The easiest way to determine if a carpet extractor is green is to look for the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval. Machines bearing this seal remove significant amounts of soil from the carpeting, leading to better indoor air quality. Machines earn one of four ratings — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum — based on how much soil is removed. Platinum rated extractors remove at least 90 percent of soil.

Unlike vacuums and carpet extractors, there are a few different third-party standards available for green carpet chemicals.

To achieve Green Seal’s GS-37 certification, ingredients in carpet chemicals, as well as their fragrances, must be non-toxic and non-corrosive, can’t contain carcinogens or reproductive toxins and can’t deplete the ozone layer. In addition, the product needs to have a pH between 3 and 10 and perform as well or better than a conventional carpet chemical.

For EcoLogo’s standard, products must meet stringent standards for toxicity, toxic chemicals and biodegradability. Similar to Green Seal, products can’t be corrosive, or carcinogenic. They can’t be formulated with propellants, halogenated solvents, fluorescent dyes or microbicides and must also be readily biodegradable.

The Carpet and Rug Institutes Seal of Approval program is developed from the EPA’s Design for the Environment (or DfE) partership that approves products made with the safest ingredients. The Seal of Approval takes DfE one step further and makes sure the products work. Chemicals are tested against the performance of water for cleaning effectiveness, rate of resoiling, pH, surface texture change, optical brighteners and colorfastness.