In a busy household it’s almost impossible to avoid stains and marks on your soft furnishings, but how do you protect your family from the effects of chemical cleaners? Is it possible to minimise the impact your cleaning will have on the environment?
With a little thought you can take an environmentally sound approach to cleaning rugs and carpets, which won’t compromise your desire for a clean home.
Prevention Beats Cure
It might seem obvious, but keeping the dirt away from your soft furnishings in the first place is the most fundamental part of an eco-friendly approach. Asking your guests to remove their shoes at the door will prolong the life of your carpets and prevent people unwittingly traipsing mud through the house.
It’s important to regularly vacuum rugs; dust and small particles of dirt trapped between the fibres as will mark if the rug becomes wet, causing even a spill of plain water to stain badly.
Watch Those Carpet Cleaning Chemicals
Carpet cleaning chemicals can pollute the environment if they are disposed of incorrectly; wastewater from carpet cleaning requires treatment and filtration to neutralise the contaminants.
Many commercial products also leave a residue in the rug fibres which can remain for some time, exposing your family to harmful toxins. But how can you avoid these risks?
Try the Eco-Friendly Chemical Approach
Eco-friendly cleaning solutions can be easy on your pocket as well as on the environment. You can spot clean stains on rugs and carpets with a home-made solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Keep the mixture in a handy spray container and it will always be ready when the need arises.
Spray the vinegar mix onto stains and leave it for a few minutes to work its magic, before sponging the stain with warm soapy water. For stubborn stains, make a paste from salt, bicarbonate of soda and water. Spread it thickly over the stain and leave it overnight, when the dried mixture can be vacuumed up.
The other approach to eco-friendly cleaning for carpets and rugs is to use mechanical means of stain removal whenever possible. This means lifting the offending mark without resorting to chemical cleaners. For this to work you need a number of classic household hints and tips, but it’ also vital to know what the stain or mark is, so that you can apply the correct remedy.
If you find chewing gum trodden into your carpet, it’s tempting to resort to harsh commercial products to remove it. But an ice cube held over chewing gum will freeze the gum until it can easily be snapped off. Fizzy water provides an excellent dilution for dye-based spills such as wine, orange juice or coffee. After a few minutes the liquid can be blotted up, taking the stain with it.
Salt is another classic remedy for red wine. Remove the bulk of the fluid with paper towel, without pressing, then liberally sprinkle salt over the remainder, wait for it to soak up the red wine, then vacuum it up. It’s important not to let the salt stay for too long or it will fix the stain, making the situation worse.
Use Your Iron for Candle Wax
Don’t panic if a candle drips onto your rug; it’s really not hard to remove. Place a sheet of greaseproof paper over the mark and gently rub a warmed iron over the top. The wax will transfer effortlessly onto the paper, leaving your carpet stain-free. If you don’t have greaseproof paper around a kitchen towel will also work.
Note that you may get wax on the soleplate of the iron, so you need to wipe any residue off onto a rag while the iron is still warm. Alternatively you can wait for it too cool and chip or scrape the wax off afterwards.
Use the Professionals
For wider cleaning of rugs and carpets you might consider hiring a carpet cleaner, or booking professionals to come and tackle your chores. Whichever option you choose, make sure you check the products used are environmentally friendly. There are many non-toxic, baby and pet-friendly options available for professional cleaning machines.
Cleaning Regularly Reaps Dividends
Regular cleaning will increase the life of your rugs and improve the air quality in your home, reducing the impact of any allergies in your family. By adopting methods which are eco-friendly you can enjoy a clean home whilst protecting the environment from harmful substances.