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  • Angie's List staff

Is It Safe to Use Carpet Powders?

Many homeowners use powders to deodorize their carpets.

Although your carpet may bring versatility to your home's decor and improve insulation, it often requires extensive and consistent maintenance to keep it clean and provide a healthy indoor environment.

To maintain proper cleanliness, many homeowners turn to carpet deodorizing powders, which promise to promote cleanliness and reduce odor. Although they certainly make the room smell fresher, some homeowners have raised concerns over whether the chemicals used in these products are truly safe for the carpet.

Risks of carpet powders

According to the nonprofit Healthy Child, an organization that seeks to prevent children from coming in contact with toxic chemicals, carpet deodorizing powders are intended to be vacuumed up completely after application. However, the powder or its residue can easily be left behind.

Once applied, a portion of the powder can simply be missed while vacuuming. It may also sink too deep into the carpet fibers, meaning that even high-powered vacuums won't be able to pull it out.

While it depends on the type of chemicals used in the powder, this problem can often be harmless since most of the residue will not be exposed to the outer layer of the carpet.

Liquid treatments versus powder treatments

According to the Healthy Child, carpet cleaning chemicals and cleaning treatments, including powders, may contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, sodium hydroxide or pesticides.

Especially in the case of liquid treatments, which can act as solvents, the chemical residue may wear down or damage carpet fibers. Carpet powder residue, if not completely removed from the carpet after use, has the potential to be inhaled.

Another consideration for powders, especially deodorizing powders, is that their fragrance may irritate members of the household with allergies or chronic respiratory conditions.

If you choose to use a carpet cleaning or deodorizing powder, always read the label and look for potentially harmful ingredients. Regularly maintaining your carpet with regular cleanings and additional treatments as necessary may be your best bet to avoid the potential complications of carpet powders.

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