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Healthy & Green Interior Design Tips: Carpet

Healthy & Green Interior Design Tips: Carpet

Goodbye Carpet!

Typically, wall to wall carpeting is not a healthy interior design choice for your home. Although most carpeting I would protest against, not all carpet is bad for your health and the environment. Wool carpeting, although expensive is long lasting and can be a healthy and green option for your home. See my blog about rugs for more information on wool. Some of the main culprits of VOC’s are in the backing and pad. Be sure when you are purchasing new carpet to find out the materials in the backing and the pad. Avoid materials like steyrene. 

Synthetic carpets (polyester, Nylon) off gas into your home for several months. This can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation and may also affect the central nervous system. 

 What is off gassing? It is the evaporation of chemicals from a new product into the air. Most consumers are unaware that carpets contain 44 toxic chemicals, some of which are known to cause cancer. According to the EPA, they also absorb VOC’s from other sources (paint, glues, etc.) and re-emit them over time.

 Carpet can also harbor dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores, pesticides and other materials. According to the American Lung Association, new carpet installation has been associated with wheezing and coughing in the first year of a babies’ life. Children are more likely to be affected since they play on the floor and place their hands in their mouths.

Imagine all the VOC’s created in manufacturing these materials. They fill landfills representing 3.5% of American landfill waste, totaling 4 billion pounds per year. They are made of oil, a non-renewable resource, they biodegrade very slowly, and leech dangerous chemicals into the ground.

 

Remember:

When buying something new, purchase items that are

HEALTHY FOR YOU & YOUR FAMILY

Healthy & Green Interior Design Tips :Rugs

Healthy & Green Interior Design Tips :Rugs

Hello, Natural Rugs!

Area rugs are a healthy and green alternative to wall to wall carpeting. Most do not have a backing or pad that are full of chemicals, like carpeting does. Area rugs give you the opportunity to clean them thoroughly unlike carpet that harbors dust, dirt, and allergens. There are many options of materials that are healthy and eco-friendly.  Look for an area rug made 100% wool, sisal, cotton, bamboo, hemp, jute or a blend of these fibers.

haWool is naturally flame resistant and self-extinguishing making it a safer choice for your home. It is a renewable resource and recyclable. No more furniture marks when moving furniture around. The wool is naturally resilient. Wool is easy to care for and is naturally soil resistant. Wool rugs are comfortable, soft and durable.

 Cotton can be an easy to maintain because it is machine washable. When choosing cotton, look for organic cotton. Cotton is a highly pesticide-intensive crop, so organic is a safer and greener option.

 Bamboo is sustainable, renewable, and does not require pesticides. It also has natural antibacterial qualities. Although, usually not as comfortable as wool it has great aesthetics.

 Hemp is extremely durable, naturally resists mold and UV rays, and can be machine washed. It is a sustainable plant, using no pesticides, and uses little water. Hemp rugs are ideal for bathrooms, kitchen/dining and sunrooms.

 Sisal is great for high traffic areas of the home because of its durability and they do not trap dust. Sisal rugs are should not be used in wet, damp areas. They have a softer hand if mixed with wool.

 Jute is biodegradable which makes it great for the environment. It is also strong and durable so it will last. Jute rugs are UV resistant and have anti-static properties. Jute is the most environmentally friendly fiber from seed to expired fiber. This material is not suitable in wet, damp areas. It is best used in living spaces and bedrooms. If the rug does get wet pat dry and let it air out.

For information about wall to wall carpeting, Please also read our next blog!

Four Healthy Living Design Tips

Four Healthy Living Design Tips

Let the Light In

Sunlight is a vital part of our health. It provides us Vitamin D, it is a natural disinfectant, and it maintains our circadian rhythm. A part of our circadian rhythm is our sleep/wake cycle.

Blackout shades are necessary for most homes that are surrounded by light pollution. Most of these shades contain PVC, fiberglass, polyester, or acrylic.

To opt for a more natural option combine shades and curtains made of natural materials in bedrooms. Shades can be an investment, so if it is not the right time for you to make a purchase, make sure to open your blinds/curtains daily and let the light in.

Breathe….

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” -Leonardo da Vinci

The EPA suggests that indoor air quality is typically 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air and Americans spend 85-95% of their time indoors.

Opening your windows in the summer may be easier, but opening them from time to time throughout the year enhances your indoor air quality. Pick a nicer day and open the windows a crack. Clean your air ducts every three to five years, especially after a dusty renovation.  The EPA tested kitchen ranges and found that 51% produced CO concentrations in the room above EPA standards. Use your range hood when cooking on the stove.

Add plants to most rooms in your home. Even if “you are not good with plants” it is well worth the small investment. Do not get hung up on keeping them perfect. They are real and natural has imperfections. Find low maintenance plants, making sure to properly cover them during colder months.

Buy a Healthy Mattress the Next Time Around.

You spend an average of 33 years or one-third of your life on your mattress. Look for organic materials like: 100% natural latex mattress and organic cotton. These options are double the cost of a standard mattress, but they are also known to last 3-5 times longer. If you cannot afford natural latex, polyethylene foam is considered a “safer” option and does not contain BPAs.

If you do decide to purchase polyurethane or memory foam, look for an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 or Greenguard Gold certification. Verify there are no added chemical flame retardants, fragrance or antimicrobials, and no PVC or vinyl. These materials give off Volatile Organic Compounds that are linked to respiratory problems. Fire-retardant chemicals are linked to cancer and hormone disruption. PVC and vinyl can damage reproductive health.

 Less Can Be Better

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris

Minimalism is back and trendsetters like Marie Kondo are asking if you do not have a personal connection to it and if it does not have a purpose, why is it there? Not everyone enjoys the Minimalist look, but you can take small steps to purge the excess you have in your home. Marie Kondo is not the first to recommend this and the benefits are freeing. It is less to clean, easier to clean….which equals healthier. It also improves mental health. You have less visual stress, less to maintain, and less to buy.