Heidi Wilcox: Hi, my name is Heidi Wilcox and I work for the Toxics Use Reduction Institute Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Today we're talking about stain and spot removal from carpets using Green Cleaning Methods.
Now I'm going to talk about how to make homemade green cleaners. They can be things such as baking soda, a plant-based mild soap, a general dish soap, 3% hydrogen peroxide that you may have in your bathroom, white vinegar, you probably don't want to use a red wine vinegar or something with a dark color as it might transfer to a light colored carpet. And then your garden variety club soda. Even though they're not generally thought of as chemicals or chemistries, they do produce chemical reactions.
Club soda, when you put it on a stain or spill, it produces a bubbling action which actually pops off the dirt from the fiber. With soap, you have a very mild detergent's effect and so that will work with water to remove the soil if you get through quickly. Hydrogen peroxide is known as a mild bleaching agent, so you do want to take care when using this on any sort of dark rug, you may want them to try to test it in conspicuous area, incase there are some bleaching action, and vinegar is known for its acid properties, it's acetic acid, generally so you may want to dilute this one-to-one with water or more. So in genera, you may want to start with just tap water and a good absorbent towel to see how much of the stain you can get out from the carpet to begin with using no chemicals at all. Then if you feel you need to move to something else, the carbonation in club soda maybe a next step that you could try, and then you could maybe graduate to a mild dish soap, if you'd like, mixed with water and make sure you do rinse any sort of detergent or soap after using, so as you don't leave any sort of residue or ring on your carpet.
So next what I'd like to talk about is the limitations of these do it yourself homemade green cleaners. So as you can see on this carpet, this is a mustard stain, this was allowed to stay on the carpet for 24 hours before we cleaned it with the mild detergent, the vegetable soap, and we can't reiterate enough that if you can get to your stain immediately, you may be able to remove more of the stain of the soil, than if you let things sit and set in. Other limitations of these homemade do it yourself cleaners are the fact that these aren't harsh chemical formulations. If things that you have in your cupboard that you're using in your everyday life, so they may not be able to get out heavy soil load or very difficult soil such as permanent ink, grease, oil, ground and dirt that's been let to sit for a long time. You need to watch out for vinegar because it is acetic acid, if you get in your eyes or on your skin for a long time, it'll burn. Soap that gets in your eyes can sting and peroxide is a bleaching agent so it can also harm your eyes and your respiratory system if it's inhaled or ingested.
Next up is Liz. and she's going to show us how to use some of these homemade green cleaners.