Carpet cleaning is a mandatory household practice especially in Singapore. The weather is mostly warm and dry hence a lot of dust settling on the carpets. Over time, there has been concern about the safety of babies where carpet cleaning is concerned. This wasn’t a common concern in the past because people manually cleaned their carpets with home made products. To the naked eye, carpet cleaning is a safe practice that gets rid of dirt. However, one has to look beyond the stain, dirt and smell removal onto the detergents and products used in the process.
Crawling and teething children, when placed on the carpets are bound to inhale whatever fume is emitted and touch and lick the chemicals still in the carpet.
Studies show that there is an entire Eco system that lives in carpets. Living organisms that are very harmful to babies can be found in carpets too. A carpet can host mold, bacteria, fungi and even insects. They gain easy access to the body of a child who is laying, sitting or crawling on the carpet and can pose immense healthy risks.
1. What Makes Carpet Cleaning a Health Hazard to Babies
Carpet cleaning has over the years been found to pose some health risks especially to babies. One is highly advised to ensure that the products and chemicals used are Eco friendly and child friendly. People blindly go for strong products thinking that they are the best in stain removal. Unfortunately, these same products pose the highest risks when inhaled, touched and tasted. They are mostly known to be most active during cleaning to a few hours after cleaning.
2. Destructive Ingredients
The main culprits to harmful carpet cleaning is foams, dry powders, chemicals and carpet shampoos. These stay trapped in the carpet or evaporate into the air gradually. If the house or room that the carpet is in isn’t well aerated, the residents are likely to inhale it and fall ill. Spot removers are especially harmful as they contain ingredients such as; acids, fragrances, disinfectants, lye, formaldehyde and pesticides. However, it is sometimes impossible to know all the ingredients used on spot removers because companies withhold some information. Steam cleaning is the most common and favorable method of carpet cleaning. It is fast, thorough and easiest to dry as opposed to using water. However, steam cleaned carpets are highly likely to create mold problems. This can lead to the child developing breathing problems especially if the carpet was not thoroughly cleaned and dried.
3. What to Consider while Hiring Carpet Cleaners
With all these dangers and risks highlighted, one needs to be extremely careful. Keeping your carpet clean is mandatory but there are some special measures that one can take to ensure that the risks are reduced or completely eliminated. When hiring a carpet cleaning company, ensure that their ingredients are 100% Eco and baby friendly. You can directly ask them or request for the list of ingredients that is contained in their products. You can also do a thorough background check to view their customers reviews. A company that has a website and physical address is better for when you need to make a personal visit. It is also important to have them wash your carpet outdoors away from children. Ensure that you also keep it outdoors few hours after washing to get rid of the fumes and for the ingredients to completely evaporate into the air before bringing it in.
4. Safe and Cheap Carpet Cleaning Options
Although most people prefer professional carpet cleaning that includes the use of chemicals and other harsh ingredients, it isn’t the only way out. You can opt for the old fashioned but safe way of using natural ingredients. The safety of your child is paramount hence making this the best choice. You can also choose to go the natural way up until your child grows up.
a) Vinegar and Water
Vinegar is widely used for stain removal. It was also a common DIY ingredient in carpet cleaning detergents in the past. Apart from stain removal, it also disinfects hence an ideal option where children are involved. Take a spray bottle and fill it with vinegar and an equal amount of water in it. Spray it all over the carpet and especially so where there are stains. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes. By this time, the dirt and stains would have loosened up and raised to the surface. Use a soft scrub brush and natural soap jelly to thoroughly clean the carpet. This leaves your carpet clean and most importantly safe for your child.
b) Baking Soda
Another child friendly method of thoroughly cleaning the carpet is by the use of baking soda. Sprinkle a generous amount of it on to the carpet. Sprinkle water using a spray bottle and let it sit overnight. You can vacuum it off the next day. You can use a soft brush to scrub the stained bits of the carpet. The baking soda gets rid of stubborn stains as well as odors. You can dry off the excess water using towels, vacuum cleaner or simply air it outside.
c) Steam Cleaning
Unlike the professional steam cleaning that involves the use of chemicals, acids and other non child friendly ingredients you can go for home safe steam cleaning. Put pure clean water in your steamer without any detergents and run it over your carpet. The intense heat that is ommited by the steamer will get the stains from the bottom of the carpet all the way up to the surface. Pass the steamer over to the carpet overlapping each stroke to ensure that every inch is worked on. If your carpet is very dirty and badly stained, you can add a cup of vinegar to every 2 gallons of water. It will get rid of the stains and also eliminate the odors trapped in the carpet.
d) Essential Oils
If you want a sweep of fresh air all through the house then try the essential oil solution. In this case, mix 6 quarts of water (hot), a cup of white vinegar, castile soap, lavender oil and grapefruit extract. The quantities depend on the size of your carpet. This concoction will not only sanitize your carpet but also leave it smelling fresh and clean.
Not all carpet cleaning methods are safe for babies. Their immune systems are not as strong as that of an adult hence require special care. You can reduce the dangers 100% by ensuring that you only use safe ingredients and natural products.
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