Green Cleaning Your Floors: Carpet, Hardwood & Linoleum

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It’s unfortunate, but the floor of your home always takes the brunt of what your family can throw at it. The kids tracking in that rainy day mud you asked them to stay out of; the dog rolling around on the carpet after taking a dip in the river; perhaps a rowdy book club meeting with the gals amounted to spilled red wine. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the floors are always the victim and never the victor.

With the arrival of spring comes the impending frenzy of sporadic cleaning, otherwise known as Spring Cleaning, a time where everything from floor to ceiling receives a thorough cleansing. For now though, we’re going to focus on the floors. More specifically—carpet, hardwood, and linoleum.
A quick trip to most stores will reveal a bevy of cleaning products designed absolutely anything that can happen to your floors. Products for spills, products for pets, products for carpet, products for ceramic; the list goes on and on. The cold truth is that most of these products are awful, not only for your floors, but also for the environment and in some cases, bad for your family. Thankfully there are a variety of “green” methods for cleaning floors. In fact, here are a few ways that are green, as well as all-natural:

Carpet

Your carpet can be one of the worst offenders when it comes to attracting and retaining dirt, allergens and stains. Luckily, there is a fairly simple way to clean your carpets using three ingredients, which you can likely find in your home. Simply combine a quarter-cup each of salt, white vinegar and borax, until it forms a paste. Apply the paste directly onto the stain and rub it in. Allow the paste to dry and vacuum it up. Simple!

Lingering pet hair tends to be a big problem for people who live with carpets as well. Instead of wastefully filling your trashcan with used lint roller paper, your best bet is to use a powerful vacuum like one from Neato Robotics, which is designed to work phenomenally well at removing pet hair and other debris.

Hardwood

mopping

Instead of scrubbing your gorgeous hardwood floors with a harsh chemical cleaning agent, there is a much simpler way to get them clean and keep them looking their best. First, place roughly a quart of water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. While you’re waiting for the water to come to a boil, give the floor a good sweeping to remove any visible dust, dirt, and particulates. Once the water has begun boiling, pour it into a bowl and steep 2-3 plain tea bags in the water for a few minutes. Soak a rag in the tea and wring it out so that it is just damp to the touch. Next, start scrubbing! The tea produces tannic acid which helps to deep clean your hardwoods, bringing out their natural luster.

Linoleum

Using linoleum in your home is already a green choice since it is made up largely of all-natural linseed oil. Unfortunately though, linoleum is no stranger to dirt and grime. As with hardwood, you will want to sweep the linoleum first to remove larger particulates. To clean it, simply mix approximately half-a-cup of vinegar with all-natural dish soap. The vinegar acts as a polishing agent, leaving your linoleum with a great shine. Place a lightly-moistened mop into the mixture and start mopping. Simple enough, right? If you have stubborn stains that just don’t want to come off, a mixture of water and baking powder can make easy work of them.

So whether your home boasts hardwood, linoleum, carpet, or a combination of all three, you should be able to give them a good, thorough cleaning without using harsh chemicals that not only are bad for you and your family, but the environment too. Not to mention, that most of the solutions mentioned above can be made with ingredients you already have on hand.

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