We all find ourselves cleaning more frequently these days. We’re sanitizing hands, washing counters and wiping down the furniture and floors. Just like food, it’s important to know what ingredients are in the cleaners you’re using. Not all products are safe. This is why it’s so important to read and understand the ingredients in your cleaners before you buy. Even “green” or “natural” cleaners can hide harmful toxins because of the lack of regulation behind those labels.
There are four main times when toxic products can affect you.
- If you get some on your skin while using them
- When you inhale the fumes while using them.
- When anyone sits or lies on the carpet and gets some on their skin
- Breathing in the air after cleaning while toxic fumes are still rising.
Children and pets are especially vulnerable because they are so much closer to the carpet and often roll around and lie with their faces buried in the pile. Not only do they inhale dust and carpet fibers, but the fumes from the latest cleaning products used on it. In addition, their lungs are smaller and they have a faster metabolism, so they can be far worse affected than adults.
Here’s the top 3 toxic cleaning ingredients you should be avoiding:
Found in: Many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper. Because of proprietary laws, companies don’t have to disclose what’s in their scents, so you won’t find phthalates on a label. If you see the word “fragrance” on a label, there’s a good chance phthalates are present.
Health Risks: Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. Men with higher phthalate compounds in their blood had correspondingly reduced sperm counts, according to a 2003 study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harvard School of Public Health. Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem. Unlike the digestive system, the skin has no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to organs.
2. Perchloroethylene or “PERC”
Found in: Dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.
Health Risks: Perc is a neurotoxin, according to the chief scientist of environmental protection for the New York Attorney General’s office. And the EPA classifies perc as a “possible carcinogen” as well. People who live in residential buildings where dry cleaners are located have reported dizziness, loss of coordination and other symptoms. The route of exposure is most often inhalation: that telltale smell on clothes when they return from the dry cleaner, or the fumes that linger after cleaning carpets.
Found in: Common in household cleaners and all-purpose sprays
Health Risks: Short-term exposure to high levels in humans is associated with pulmonary edema and severe liver and kidney damage. Chronic exposure in humans is associated with neurological and blood effects, such as nausea, tremor, and anemia. Animal studies have reported reproductive and developmental risks from inhalation exposure.
Here at Buddy’s Carpet Care we use green cleaners that will never put you or your household at risk. We are proud to have the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval which means that everything from our equipment to our cleaning solutions are safe for your family. Click here for a list of certified green cleaners from the CRI that you can trust! Never hesitate to call our office if you’ve got a question about how to clean a stain or material in your home. If Buddy can walk you through how to clean it yourself he’ll be more than happy to do so. We love helping our clients and offer free cleaning estimates – with no pressure or sales pitch. Whenever you’re ready, we’ll be here for you.