Use Hardwood Flooring

You can implement many strategies to ensure your home is greener, environmentally friendly and less toxic, both for you and for the earth. This post will talk about having hardwood floors to detoxify your home to ensure it is greener and healthier for you, your family and your pets (if you have any).

There are several choices for hardwood flooring, which are the best not just for the environment, but also to your health, irrespective of whether or not you have allergies, asthma, sinusitis or any other upper or lower respiratory conditions. Hardwood floors do not provide any fibres for the dust, dirt and dust mites to get trapped, which you will breath in every time you walk over the carpet and disturb them.

The advantages of hard flooring are many:
  • Less dust and dust mites - since there are few fibres for the dust mite to live, there should be few of these mites, plus the amount of dust collected will be less
  • Easier to clean - hard flooring is much easier to clean and once it is cleaned, it stays cleaner than carpet. Any spills can be easily mopped up and will not normally cause a stain on most hard flooring types. All that is required is a vacuum and mopping the floor with some mild soapy water
  • Cheaper to clean - hard flooring does not require regular steam cleaning (like carpet requires) to keep clean - it is simply a matter of mopping the floor, which can be done quickly, which means savings on the at least yearly steam clean that carpet needs
  • Better for people with allergies / asthma - people with lower and upper respiratory conditions do so much better and suffer less episodes of illness when they are not exposed to dust and dust mites
  • Modern and stylish - hard flooring looks more modern and stylish compared to some garish or worn away carpet which may have been there for over 20 years. While carpet fashion dates, natural hard flooring does not.
  • Longer lasting - carpet, especially in the high traffic areas, wears away quite quickly, especially the cheaper variety (which tends to be put into most apartments these days). Hard flooring on the other hand, lasts a lot longer, even in the high traffic areas and even if there is a lot of usage of the flooring
Types of hard flooring:
  • Wooden Floorboards - these give a warmth and richness to any room because of their colour and natural material. Wooden flooring can be either long planks or more complicated parquetry. The type to use depends on your budget and taste. It is not recommended to lacquer the floors, as this produces noxious fumes from the toxic chemicals used, but instead to use environmentally friendly, water-based floor varnish, which give more of a matt finish. Floating floorboards can also be purchased which have been varnished with an environmentally friendly product.
  • To clean wooden floorboards - simply vacuum or sweep weekly with periodic buffing. Wash with a mop using 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar.
  • Tiles - there are a variety of tile types that can be used for flooring in all areas of a house or apartment, but obviously some are more compatible to certain areas than others. The most commonly used types of tiles are:
    1. Ceramic/porcelain - these type of tiles are dense and strong, easy to clean, long lasting and does not absorb smell, water or carry allergens. Since ceramic and porcelain tiles are man-made, there is also more flexibility in the tile design.
    2. Mosaic - these type of tiles are basically smaller versions of the other types of tiles and can be made from a wide variety of materials, depending on which area they are to be used in. They are more suited as a feature of a tiled floor, rather than as the whole floor, but can be used on the whole floor. They take more time to be laid as there are so many of them to put together, but the patterns and features that can be created are wonderful.
    3. Terracotta - these type of tiles are a traditional,authentic flooring product that possess a warmth,charm and character. Hand-made terracotta tiles are formed by pressing raw clay into moulds: this produces a durable but low density tile.Compared with denser alternatives terracotta tiles act as an excellent insulator underfoot,almost eliminating the need for assistance from under-floor heating

To clean tiles - simply wash with a damp mop. Natural (non-abrasive) detergents in water can also be used, but not on terracotta.
  • Stone - this type of flooring is more suited to outside areas, but it can be used inside a house too, in a den, rumpus room or family room, as long as some soft, natural-fibre rugs are used to soften the flooring. While stone is a very natural flooring type, it is not suitable for the interior of apartments
  • To clean stone flooring - simply wash with a damp mop. Natural (non-abrasive) detergents in water can also be used.
  • Marble - this is a a heavily relied upon natural stone for flooring, especially in upmarket houses and hotels due to it's reliability and because it is a long-lasting, yet very beautiful flooring type. Marble is a natural stone product, very durable and stain resistant. Marble can stain unless it is is sealed on a regular basis, especially in the high traffic areas, but always choose a natural, environmentally friendly sealant.
    To clean marble flooring - simply wash using a damp mop and periodic buffing. Natural (non-abrasive) detergents in water can also be used.

  • To clean granite flooring - simply wash using a damp mop and periodic buffing. Natural (non-abrasive) detergents in water can also be used.
  • Slate - this type of flooring is a natural stone, which works well in wet areas (bathroom, kitchen), but also equally well in lounge rooms and other areas of the house. It may need some rugs to warm up bedrooms if used there.
    To clean slate flooring - simply use a damp mop with mild soap-water mixture

In regards to the rugs that can used on the hard flooring, this is much more preferable to carpet because rugs (if they are larger in size) can be washed either on the clothes line, where they can be shampooed and hosed down or in the washing machine (if they are smaller in size).

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