You love the idea of installing hardwood floors throughout your home. Now, maybe there’s another reason to give them a second look. There are health benefits for installing hardwood flooring too.
The problem with indoor air quality
Americans today spend far more time inside than they do outside. The EPA estimates that on average, people spend as much as 90 percent of their daily lives indoors.
That means the air pollution outside impacts your health far less than what exists inside your house.
What causes indoor air pollution?
- Tobacco products
- Fuel-burning combustion appliances
- Household cleaners
- Moisture that can contribute to mildew and mold
- Building materials that include asbestos, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and more
- Chemicals such as radon and pesticides
Indoor air pollution enters the home in a variety of ways.
It can come in every time you open a door or window, leave your shoes on as you walk through your home, or through daily activities – cooking not only uses fuel-burning appliances such as a gas stove, it can release toxins in the air depending on what and how you cook.
What flooring does to add to indoor air pollution
Now that you know how pollutants can enter the home, let’s talk about how flooring contributes to it.
Flooring can impact your indoor air quality in two ways:
1. It can harbor problems brought into your home, increasing the volatility of your air supply
2. It can be manufactured with harmful chemicals and products that add to indoor air quality problems
That’s where hardwood flooring can help clean up your air supply – if you know what to look for.
Allergens are everywhere. Some of the most common allergens we bring indoors are dust mites and animal dander.
The best way to eliminate them from your home is with frequent cleaning – dusting, vacuuming, washing, and scrubbing. If you select a surface more conducive to these methods of cleaning, it will create a healthier living environment.
Certain types of flooring, like carpet, are simply going to be gathering places for small microorganisms, while flooring like hardwood makes it easier to clean.
Of course, hardwood itself can add to the problem if you don’t pay attention to where it’s harvested from, and how it’s produced. Is it treated with chemicals at any point during the manufacturing process? Is it finished with harmful products? Does it adhere to the floor with toxic adhesives?
There’s a lot to think about when trying to clean up your indoor living environment. It’s not as easy as going to the store, and picking up the first flooring product you see.
Let’s focus in on the health benefits of hardwood flooring
You already know that hardwood flooring is wildly popular, looks great everywhere it’s installed, and can last for years if you maintain it correctly. Homebuyers know this too; it’s one of the most in-demand products they look for when shopping for a new home.
But what you might not have considered is how hardwood floors add health benefits to your living space. Here’s how:
Hardwood doesn’t trap allergens – we’ve already talked about how hardwood helps eliminate allergens. That’s because hardwood is a hard surface, and things like dust and dander sit on the surface, making it easy to sweep away.
Hardwood is a carbon-neutral product – hardwood comes directly from trees. Trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen as they age and grow. What you might not know is that a wood stores carbon even after it’s cut down and manufactured into planks for your floor.
Hardwood is considered hypoallergenic by the EPA – which gives it a huge advantage for people with respiratory issues. Because hardwood flooring won’t take in microorganisms and pesticides like other flooring choices will. It also minimizes the accumulation of things like dust, mold, and other harmful items.
Hardwood is easy to disinfect – don’t worry about lugging in cleaning machines in order to keep the surface area clean. Hardwood floors are easy to clean with a damp mop and a manufacturer-approved anti-bacterial cleaner. Check with the manufacturer before you put anything on your hardwood floors, or you might void the warranty.
Hardwood is a natural product – unlike some flooring choices that are made in a laboratory, hardwood flooring is created from a natural resource. Hardwood is one of the best earth-friendly materials you can choose. However, be sure you understand the source before you make the purchase. Not every product is harvested in the same way. Hardwood flooring can come with certification from groups such as the Forest Stewardship Council, or meet criteria set forth by organizations such as the GREENGUARD Certification Program. This gives you assurance that it isn’t coming from a manufacturer with illegal or highly questionable practices.
What to do to keep hardwood floors clean
Now that your hardwood floors are installed and in place, how do you ensure they stay clean without impacting your health for the life of your floors? Luckily hardwood flooring is one of the easiest floors to take care of.
Remove shoes at the front door – have you ever thought about all of the things you pick up on the bottom of your shoes? Chemicals, dirt, germs – you can pick up a lot of things as you move throughout your busy days. Instead of tracking that in and letting it fall off onto your floors, remove them at the door. Consider having a mat or basket to place them, and a few pairs of slippers to keep your feet comfortable.
Keep mats at all entrances – this gives you and your pets the opportunity to wipe your feet before entering. Even just walking across it will remove a good amount of dirt.
Use a microfiber dust mop – instead of using a traditional mop, invest in one with microfiber. Microfiber has less chance of leaving dust and germs behind, and cleans better and leaves less residue than more traditional cotton. Water should never be left sitting on hardwood; use damp cloths where the residual dries quickly.
Keep a regular schedule with your cleaning routine – don’t let dust and germs settle in on any surface in your home. Life can get hectic, but the more frequently you give every surface a good cleaning, the less chance you have of letting the indoor air quality build enough to impact your health.
Invest in hardwood floors today
We’ve learned one thing this year – it’s more important than ever to keep our homes clean to have a healthy living environment. There are many reasons to buy hardwood flooring, for the health benefits is just one of them. Give us a call today and we can answer all of your questions, and help you make the right choice for your home.