Thursday, February 3, 2011

Carpet - 3 healthier alternatives - If you must have carpet!

In general I prefer hard flooring because I can see dirt and dust and it can be cleaned and mopped.

Traditional plush wall to wall carpeting is never clean. There is a saying that if you remove wall to wall carpeting in 7 years, it is 7 times heavier than the first day it was installed.
Dirt, dust, pet hair and dander accumulate and compact down. Professional cleaning can only clean so much of it. Stains often just sink further down and may look clean, but surface in matter of weeks again.
Carpet, glues and padding often offgas VOCs for a long time.

When a client must have carpet, I suggest a few alternatives:

- Area rugs in natural fiber: Sisal, cotton, and wool.
They can be dragged out and cleaned the old fashioned way with water and detergent. They can be removed by a professional taken for a bath and brought back.
Natural dyes are your best choice because they are free of petrochemicals. The color improves over time. Quality wool rugs improve with age and professional cleaning actually improve the texture and color.

- Commercial low pile carpeting: because of the low pile dust and dirt do not sink in as much and can be vacuumed thoroughly.
Opt for LOW VOC installation. There is usually no padding involved. 
- Carpet tiles: Used to be only available in commercial grade. Recently many residential carpet manufacturers offer carpet tiles. Individual tiles can be removed washed, dried and placed back in place. It is also possible to arrange into a creative area rug.
Ask for LOW VOC. There is no padding or glue to worry about.

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