Ask the Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Expert – Paolo Mancuso
What is green cleaning
What is “green” cleaning?
Cleaning practices and chemicals have received some of the most intense “green” scrutiny in the marketplace, which unfortunately has led to an abundance of confusing and misleading “green” information, products and technology. Product manufacturers, for example, have been free to develop a dizzying array of cleaning products labeled as “green”, but which may or may not harm humans, their pets, or the natural environment.
Since the early 1970’s, professional carpet and upholstery cleaners have had access to the greenest cleaning technology yet developed: the hot water extraction cleaning machine. This technology uses a simple principle: heat fresh water to a very high temperature, put it under pressure, force it through at least one jet sprayer, then, once it has made contact with the dirty yarn or fabric, instantly extract it using a powerful vacuum.
Used correctly, this simple technology, by itself and without the use of additional chemicals whatsoever, would, under most conditions, result in not only a “green” (i.e. chemical-free) cleaning, but also a healthy human environment. Given that the textile was not inordinately soiled to begin with, the water was heated to a high enough temperature, the water was sufficiently pressurized and was properly extracted (along with the soiling in the textile), a homeowner receiving this basic cleaning could be quite certain that for the most part, the carpet had been properly cleaned.
This technology is so effective that there has been little significant advancement since it was invented over forty years ago.
Cleaning Chemicals: Protecting the Natural Environment
Professional textile cleaners have also learned to use a wide variety of cleaning agents to assist with the cleaning process. These products generally have more effect on the appearance of the textile than its cleanliness (with the exception of chemicals designed to treat microorganism contamination such as urine, feces, vomit). So, for example, there are cleaning products that will help break down fats and oils in the textile. Fats and oils tend not to flush out of the textile with hot water alone, and can therefore leave unsightly marks unless treated.
The professional textile cleaner minimizes the use of these cleaning products, scrutinizes the ingredients of the chemicals used, and maximizes the use of hot water extraction technology. It is reasonable to say that the less chemical you use, the less chemical pollution you will create.
At Mancuso’s, we ensure that the cleaning agents we use do not contain petroleum distillates, phenols, glycols, butyls or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These ingredients are known to cause harm to the natural environment.
The “green” textile cleaner relies more on the action of the wand over the face of the carpet (scrub-wand style of cleaning), combined with the features of the hot water extraction machine, than on the chemicals applied. And, in order to protect indoor air quality, any chemicals used are completely flushed out of the textile after they have done their job.
Also, an effective and “green” textile cleaner has screens within the cleaning machine that filter out solid materials like hair and lint from the dirty water before it is disposed of into the sanitary sewer system. These solids are disposed into the landfill, which protects the sewer system from clogging. In addition, the professional cleaner only disposes of dirty water into a sanitary sewer (not into a storm sewer), so that the water will be cleaned and treated before it’s returned to the environment.
“Low Moisture” /Chemical Dry Cleaning
There has been a tendency within the textile cleaning industry to reduce the amount of fresh water used in the cleaning process, and increase the use of cleaning chemicals. This practice is aggressively promoted by the manufacturers of these same cleaning chemicals. Current training practices also emphasize high chemical use, mainly because cleaning equipment and chemical manufacturers offer most of the textile cleaning education in the industry.
This unfortunate trend has resulted in many homeowners being subjected to unnecessary chemical residue in the carpets in their homes. Some homeowners, their children or their pets, for example, complain of skin and respiratory problems that emerge shortly after their carpets are improperly cleaned.
Effective carpet cleaning emphasizes the use of a sufficient volume of fresh water contacting the yarn to remove soiling (and any chemicals used). The professional cleaner also extracts 95% of this water from the textile after it has done its job, leaving the carpet or piece of upholstered furniture damp, not wet. This facilitates rapid drying of the textile, which is very important in sustaining a healthy human environment.
Call Manuso Cleaning at 403-347-1845 or visit www.mancusocleaning.com