Sustain The Planet By Greening-Up Your Carpet Routine

Posted on: 29 December 2014

If you're trying to live in a more eco-friendly and sustainable manner, you're probably already shopping with reusable shopping bags, recycling your cardboard and plastic, and trying to purchase more items made from recycled materials. When you're ready to take green living to the next level, just look down -- at your carpet. Whether you're thinking of replacing your carpet, having new carpet installed for the first time, or simply adopting greener practices when it comes to caring for your carpet, these tips will point you in the right direction.

Choose carpets made from natural, renewable resources.

If you're having new carpet installed in your home, make sure you choose carpet made from natural fibers rather than from manufactured, petroleum-based products like nylon. Some common choices include:

Wool: Especially when colored with natural vegetable dyes, wool carpets are earth-friendly because they're made with a renewable resource. Keep in mind, sheep are not killed in the process of making wool -- they are simply sheared when spring comes, and left to grow new coats to stay warm through the coming winter.

Sisal: A popular choice for rustic and beach-style homes, sisal carpets are made from tough fibers that will survive wear and tear. Sisal does not trap dust, so it's easy to keep clean.

Cotton: Cotton carpet was very popular in the United States before World War II, but has since been upstaged by synthetic fibers. It's a great choice if you're looking for a soft, comfortable carpet. Just make sure you choose a carpet made from organic cotton and dyed with natural compounds.

Make sure your carpet company uses green installation techniques.

Equally as important as the type of carpet you choose is the way it is installed. Before you hire a carpet installation company, make sure they use padding that is made from sustainable materials such as cotton or recycled plastics. Also make sure they they use an eco-friendly adhesive. If you're having an old carpet removed, consider looking for a company that will recycle or reuse your old carpet, rather then letting it rot in a landfill.

Avoid harsh, chemical carpet cleaners.

If you already have carpet in your home and it's in good condition, the most eco-friendly choice is likely to leave it in place, rather than generate more waste than is necessary by replacing it. By keeping your carpet clean, you can extend its lifespan -- but you need to be sure you're using the right kind of cleaning products to do so. Stay away from conventional carpet shampoos, which may leave behind chemical residues that are bad for the environment and for your health. Vacuum several times per week, so you don't have to shampoo as often, and when you do shampoo your rug, use a product that is labeled "green" or "eco-friendly." These often have active ingredients such as white vinegar or baking soda.

Use baking soda to eliminate odors naturally.

Carpets do tend to attract odors, especially if you have pets. It's common for homeowners to treat smelly carpets with baking-soda based deodorizing powders, which they sprinkle on and vacuum away several hours later. Plain baking soda is just as effective as these odor-fighting powders, and it does not contain the irritating artificial fragrances that commercial carpet fresheners do,

To treat your carpets with plain baking soda, sprinkle 3 - 4 cups over the carpet in a standard-sized room. Let the baking soda sit for at least 3 hours, and then vacuum it up. The odors will be vacuumed up with it.

Carpets made from artificial fibers can release volatile organic compounds into the air, and they're also not very eco-friendly to produce. By choosing natural carpet fibers, making sure they're installed sustainably, and caring for them with natural products, you can reduce your impact on the environment and help preserve the Earth for future generations.