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How Hardwood Floors Can Make Your Home Healthier

parent and child's feet on hardwood floorIt is no secret that hardwood floors are a major favorite for homeowners. There are many other flooring options that have gained and lost popularity over the years, but wood has always been a top choice. Apart from the understated elegance and value that hardwood floors can add to your home, they can also benefit your health. Research suggests that choosing wood over carpet, for example, can actually improve the air quality in your home.

The answer to how hardwood floors can improve indoor air quality lies in the natural composition of wood and the structures of hardwood floors. There are four major contaminants that are known to cause air pollution and respiratory ailments:

  • nitrogen oxide
  • carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • particulate matter

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin studied these four pollutants, comparing their presence in five different floor coverings. Their results suggest that wood floors emit no methane or nitrogen oxide and harmlessly low levels of carbon dioxide. They also found that hardwood flooring, unlike carpet, does not harbor allergens like dust, mold, and animal dander, and won’t hold onto other harmful substances that are often tracked in from the outdoors. These attributes all give hardwoods a gold star in the “green” department.

But, is carpet really the bad guy?

This line of thinking will have most people believing that dust mites, pollen, and other allergens are easily trapped in your carpet– and surprisingly enough, the carpet industry agrees. Studies published by the Carpet and Rug Institute compared levels of airborne particles in carpeted rooms against non-carpeted rooms. The data collected supports the claim that carpeted surfaces trap more particles. But, carpet makers suggest that this is a benefit because fewer particles will be disturbed when someone walks across the carpet, and less allergens will be cast into the breathing zone.

So which flooring type is healthiest?

While allergens and other particles may be trapped in carpet, they are still present. Many believe that being able to see and remove dust on your floors is better that having it invisibly trapped all over your house. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, hardwood floors are the ideal flooring type for people with allergies and asthma.

The trick, then, is keeping your hardwood floors clean, and there’s really not much to it. Simply sweep your wood floor regularly with a dust mop or soft-bristle broom to pick up surface dirt and debris. For occasional deeper cleaning (consider this in the Spring and Fall), saturate a sponge or mop in a diluted, wood-specific cleaning solution. Wring it out until it’s only slightly damp and gently scrub your floors from wall to wall. Be careful not to leave puddles anywhere, and then rinse the floor with clean water if the instruction suggest it.

More questions about your flooring options? Call Carpet USA Inc. today at (360) 254-6668.