Seldom in the cleaning industry will you find a topic that stirs more differing opinions than that of “Green Cleaning”. What is it, does it really get carpet clean, and why is it more expensive? The questions go on and on, so I will try and attack a few of them here from a practical point of view.
Many industry professionals feel that any environmental benefits of green cleaning are negated by the facts that the cleaning supplies are still made in factories that burn electricity, are shipped in plastic bottles, delivered by large fossil fuel burning trucks, and ultimately used in your home by a guy using electricity and a machine that runs off gas.
All these things are true, and to tell you the truth I have no idea if the benefits of green cleaning outweigh the negatives. It would also not surprise me to learn that nobody else does either. Whichever argument you want to support is up to you, but today I want to talk about how it makes your homes environment a more appealing place to live.
Have you ever walked into a hotel room and although the room looks clean there is that overwhelming smell of cleaning chemicals in the air; or how about that annoying smell of glass cleaner that lurks in the air when you’re cleaning the inside of your car? These are the types of issues that Green Cleaning can very successfully make go away. I clean in homes every day, some not so dirty, and some extremely dirty and it is a very rare occasion that I can’t get the carpet or upholstery perfectly clean with green products that have no harsh chemical or perfume smell of any kind. All of the green products I use also leave no undesirable residues behind in your carpet. For the record there are residues that are perfectly OK to leave and cause no undesirable effects. More about those in a future post though.
The whole question of which chemicals can be considered green and which ones can’t is a tricky one right off the bat. Remember I’m a professional carpet cleaner not a chemist or a guy who actually makes soap. That said I’ll do my best to share with you what my research has taught me.
Other than the Federal Governments Leeds Program, which can be quite vague, there is no real binding standard for what qualifies as green. So just because a bottle of soap has a certified green seal on it doesn’t necessarily mean it is any safer than one that doesn’t. In many cases manufacturers can put a “Green” or “Organic” stamp on just about anything without breaking any laws. Fortunately though, I have found all the certified green soaps I have gotten from the major makers of carpet cleaning supplies to be perfectly legitimate.
Most of the major makers of carpet cleaning supplies now offer certified green cleaning supplies. They don’t contain any VOC’s, perfumes, solvents, or other chemicals that many customers find offensive. They clean just fine, do not have objectionable odors, do not aggravate allergies, and leave carpet safe for children and pets to crawl on. Personally, I think these are all huge pluses when it comes to the indoor air quality of my home.
Finally, consumers should be wary of clever marketing schemes designed around scare tactics. Companies use words like: toxic, dangerous, chemical, or unsafe, when describing carpet soap. In the same commercial they will use words like: all natural, organic, environmentally friendly, or certified green. These terms are carefully used to provoke a reaction from you. Remember, words like “toxic” should be used when referring to things like: nuclear waste, raw sewage, poison gas etc Carpet cleaning soap though? Maybe not so much. On the same note, as Dr. Dean Edell used to say “hurricanes and rattlesnakes are all natural, but that doesn’t mean they are good for you.”
The bottom line is, consumers need to ask enough questions until they are satisfied that they have found a reliable professional. Do this and your home will be a clean, healthy place.