Wastewater Management in the Carpet Cleaning Industry

It is good industry practice, if you are in the carpet cleaning industry, to put in place proper disposal methods for carpet cleaning wastewater.

Carpet cleaning wastewater can contain potentially hazardous and toxic materials, including bacteria, body fluids, chemical compounds, grease, pollutants, smoke, detergent, solvents, among others, and how you dispose of these materials can greatly impact the environment. Improper disposal methods, by which carpet cleaning wastewater and all the hazardous components they contain, could find its way back into the natural environment, and even worse, into the world’s water systems, have been previously widespread. From there, the potential ramifications expand a hundredfold. Marine life, aquatic life, land and terrestrial-based animals, and potentially even human life and health, are affected. When you factor in how many miles of carpet are cleaned regularly each year, and how many gallons or possibly even tons of carpet cleaning wastewater that that translates into, it is easy to see how such a simple thing as wastewater from carpet cleaning processes can raise such concerns among the environmentally conscious among us.

The problem has become pressing enough that various states have recently issued rules and regulations governing the proper disposal of carpet cleaning wastewater. These guidelines necessarily vary between states, and you will have to check the rules and regulations that are in place in your area if you are in the carpet cleaning business. In general, however, there are broad rules of conduct when it comes to disposing of carpet cleaning waster – the goal is to avoid putting toxic, hazardous or dangerous chemicals or materials into the environment.

The following are general guidelines on how to dispose of carpet cleaning wastewater in a way that minimizes its impact on the environment:

  • Wastewater can be disposed of in drainage systems which connect to a municipal sewer infrastructure


Potential avenues for disposal, therefore, include the drains of sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.

The reason for this is because sewer infrastructure usually connects to a treatment facility that treats wastewater before the same is returned to the environment.

  • Wastewater should be filtered to remove solids such as carpet fiber and other dirt and debris


This prevents the clogging of pipes when the wastewater is disposed of down drainage systems that connect to sewer infrastructures

  • The filtered carpet fibers and other solids that are removed from the wastewater should be disposed of properly – which translates to solid waste management.

They can simply be put into trash cans for disposal. On the other hand, if there is a possibility that the same carpet fibers and solids may contain toxic or harmful chemicals, then they should also be disposed of accordingly.

  • Carpet cleaning wastewater should never be disposed of by pouring it down storm drains or over open ground.

This raises the possibility that the disposed of wastewater and all the chemicals and wastes that they contain may make their way into natural bodies of water such as underground water or rivers and streams. Many of these bodies of water are sources of our drinking water, and so it is imperative that any contamination be avoided.

  • Stick to environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions or products instead of chemical-based cleaners

This is a way of tackling the problem right from the source, and many have embraced the idea of it. Carpet owners, even professional carpet cleaning businesses, are opting for biodegradable and safe carpet cleaning equipment and cleaners that have little to no harmful or dangerous impact on the environment. The good thing about this approach is that many of these organic cleaners make use of regular household items, and any enterprising homeowner could clean and treat carpet stains herself without resorting to professional services.

If on the other hand, you are dealing with yards and yards of carpet, such as the ones you would find in a commercial establishment, carpet cleaning is best left to the professionals. Look for those that promote environmentally friendly cleaning practices, as well. They usually have specialized carpet cleaners that are environmentally friendly, too.

Another advantage of this approach to responsible carpet cleaning wastewater management is the fact that you are also reducing your family’s exposure to potentially hazardous or dangerous chemicals right from within your home. This is particularly true if the carpet cleaners you hired opted to use strong chemicals to treat your carpets. Those chemicals may often be left as residue on the surface of your carpets, and they can be released into the air once your carpet is once again subjected to foot traffic. As a natural consequence, the health and safety of the air quality inside your home might also become compromised.

The bottom line is, carpet cleaners, despite the seemingly innocuous business they practice, actually carry a high level of responsibility regarding waste management and environmental responsibility. Just think of how many millions of gallons of water are used each day for carpet cleaning, multiplied by the potentially harmful or dangerous chemicals or substances that that wastewater contains, and the social role of professional carpet cleaners cannot be denied.