There is something lurking on your new carpet, what is it and what can you do about it?
Know Your New Carpet
What’s in your new carpet and area rugs? Why is it harmful? What can you do about it?
At Barefoot Organic Carpet Care, we know clean and we know healthy! Not only can we help with organic and natural hot steam cleaning for carpet, upholstery, tile and grout, we can even offer green solutions for new carpet too. How?
First, adding carpet or area rugs to your home or replacing old worn out carpet with new carpet is beneficial…
According to thespruce.com and their article The Seven Benefits of Carpet, carpet provides not only style, comfort and a sound barrier, it also provides safety because its not slippery and can help alleviate allergies. Notice the following quote from this article “numerous studies over recent years have consistently shown that carpet is actually more beneficial than hard surface floors for those with breathing difficulty.” In addition, it helps to quiet rooms and carpet tends to be less expensive both on initial purchase and in the long run compared to other flooring options. So be proud of yourself, you made a good carpet investment!
I recently had a friend visit from France and they commented that carpet in America is so thick and lush. So when we get our new carpet with its thick carpet pad soft barefoot texture, we get excited. It might even have that new carpet smell. You may think to yourself, my carpet is new, no reason to clean it. But there can be danger lurking in this new and exciting purchase.
Some people suggest “adding carpet or area rugs to your home or replacing old worn out carpet with new carpet is beneficial…” Let’s see…
What's In Your Carpet & Area Rugs?
Your carpet or area rug may contain something known as VOC’s. We’ve all heard of them. The bad, scary, no good enemies of the healthy home. We hear, “Stay away from them, find low VOC or no VOC products.” … and so we do. But why?
What is a VOC? Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air, a trait known as volatility.
I promise I AM speaking English. To put it simply: some chemicals easily transfer from their original state of a liquid or solid into an airborne gas at room temperature. So, basically, if you can smell chemicals, you’re breathing chemicals! Even after the initial strong odor is gone, you may still be breathing in chemicals or your just used to it.
Why are VOC’s in carpets and area rugs? The most common type of carpet and area rugs that most consumers purchase are synthetic, not organic like wool carpet or seagrass carpet. Synthetic carpet and area rugs are made from nylon fibers with a polypropylene backing. Of the chemicals released from carpet and area rugs, most notable are two; styrene and 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PC). These primarily come from the latex backing used on 95 percent of carpets. The 4-PC chemical is produced as an undesirable product during the manufacturing of styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) latex, an adhesive used to bind carpets. The chemical is among the most frequently occurring semi-volatile organic contaminants emitted by SBR-backed carpets and area rugs and is the major VOC responsible for their “new” smell. The adhesive used to affix the carpet to the floor typically contains benzene and toluene, some of the more harmful VOCs.
Why Is It Harmful?
By now you might be thinking, “Well this can’t be good…” and you would be right! According to the EPA, VOC’s can wreak havoc on our respiratory and nervous systems.
According to this report from the EPA on indoor air quality and VOC’s health effects may include:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
- Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
- Some can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.
Also mentioned in the EPS report are these key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs:
- conjunctival irritation
- nose and throat discomfort
- allergic skin reaction
- Dyspnea (labored breathing)
- declines in serum cholinesterase levels (substance that helps our nervous system work properly)
- Emesis (vomiting)
- Epistaxis (nose bleeds)
It’s a startling reality that while we pay great attention to a balanced healthy lifestyle including diet, exercise, and mindful living, something brand new and ‘clean’ in our home may be hurting us! This is where we can help!
What Can You Do to protect your health?
It is completely normal and good to clean new, ‘clean’ carpets and you should do this right away! Carpet manufacturers recommend airing out new carpet for 72 hours before installation to help with the off-gassing. So you should open your windows and let your carpet breath as soon as it is laid. If you have a natural air purifier or Hepa Filter, run it in the the area of the room where the air will recycle the most. But is that enough?
“…if you can smell chemicals, you’re breathing chemicals!”
Unfortunately, this can be a bit of a placebo approach. This airing out process can help eliminate the odor, but the carpet is still saturated with the toxic chemicals that caused the odors. Even if you can’t smell them, there’s a good chance you are still breathing in the chemical gasses. Only a few chemicals have a strong odor, some are actually odorless.
The Organic, Non-Toxic & Natural Deep Steam Cleaning Approach
The key is to extract as much of the residual chemical as possible. In 2012 the EPA published a study on effective methods for removing these harmful chemicals from new carpets. Their research determined that hot steam extraction was the most effective way to extract these residual chemicals and leave you breathing easier.
We use truck mounted intensely heated steam combined with our 100% organic, non toxic and natural cleaning solutions to soften and loosen a good amount of the excess chemical residues. Ingredients like grapeseed extract is known for its sanitizing properties. Orange peel, lime peel and coconut and corn surfactants break down the water barrier for a deeper clean. Our powerful extraction tools then thoroughly rinse and remove the unwanted moisture leaving your carpets much more safe and healthy.
While our organic and natural cleaning treatment will not change the way your carpet was originally made, it can reduce the toxic gasses in your home. The above study reported off gassing was reduced to up to 75% (from multiple rounds of cleaning). This results in a much healthier, much safer home. To us, that means precious peace of mind!
“Carpet can be beneficial to you…”
Your carpet choice is yours. May we recommend that you install organic carpet in your home in the first place. These can be made from natural wool, natural hemp, natural cotton, natural latex, natural jute or a mixture. You can also purchase natural carpet padding made from wool as well.
Carpet can be beneficial to you. Carpet can provide a slip free surface and a softer place to land in the event of a fall. Carpet helps with insulation (a home with less echos), style (hundreds of patterns, cuts and colors), feel (big difference between playing with your kids on carpet vs. tile), cost savings (according to the IICRC, carpets usually cost less over time than hard surface flooring to purchase, clean and maintain, Health (It’s the biggest air filter in your home), maintenance (You can’t break carpet and it is easily repaired or restretched)
With all of those benefits, you will want your carpet to last a long time and be as clean and safe as possible. That is why Barefoot Organic Carpet Care specializes in getting your carpets clean so that you can have a healthy and happy home.
Power of nature and peace of mind is what we are all about. You know that feeling when you walk barefoot on nice clean carpet? That’s where our name ‘Barefoot’ came from! We want you to experience a clean that makes you want to walk barefoot too! Instead of walking in your home and being greeted by chemical fumes, let us help you feel the peace of mind of a healthy home. After a long day, imagine how nice it is to kick off your shoes, sit in your favorite spot, and wiggle your toes in truly clean and safe carpets. You can breathe a sigh of relief and know that you are truly home.