I endeavour to use products that are as green as I can get without sacrificing the clean. Safe for you, your pets, AND me. After all, I'm using these products day after day.
Since I started cleaning in 1994, the chemistry and methods have changed a LOT. We used to only have very strong cleaners that would dry "crusty" and would need a post vacuuming to loosen it all up. Phosphates and other other "not so nice" chemicals were used because they cleaned well.
Around 2005 I remember being at a conference and they were talking about the NEW Green products. Phosphates were on the way out. The other nasties were being removed. But the downside to the "Green" products was that they didn't work as well. Twice as much needed to be used with less than satisfactory cleaning results.
In 2007 I was introduced to Les Jones, the son of Judson Jones, the man who actually held the patent for truckmount carpet cleaning machines! He built them back in the 70s. His son is a chemist. He saw the chemistries that were available and the large amounts we needed to use and he thought "that's just not right".
So he formulated a cleaning solutions using Sodium percarbonate, and Sodium perborate, both of which are closely related to Borax. These products break down to a hydrogen peroxide when mixed with hot water. Very safe. Very environmental!
There is also a Citrus or d'limonene product which (steps below food grade) for cutting grease.
Cosmetic grade surfactants are used which allow easier rinsing just as they allow cosmetics to be rinsed easier from your face.
These products work fantastic. Better for cleaning, better for your home, better for you and better for me!
I even wash my clothes with it using only a tablespoon for a full load!
Even the protectant I use is environmentally friendly.
Also, keep in mind that the cleaning solutions are applied to the carpet at the beginning of the cleaning and then thoroughly rinsed out. So there is very little of anything left in your carpet or fabrics.