Carpets as floor coverings have been around since the Neolithic Age, 7000 BC! Used extensively by wandering nomadic tribes in place of their livestock's hides; and were also dyed with natural colours and painted for tribal display. With the exception of natural fibers like wool, cotton and silk, that have been hand woven or loomed; most carpets of today are manufactured in huge factories, and exclusively made from the heated and spun toxic 'compounds' of the petrochemical industry.
These synthetic carpets are manufactured and pre-treated with many additives; including, the fibers being made with potentially hazardous chemicals; that actively, from the moment of installment, 'out-gas' these foreign chemicals, foreign to your body, for many years to come. These petroleum by-products and synthetics can include-benzene, butane, polypropylene, nylon, acrylic, vinyl and latex, PVC, urethane, and a host of other dangerous and long lasting manmade chemicals.
This type of carpeting is also liberally treated with many so called health and safety features; including, a fire-retardant, artificial dye for coloring, and of course, an anti-microbial agent to prevent microbial growth within the fibers of your carpeting. Unfortunately, those that are sensitive to this invisible and sometimes odorless out-gassing; especially, young children playing on the carpet; or the sick and elderly, including, pregnant women; make up the most 'carpet sensitive' part of our population. And as such, can begin to experience a host of immediate physiological symptoms that can include headaches, nausea and dizziness, and sometimes even, shortness of breath, this, mainly from the asthma and bronchitis sufferers.
In cleaning these types of carpets by adding even more synthetic and toxic chemicals to the mix, only adds to the existing toxic load of the carpeting itself. As the scientific environmental experts agree, they will 'out-gas' for decades to come in your home! Even heat-steam cleaning does not get rid of the chemicals; but, it can certainly clean-out and suck-up the dirt and microbes within your carpets' fibers. Most biologists would also agree that there are millions of microbes per square foot within your carpeting's fibers. Making it a no-brainer, if you have small carpet crawling kids; it's just another good reason to keep the carpets cleaned regularly.
The eco experts recommend using natural fiber area rugs, made from organic ingredients, and not the chemically treated, installed wall to wall, synthetic carpeting that has been the mainstay of most North American homes. These types of carpets can be eco-chemically cleaned without the use of harmful chemicals being added to your indoor environment. For these, a combination of steam cleaning and a regular HEPA filtered vacuum is the best way to get rid of ground in dirt, pathogens, and any kind of waste material stuck to or within the surface of your carpets material.
Area rugs can be easily washed out doors in your yard on a fence or line; there they can be swatted to get the dust out; they can also be steamed using a portable steamer, and afterwards, vacuumed for a final and thorough cleaning. Most homeowners will agree, that to call a professional carpet cleaner once a month or less, is the best policy.