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Green. Clean. Can these two goals be met in one floor cleaning company? The answer is yes, but you may have to ask some hard questions during your search for a service.

Whether it’s a matter of ethics and care for the environment, or one of health because of asthma, allergies, chemical sensitivities — you need to know what people are using in your home. Are the solutions hazardous to children or pets? Could they kill your fish? Make your dog vomit? Allow mold or mildew to grow?

These are uncomfortable questions to ask when you need your furniture, carpets or tile floors cleaned. But you must find out if any of these health or environmental issues matter to you. You know who you are! You’re the ones who can’t just check into a motel room without asking for non-smoking. You can’t just grab any old detergent or spray room fresheners around. You can’t afford the headaches that the wrong materials can cause.

1. Anyone who comes to service your home should be trained and knowledgeable about what they are using. One company that emphasizes highly trained professionals is the Chem-Dry ® network. Technicians gain stars to represent their experience and knowledge.

They must pass tests both written and on the job to prove they know how to use the equipment and solutions. A 5-Star technician represents more than two years of experience and five levels of in-depth training on all types of floor coverings and upholstery.

2. Each product used should have a MSDS — a Material Safety Data Sheet — which travels with the chemicals when shipped, and should be on hand for you to see if you need to know exactly what’s in that spray bottle.

After all, it’s YOUR home! Tell the technician of any chemical sensitivity, and ask them to use the least toxic solutions possible to get the job done. Chem-Dry offers The Natural ® which is rated as a 1 on a scale of toxicity from 1-5 by the FDA. It is classified as “Edible.”

3. How will these products affect your pets? Should they be removed from the rooms or the home completely while cleaning is performed? Will the technician cover any fish tanks while using solvents or propellants on furniture? A tank full of expensive fish dying after having your upholstery treated will not be appreciated.

Pets who have a habit of licking their paws should not walk on freshly protected carpets until they are dry, to prevent stomach upset.

If you have problems with pet urine (or human accidents), know that this noxious smell can be removed. Each case is evaluated using a black light to see where the spots are located, as well as the sense of smell. Even past accidents will come to light up like someone had poured bleach in those spots – allowing the technician to treat all the problem areas. A Pet Urine Removal Treatment ® can awaken and then eliminate urine deposits in the pad and carpet. Occasionally, extensive damage may require removing the affected pad, treating the subfloor and carpet, but rarely does carpet need to be replaced.

4. If you have environmental problems already, such as water damage, mold, pet dander or dust mite allergies, ask what can be done. Mildewcides, quick drying and dust mite treatments can help. One customer had the most amazing experience – he was actually a new technician who had been sleeping on the wood floor of his hallway to be able to breathe at night. After cleaning with Chem-Dry, he reported “I slept in my own bedroom, and everybody can breathe much better now! It shocks me that cleaning made such a difference!”

Lines of dirt along walls or doorways indicate a problem with the heating and cooling system pulling dirt to those spots. This tends to be a greasy dirt, difficult to remove using ordinary methods. Called filtration lines, these stains can be mitigated by frequent vacuuming with an edge tool, aggressive cleaning with Filtration Line Remover ® and thorough caulking along the joints of floors and walls when or installing new carpeting.

5. How will the products be disposed of? Most can be put into the toilet for sewage treatment. Some can be released into landscaping without harming plants. Others must be disposed of in sealed drums at the shop (dry cleaning type chemicals are in this category).

If it’s not safe for you to be around it, it’s not safe for the environment. That’s why Chem-Dry ® uses careful testing and FDA oversight to make sure the best processes and equipment are used in your home or office. I would not use any other method of cleaning personally, and was such a happy customer, that I jumped at the chance to own my own Chem-Dry ® business!

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