Last updated on July 10th, 2008 at 02:02 pm
Q: I am in dire need to get my carpets cleaned as my son is starting to crawl and I don’t want him on the carpets before they are cleaned. I know most companies that come out to clean carpet use harsh chemicals. Can you give me a “cheat sheet” or tips of things to ask to make sure I am getting the safest for my son when I am calling some of the carpet cleaning companies.
Since we have gotten this question before I thought it was a good time to talk about it! Carpet is a tricky thing. Everyone walks all over it, stuff spills, dust, dirt, pets… and then your precious baby learns to crawl and you are repulsed at the very thought of their little baby hands all over it. I get it. I’ve cringed along with you. First things first: You will never get your carpet as clean as you think it is. Carpet is just a magnet for gunk and it stays in there and gets under it and it will always be a source of filth. However, no one lives in a sterile environment (unless you live in my mother in-laws house in which case… I would be comfortable having open heart surgery on her kitchen counter – it’s that clean) so a little dirt isn’t going to hurt your little baby bean. But if it’s time for a good cleaning here are a few things to think about when hiring a professional.
- Once you’ve cleaned, considering not letting people wear outside shoes on areas of your carpet that the baby plays on. I know you don’t want to be one of those people, but it can be done tastefully.
- Commercial carpet cleaning solutions use perchloroethylene, a dry cleaning additive which can cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea, kidney and liver damage. Fun! They also contain naphthalene, which is both neurotoxic and a possible human carcinogen, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Ask if they can use a cleaning solution that uses plant-derived ingredients, and turn your nose up at solvent-based cleaners with ingredients like butoxy-ethanol and propoxy or butoxy diglycol ethers. They get released right into the air. Bi-O-Kleen makes carpet solutions that are made with safer ingredients.
- Instead of steam cleaning your whole carpet, which can aid the release of all the gross chemicals its already been pre-treated with (like stain sealants and moth-proofing), consider doing some safe home spot cleaning and giving it a thorough vacuum.
For more about the above information and some great home carpet cleaning tips and recipes check out this article from The Green Guide.
Q: I was recently told that all infant and children’s pajamas are treated with flame retardant. Is this true? Is it a law or are just some nationally recognized brands treated?
Not all infant and children’s pajamas are treated with flame retardants. But some are… although not in the way you might imagine. The CPSC says “less than 1% of either polyester or cotton sleepwear garments are treated with flame retardant chemicals”. But that doesn’t mean flame retardants aren’t in there. The bottom line is most children’s sleep clothes made of synthetic fabrics will contain flame retardant chemicals either by way of the woven fabric used to make the pajamas or applied after they are made. However the CPSC has rigorous guidelines regarding flame retardants on children’s clothing so in most cases, they don’t pose a significant health threat. Flame resistant chemicals bond to the fabric and are “quite stable” but they use chlorine and bromine to do it. Synthetic clothing is less breathable and can lead to overheating and rashes, which is another reason some might choose to avoid them. Additionally, they can pose a negative impact on the environment during its manufacturing since it requires petrochemicals. If you’d rather choose something else, choose cotton, snug-fitting pajamas. Even better, choose organic snug-fitting pajamas. This article in The Green Guide (again! I love that site) has a full explanation. Another good one: Green Mom, Chemical Free Sleepwear.
Personally, I have a hard time finding organic cotton pajamas so I rely on the cute snug fitting ones found at Old Navy. If anyone has organic ones they like, send us your finds!
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