HWE. This method uses pressurized hot water that is spray-injected into carpet pile yarns. In some cases, the water is also mixed with a cleaning solvent. Almost immediately after, the injected water is vacuumed to flush and physically remove soils and excess moisture from the carpet pile. One of the disadvantages of HWE is the potential for very long drying times.
There are also other methods of low moisture carpet cleaning which are accepted by the IICRC such as ChemDry. One of the primary advantages of low moisture methods is the use of less water. This is ideal for those concerned about water conservation, or for customers in humid climates.
Remember, too, that any waste water from the carpet cleaning process needs to be disposed of properly in an authorized sewage discharge point in accordance with state and local laws. It is illegal in most places to dispose of carpet cleaning waste water in storm drains or onto the ground. It is advised to never dispose of cleaning waste water into a septic system.
In today’s world, finding a carpet cleaner truly means more than just finding a name and a good price... What green steps have you taken for your carpet cleaning?
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