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How Toxic are Carpet Cleaning Chemicals?

Published: July 17, 2014

Chemical-based commercial cleaners can be extremely toxic, especially to small children and pets. The following are common chemicals used in carpet and other cleaning products.

Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), common in detergents and disinfectants; suspected hormone disruptors. Ammonia is poisonous when swallowed, extremely irritating to respiratory passages when inhaled and can burn the skin on contact. Antibacterial cleansers containing triclosan may be contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant germs. Butyl cellosolve (aka butyl glycol, ethylene glycol monobutyl) is poisonous when swallowed and a lung-tissue irritant. Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite), an all-purpose whitening agent, can irritate the lungs and eyes and in waterways can become toxic organochlorines. Diethanolamine (DEA) can combine with nitrosomes (often-undisclosed preservatives) to produce carcinogenic nitrosamines that penetrate skin. Fragrance frequently contains phthalates, chemicals linked to reproductive abnormalities and liver cancer in lab animals and to asthma in children. Phosphates soften water for detergents but contribute to algae blooms in our waterways, which can kill off fish populations. Sodium hydroxide, found in drain, metal and oven cleaners, is extremely irritating to eyes, nose and throat and can burn those tissues on contact. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a common sudsing agent, can penetrate the skin and cause contact dermatitis.

Greenway Carpet Care is available in several locations throughout Florida and North Carolina. They offer non-toxic carpet and rug cleaning, and upholstery cleaning that is completely safe for your family and pets.

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