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How Eco Friendly Are Carpet Cleaning Machines?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 31 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Carpet Cleaning Machine Carpet Cleaner

In our article on eco-friendly carpet cleaning we looked at the different substances that can be used to clean carpets, assessing the extent to which these substances can harm the environment. In this article we take eco-friendly cleaning a stage further, looking specifically at carpet cleaning machines to assess their environmental performance.

Eco-Consciousness and Modern Living

There's no doubt that using a carpet cleaning machine will be less eco-friendly than getting on your hands and knees and scrubbing, but there comes a point when you have to resort to machines. If you are a tenant and moving out of a rented property a carpet cleaning machine can be a good investment that helps you to get your deposit back.

For many people it makes more financial sense to hire a carpet cleaner every now and then because it will clean the whole house in less than a day, with less mess, and probably delivers a better result than traditional methods. The time saved can then be spent earning more money and that still makes more sense to many people than slaving away in search of eco-credentials.

Reducing the Need for a Carpet Cleaning Machine

Firstly there are many ways that you can reduce the need for cleaning carpets so that the need for a carpet cleaning machine is reduced. Make sure that there are mats at every door to the house and enforce a 'shoes off' policy for the family. Friends and other guests will not baulk at being asked to take their shoes off either so ask them to comply as well.

Use rugs in areas where there's a lot of floor traffic. They can be taken up and cleaned, washed and dried outside with a minimum of fuss. Frequent vacuuming, particularly with a good cyclone cleaner with a pollen filter, will also reduce the number of times a carpet cleaning machine is required. Most importantly, get to grips with stains and marks as soon as accidents happen.

How Carpet Cleaning Machines Work

Most carpet cleaning machines work in two phases. The first is to inject heated water, or sometimes steam, along with a cleaning ingredient (more about that later), into the carpet and brush it in to agitate dirt and stains. In the second phase the machine passes over the cleaned areas sucking up the water along with the dirt.

Some cleaners do the two phases together, so the dirt is sucked up immediately it has been loosened, others leave the cleaning solutions to soak in and do the second phase later. Regardless of which method is used there is then a drying phase where the same machine goes over the carpet again, vacuuming and heating to leave a carpet which should be dry and usable within 24 hours.

Eco-Friendly Concerns

When you do need to use a carpet cleaning machine make sure that you pick up one that doesn’t use chemicals like perchloroethylene or naphthalene. Many carpet cleaning firms are now touting their eco-friendly credentials but make sure you check what's going into the cleaning solution.

All cleaning machines use electricity and assuming you have made sure the cleaning solutions are benign that's probably the worst aspect of using them from the environmental aspect. There is water use as well and although we in the UK are now beginning to realise what a precious resource water is, it's unlikely that there's a big difference between the amount of water used by a carpet cleaning machine and the amount that you would use if you cleaned the carpets by hand.

Keep Carpet Cleaning in Check

In conclusion, from an eco-friendly point of view try to minimise the use of a carpet cleaning machine as much as possible. When you do use one, make sure you use natural cleaning solutions.

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