Zero Res Carpet Cleaning

If you want to avoid chemical residues, the best way to ensure zero res carpet cleaning is not always self-evident. There are some excellent approaches to avoid chemicals altogether, or to eliminate residues after the fact. They are for general carpet cleaning only, and may not be suitable for delicate fibers.

Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners work in two ways:

1. the chemicals in the carpet/upholstery cleaning solutions act as 'magnets' for dirt, and

2. the extraction process physically pulls the chemical and dirt mixture from the carpet. So, they use both chemistry and physics to get at the dirt. However, they include a lot of unnecessary and sometimes toxic chemicals and perfumes.

Commercial High-Power Steam Cleaning

If you can afford it - the most eco-friendly and most effective zero res carpet cleaning method I know of is with a commercial steam cleaning/extraction system applied by a company. These machines do not use chemicals, just high-pressure steam (look for a contractor whose machine is in a truck or trailer). Most of the cleaning power comes from physics. The reason a commercial contractor is better than renting or buying your own machine is that the extraction power is many times stronger that anything you can possible get from a smaller machine that you rent or own.

Home or Rental Machines

If you can't afford to hire someone, then clearly a rented or purchased machine is your next best way to clean carpet.  Of the two, often the rental machines have the strongest extraction power. Because these smaller machines have much less powerful extraction power - you have a couple of options...

1. Use only hot water and 1/3 cup of white vinegar in your cleaning solution, but clean more often - don't allow too much dirt to accumulate in the carpets.  This will increase the likelihood that your carpets will stay clean longer.  This method relies mostly on the extraction process for cleaning, but with a little help from the mild attraction created by the vinegar. 2. Clean your carpet with the most eco-friendly carpet cleaning product you can afford, but always rinse the carpets with the water/vinegar mixture and some hot water. The rinsing step will get rid of any residues that the cleaner might otherwise leave on the carpet fibers, including any strong perfumes. It's always better to rinse the carpets anyways - they will stay cleaner longer.

3. For cleaning small spots, you can often take care of them with a water-dampened microfiber cleaning cloth. Just scrub them with a circular motion and the microfiber should pull up a great deal of the dirt.

4. If the microfiber doesn't quite do the job, look for a product called 'Spot Shot'. It is eco-friendly and a very effective cleaning product. Follow the instructions precisely.

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