The Dirty Secret You Need to Know about Your Carpet Cleaner

The Dirty Secret You Need to Know about Your Carpet Cleaner

Ken Arnswald |

Did you know there are some dirty secrets about carpet cleaners? The carpet cleaners you are using now could be harming your pets, your family, or even degrading your carpet. The very product you are using to clean your carpet could actually be costing you more money in secondary cleaning while never truly getting the clean you want.

Today we are sharing the dirty secret you need to know about your carpet cleaner. We want to see you using the safest possible product for your home and your family.

The Dirty Secret You Need to Know About Your Carpet Cleaner

There are five things you need to keep in mind when shopping for a carpet cleaner. These five components of a carpet cleaner can help you to decide if they are safe for your home, family, and even for the carpet itself. After investing in quality carpets, the last thing you want to do is to throw away that investment because of a substandard product. We have put together these five cleaning efficacy guidelines to help you make an educated decision when shopping for carpet cleaning products. It’s time to clean your home without costing yourself more in the long run.

5 Things to Watch for Carpet Cleaning Efficacy:

Cleaning vs Damaging

Cleaning carpet is easy but cleaning carpet without damage is the tricky part. Many of the aerosol carpet products on the market contain some serious chemicals that are harmful to your family. Some of these chemicals include Butoxyethanol and other glycol ethers, Tetrachloroethylene, Perchloroethylene. In fact, many of the chemicals in these are so strong you could easily make a flamethrower out of them. These aren’t chemicals you want to use to “clean” your floors.

When using some carpet cleaners visually, you can look at the carpet and see that that spot has been cleaned, on the backside of the carpet, you will see that it is breaking down the integrity of the carpet. When you get your carpet it is very tight and stiff. Over time you may notice it starts to loosen up and become more wavy. Part of that appearance can be attributed to these highly toxic chemical floor cleaners. Many of these products claim to be carpet cleaners while they are actually carpet destroyers. Be sure to look for carpet cleaners that clean your carpet, but not damage it.

PH Safe Carpet Cleaner vs Damaging PH in Floor Cleaners

PH is a scale where 14 is high with things like caustic lie. Battery acid is the bottom of this scale. Your body would be at the middle as seven and in general water is seven. When purchasing products, you want to stay as close to seven as possible. PH is exponential. So as you move up in the numbers it is more caustic and will attack things more aggressively. On carpets, they have stain resistance applied to them to keep liquids from connecting to them. When you spray a carpet with a product that has a higher PH the first thing it does is strip the water protective coating from the carpet.

This means that instead of liquids beading off of a carpet surface they will be absorbed by the carpet. This means that your prevalence of stains will be higher because of the product you are using to remove a mess from your carpet. This stripping of stain resistance can happen within seconds of application and leaves your carpet more vulnerable to spills. Choosing a carpet with a PH closer to seven maintains the stain resistance already applied to the carpet by only cleaning the mess without breaking down that stain-resistant coating.


Many will pay a professional carpet cleaner to come in and clean their carpets. Within a few months it seems like that mess just seems to come right back up to the surface. Some carpet cleaners actually leave behind a residue on the carpet’s surface. This residue then waits for a mess of some sort to come in contact with it, whether that is dirt on the bottom of the shoe or something similar. That dirt then sticks to this residue on the carpet giving the appearance that the stain came back. This is called re-soiling.

Carpet companies often use products with a high re-soiling rate. When a person experiences re-soiling they call the company to come back out and treat the floors again. This gives the company repeat business though the carpet wasn’t fully cleaned to begin with. You want to watch for re-soiling when looking at the cleaning products used on your floors.

Optical Brighteners

Optical brighteners is a word that sounds nice but actually you are adding a chemical that changes the color composition to make it look brighter. It makes whites look whiter. However, this is also changing the appearance of the fibers of the carpet. It is physically changing the color makeup of the carpet fiber. You want to avoid optical brighteners when choosing a floor cleaner.

When you use a product with optical brighteners you clean one spot with an optical brightener while not treating the entire carpet. That spot will appear different in color for the life of the carpet. You will not be able to get the carpet to have a uniform color profile going forward because of using this product in that area. Opt for products free of optical brighteners to preserve the color makeup of your carpet.

Color Fastness

Color fastness is a term used to explain how colored dye leaks out of the carpet. Some carpet dyes are not colorfast. A carpet that has been treated with a colorfast dye is designed to hold onto color. This means that it is more likely to hold onto color when exposed to light or even cleaners. Some carpet cleaners are too caustic and can strip away the color fastness coating put into carpet dyes.

So how do you know if a product has changed the carpet color? Sadly, this happens after the product has been used. In order for a carpet cleaner to be certified for CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) product approval it will need superior carpet cleaning chemistry, neutral pH, no re-soiling properties, no optical brighteners, and it can’t affect color fastness. When purchasing a carpet cleaning product, opt for one that is CRI approved to insure that the color of your carpets will stay intact.

Here is more information about this dirty little secret about your carpet cleaner:

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