The best flooring options for a healthy home are natural materials like wood (especially recycled or bamboo), tiles, linoleum (not vinyl), sisal, coir or seagrass. Hard floors have the advantage of being able to be swept clean, and they don’t hold dirt and allergens like carpet can. And if you use natural finishes, they won’t off gas air pollutants like synthetic finishes or new carpet can.
At Happy Earth, we took out the synthetic carpet and had the cyprus floorboards sanded back. To bring them to life and protect them, we applied Livos Ardvos Wood Oil. It’s a natural linseed based oil from The Natural Paint Place. Natural oils are fantastic - much more people and eco friendly than synthetic finishes like polyurethane. We applied three coats of the oil ourselves and love the honey coloured, matt finish. Another great advantage of natural oils, is that if you scratch the floors, you can just give that patch a light sand and apply some more oil – brilliant!
We considered using tung oil, another natural oil, but the linseed based option is much easier to apply and maintain. If you are thinking of tung oil, be aware that most products in the shops labelled tung oil are misleading, and are made mostly of synthetic resin varnishes.
It’s good idea to mop your floors regularly with a microfiber mop, which uses only water and no chemical cleaners. Adding a little vinegar to the water acts as a natural disinfectant.
With rugs and doormats think coir, hemp, jute, sisal, seagrass, or fairly traded products. And second-hand is always good!
http://www.energyandwatersolutions.com.au - The Natural Paint Place, non toxic floor oils and paints
http://www.organoil.com.au – A range of natural indoor and outdoor timber oils and finishes
http://www.naturalfloor.com.au - Coir, sisal, seagrass and even paper floor coverings and rugs
http://www.newint.com.au/catalog - Fair trade products including a great coir door mat with the dove peace symbol