START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Natural Floor Cleaning: Easy Greening

  • 1 of 2
Natural Floor Cleaning: Easy Greening

The image of Cinderella on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor is meant to evoke pity. It’s the same reason that seductive new floor cleaning products and systems are constantly introduced to entice us. Cleaning the floor can be the most woeful of chores—and most of us wouldn’t mind a small miracle to ease the agony. Unfortunately many of the conventional cleaning products that promise an easy and sparkling floor, are terrible for our health and the environment. We can’t provide a fairy godmother here, but we can show you how to clean your floors without compromising your health.

If you use conventional cleaning products on your floor, well, think of it as swishing and swashing potentially toxic chemicals across the largest surface area of your home. And then consider the Environmental Protection Agency study showing indoor levels of pollutants (like formaldehyde, chloroform, and styrene) ranging from two to 50 times higher than outdoor levels—much of it from conventional cleaning supplies. Some floor cleaners include a surprisingly toxic ingredient list—people exposed to the heavy-duty cleaners often experience eye irritation, dizziness, loss of concentration, fatigue, wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Floor cleaners that give you shine also give you off-gassing of petroleum-based polymers. In addition, most of the fragrance that accompanies conventional floor cleaners are either indoor air pollutants on their own, or are inert on their own but mix with ozone to create formaldehyde and other toxic air contaminates.

“Smart” Floor Maintenance Tips
The key to minimizing the need for cleaning formulas is good regular maintenance. Dirt on the floor can abrade the surface making the floor even harder to clean. Here are some “smart” techniques that reduce the need for cleaning:
• Place doormats at the entrances (called walk-off mats, will reduce not just dirt but lead and pesticides).
• Ask that shoes be removed at the entrance.
• Plan regular sweeping, vacuuming or dust-mopping.

Cleaning Overview by Floor Type
Different flooring surfaces require a specific type of cleaning process. Using the wrong method and formula for your specific flooring material can eventually (or quickly) ruin the floor. For all of the following tips, please test first on an inconspicuous are to determine compatibility with your floor.

Floor care for all wood floors is not the same. You need to know if your wood has a surface finish or if it has a penetrating finish.

WOOD FLOORS: SURFACE FINISH
A floor with a surface finish is very shiny and glossy, and is protected by the coating on top of the surface. Surface finishes sit on top of the wood surface, like paint, and include varnish, polyurethane (urethane), acrylic and epoxy.

Damp mopping wood floors with a surface finish
Consider water an enemy to a wood floor. If it soaks in, warping and damage will ensue. Damp mopping is a method whereby the mop is barely wet, you do not want puddles of water on your wood floor. Depending on how much traffic your floor sees or in specific rooms (the kitchen), you may have to mop it as often as once a week—other areas may need it much less. To damp mop, wet the mop and wring as much water out as possible. Go over the floor twice, first to dissolve the dirt and then again, after rinsing the mop and ringing it thoroughly, again to rinse. The floor can then be buffed dry with a towel—this is done easily by attaching a towel to a clamp mop handle.

Don’t
• Don’t use oil soaps, wax cleaners, or products that promise “shine.” They leave build up and create problems when it’s time to put a new surface coat on the floor.
• Don’t use vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and cloudy—which can only be fixed by sanding and refinishing.
• Don’t use ammonia cleaners they will dull the finish and performance of your floor.
• Don’t use vinegar. Low pH cleaners (acidic, like vinegar) can dissolve hard water and mineral deposits, but can’t tackle dirt and grime. Many people rely on vinegar, but since it is an acid it will eventually dull the finish.
• Don’t use high pH cleaners (more alkaline, like harsher soaps) are good at dissolving dirt and grime. But will also eventually dull the finish.

Do
• The best non-toxic floor cleaning solution is ¼ of a cup of mild liquid dishwashing detergent added to a bucket of warm water (for damp mopping).
• For scuff marks use a sprinkle of baking soda on a damp sponge and rub.

  • 1 of 2

Read more: Green Home Decor, Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning, , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

91 comments

+ add your own
4:26PM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

I totally agree. Getting interaction into forex easy a blog post, helps the actual blog post gain more traction

1:12AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

Great site for natural wooden flooring cleaning. I have some tips please visit here: http://www.shubh-enterprises.in

1:10AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

Great site for natural wooden flooring cleaning. I have some tips please visit here: http://www.shubh-enterprises.in

5:16AM PDT on Jun 21, 2014

Why you do not use Steam Mop to clean your floor. It is easy and save your time !

3:12AM PDT on May 2, 2014

The company I used to work with before spent a lot on I used to spend a lot on cleaning and then we hired in one of those facilities management consultancy companies which saved us a fortune- would definitely recommend!

4:21AM PST on Mar 4, 2014

As we all know that the floor cleaning lubricants are made by some chemicals which will be harmful for children and for us also. So I always appreciate natural floor cleaning techniques. So, thanks for sharing the natural floor cleaning tips. I would like you to invite http://cleanritefloorcare.com/ for some more floor cleaning services

4:12AM PST on Mar 4, 2014

As we all know that the floor cleaning lubricants are made by some chemicals which will be harmful for children and for us also. So I always appreciate natural floor cleaning techniques. So, thanks for sharing the natural floor cleaning tips. I would like you to invite www.cleanritefloorcare.com for some more floor cleaning services.

10:02PM PST on Feb 27, 2014

Instead of fabric softeners, use splash of vinegar. The maid we appointed from residential cleaning service always clean our home with the ingredients in our home itself. She don’t use any toxic cleaning products.

9:06PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

I know we would never intentionally smear the floors our kids crawl on with chemicals that cause reproductive toxicity or asthma, but it is still important to know what products are essentially causing us to do this. As a matter of fact, all the MOP & GLO products received “F” ratings, which concerns me because I know so many people who use them to clean their floors. That’s why I am always so eager to talk about the Norwex Mop.

The Norwex Mop System is a completely different process than anything you’ve ever used to clean your floors. First, do the quick dry cleaning by running the yellow, dry mop pad across your floors in a figure 8 pattern. The dry microfiber pad will pick up dirt, dust, and other allergens from the floor. Use the Rubber Brush to clean off the debris when you’re done and throw it in the laundry when it needs a cleaning.

Next, wet the blue, antibacterial cleaning pad under some warm water, wring it out, and start mopping in a figure 8 pattern. When the front edges are looking a little dirty, just take off the pad, rinse it off, and keep going. This prevents the spread of dirty water and best of all, there are NO chemicals! The microfiber does it all.

The best part of this system is that you don’t have to waste money and resources buying new mop pads all the time – once they become dirty, just throw them in the wash with the towels and they’re good as new! The Norwex mop has a two year warranty.

No che

6:10AM PST on Nov 22, 2013

Great blog! Very smart tips of natural floor maintenace.

http://yourvacuumcleaners.com/best-seller/

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Great reminders, thanks.

ty

Catman P. Catman P.
on Curried Rice Salad
18 minutes ago

Thanks

Marie W. Marie W.
on Curried Rice Salad
30 minutes ago

Am not a cranberry fan, but do know of their health potential. Have a great lemon Jello mold rec…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.