While everyone loves the feeling of a carpeted room, cleaning them can be a headache. If you’ve taken it on yourself to clean your carpet and rugs, you may be left with toxic carpet cleaner and other rug conditioning products that need disposal. Today we’re going to look at the harmful chemicals that might make your carpet cleaner toxic, as well as precautions to take during both use and disposal.
Toxic Carpet Cleaning Chemicals
While there’s a wide amount of cleaning products and claims on mildness and strength, the following three chemicals are the most common hazardous products found in carpet cleaners:
- Butoxyethanol: As one of the glycol ethers, Butoxyethanol is used as a solvent in cleaning products. It is a known respiratory irritant and can be acutely toxic during prolonged exposure.
- Naphthalene: Derived from coal tar, this product is a surfactant cleaning agent as well as a pesticide – the primary ingredient in mothballs with its distinctive smell. It is labeled as a possible carcinogenic by the IARC and can cause hemolytic anemia.
- Perchloroethylene: Commonly found in “dry” carpet cleaning products, perchloroethylene (also known as tetrachloroethylene or tetrachloroethene) is toxic in high amounts, especially when breathed in. It can also cause skin irritation due to its degreasing nature.
Precautions to Take During Carpet Cleaner Use and Cleanup
Depending on what method you’re using to clean carpets, different measures may need to be taken. Generally speaking, during both dry and wet methods, the carpet should be vacuumed beforehand. Proper protection, including gloves and a mask, should be worn as per the instructions on your cleaning chemicals. Unless otherwise stated, pets and children should be kept away from the cleaned carpet until it dries. If using a carpet cleaning machine, strain wastewater to avoid clogging the sink – wastewater is generally okay to pour down drains linked to a city’s sewer.
Disposing of Old Carpet and Rug Cleaner
Alongside drain cleaners and Muriatic Acid, carpet cleaners are among the more toxic cleaning chemicals one can have in a household. Your first step when thinking about disposal should be reading the labels of your products to see if they have recommended disposal instructions. You can also contact your local wastewater or waste management agency to see if there are local restrictions on the chemicals these products contain. Learn more about other cleaning products in our blog: Why Certain Cleaning Products are Hazardous.
Depending on the rug cleaner, or if you’re dealing with a large amount of hazardous household products, you may want to drop off your hazardous waste at a local facility. NEDT operates several Household Hazardous Waste Collection Centers in Massachusetts, including options for pick up or community events. Contact us today or call us at 1 (866) 769-1621 to deal with carpet cleaner and more!