Home Floor Designs to Help You Go Green
Going green not only improves your health by reducing the amount of harmful compounds in your body, it helps the Earth by reducing the amount of toxins in the environment. Thanks to the increasing popularity of organic and environmentally friendly home improvements, there are many different options to improve the environmental footprint of your home.
Hardwood makes beautiful and durable floors. If taken care of properly, a hardwood floor will last for many years. When choosing a hardwood floor, go green by buying eco-friendly wood that is approved by the Forest Stewardship Council. If you want to try an alternative to hardwood, bamboo is very durable and renews itself much faster than traditional woods. Cork flooring is becoming popular due to its springy support, eco-friendly production and good heat and sound insulation.
Regular dusting and light wet-mopping help maintain wood flooring without using chemical cleaners. Always check your floor cleaners and waxes for toxic and harmful ingredients. Many popular commercial waxes can produce fumes, and traditional wax removers can be very dangerous. Your green flooring isn't really healthy for you or the environment under a coat of harmful chemicals.
Natural linoleum is often confused with its artificial vinyl counterpart. Real natural linoleum is biodegradable and non-toxic. Recycled glass is gaining popularity as an attractive, recycled tile alternative. Natural stone tiles are highly durable, but can get expensive quickly. Natural ceramic tile is made of baked clay and is available in non-toxic glazes and finishes.
Tile and linoleum flooring is relatively easy to care for because it is highly durable and resists staining. It's tempting to use toxic cleaners on kitchen and bathroom floors to kill mold and germs, but the Organic Consumers Association warns that chlorine bleach and ammonia produce fumes that irritate the eyes, throat and lungs. Furthermore, if these two common cleaning agents are used together, they can produce a lung-damaging chloramine gas. Linoleum and tile cleaning should always be done with natural cleaners.
Artificial carpeting releases a lot of harmful airborne compounds during its installation, its use and its removal. Green America says in their article about Eco-Friendly Flooring that the installation of carpet and flooring can release suspected carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene into the air and that these substances can take years to dissipate. For carpeting to be eco-friendly, you need a carpet that is made of natural fibers such as wool or linen, and it must have little or no chemical treatment. You also must avoid the traditional petroleum-based carpet padding that goes underneath the carpet. A natural rag pad made from recycled cotton is a good alternative, or you can pick a carpet that requires no additional padding. You should use water-based glues or tack the carpet down. Large area rugs made with natural fibers can also add comfort to a room without the trouble of carpet installation.
Rugs can be removed, beaten and washed with a variety of natural cleaners. Green carpet cleaning involves vacuuming once a week, if possible, and using cleaning solutions with natural odor-absorbing ingredients. Steam cleaning is effective for deep carpet cleaning. Avoid scented cleaners because the chemical fragrances can be an eye and lung irritant.
Going green is simply making a series of choices to live in a healthier way. Using renewable resources, recycling materials, using natural fibers and materials and choosing non-toxic cleaners all make your home healthier for you and more friendly to the environment. Choosing green options for your home will benefit everyone in the long run.