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Carpets do have some advantages. They can make your house seem cozier and warmer in the winter. You can find modern carpets made out of recycled content that don't negatively affect indoor quality. However, carpets have plenty of negative environmental impacts. Recycling a carpet can be quite a hassle, and when filthy, a carpet can disturb the indoor air quality of your home. And cleaning a carpet may require the use of ridiculously potent and toxic chemicals.

There are alternative ways to clean and freshen your carpet that do not require the use of such abrasive materials.

How Stuff Works has a few recipes for eco-friendly carpet freshener.

Homemade Carpet Freshener:

Here's an idea for making homemade carpet freshener:

1 cup crushed, dried herbs (rosemary, southernwood, and lavender are good choices)

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine ingredients, and sprinkle over carpet. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then vacuum.

Here are a couple variations of that mixture:

Mix 1 small box baking soda with your favorite potpourri oil, using just a few drops, and sprinkle on as carpet freshener. Leave on a carpet 10 to 20 minutes, then vacuum.

Use 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup cornstarch, and 15 drops essential oil fragrance. Leave on carpet 10 to 20 minutes, then vacuum. Store mixture in a glass jar or airtight container.

You can grow the majority of this stuff in your own garden or window box. Cleaning your carpet regularly will drastically increase the quality of your indoor air and cleaning your carpet with eco-friendly materials will also allow you to breathe easier.

For a deep cleaning, Tiny Decor Blog recommends:

Mix together: 1/4 c. vegetable oil-based liquid soap and 3 tbsp. (or more) water. Whip ingredients in bowl with egg beater. Rub foam into problem areas of the rug. Rinse well with water.