Let’s face it: everything you use and produce affects in environment in some way. Sustainability often comes into conflict with our purchases, forcing us to choose between comfort and environmental responsibility. The race is on to find options that meet both criteria, but one of the most sustainable, highest-performing materials is also one of the oldest: wool.
So what does it mean for a textile to be sustainable?
First, we have to look at the cost of extracting the raw materials. The environmental sacrifice of water and land to raise sheep for wool harvesting is far lower than that of extracting fossil fuels to create synthetic fibers.
Next up is textile production, which primarily measures the water and energy used for manufacturing. Because wool is spun from naturally-occurring, rapidly renewable fibers, it requires far less in the way of production than its synthetic counterparts.
Wool also wins out in terms of added chemistry—namely because it needs very little. Where some other fabrics contain harmful added chemical finishes and coatings with potentially carcinogenic properties, wool can rely on its natural flame-and-water-repellent properties to achieve the same effects without the environmental damage.
Finally, wool boasts the ultimate advantage: it is biodegradable. At the end of its life cycle, wool recycles naturally back into the earth. In contrast, many synthetic fibers are only recyclable indefinitely —and some not at all.
What makes wool a high-performance fabric?
The other side of the equation is performance: we want a material that meets high sustainability standards without compromising quality. Wool comes through on this front as well.
A highly durable “miracle fabric,” wool lasts for generations without significant wear, meaning your grandchildren could display the same rug in their home that you have under your feet right now.
And did we mention it’s beautiful?
Your New Hardwood Floors
Your hardwood floors are installed, your home is gleaming and fresh—everything looks perfect. But what about when your home meets your life? If dirt, mess, and scuffs are threatening to take the skip out of your step, just follow these guidelines to make sure your floors look good-as-new every day of the year.
And How to Keep Them Looking Great
- Leave your troubles at the door. When it comes to hardwood floors, doormats are your best friend. Keep the dirt, sand, and grime on the mat and you won’t have to worry as much about what’s ending up on your floors. Note: make sure you get a mat made especially for hardwood floors, as some rubber-backed mats can actually damage your hardwood floors over time.
- Make a clean sweep of it. Invest in a quality broom—ideally soft and fine-bristled—and sweep your floors often to get rid of any dirt or dust that may be giving your floors a dingy appearance.
- Be wary of water. Water may be essential for your well-being, but your hardwood floors are better off without it. Clean up any spills right away with a soft towel to keep your gorgeous floors from developing stains or becoming warped.
- Mop at your own risk. If you’re going to mop your floors, make sure your mop is drier than it is damp—any excess water can seep into seams and ruin your wood floors.
- Don’t let furniture be a drag. We mean this literally—never drag your furniture across hardwood floors. Clean the floor thoroughly before attempting to move furniture, and then use gliding furniture pads underneath the piece to ensure that it slides across the floor with ease.
- Make a run(ner) for it. Consider using carpet runners over wood floors in high-traffic areas to minimize impact on your floors.
- Get the dirt on hardwood. Make sure you vacuum area rugs and runners often so dirt doesn’t filter down through the weave and scratch the wood underneath.
- Keep traffic in check. Moving furniture around can be even more damaging to hardwood floors than constant foot traffic. Use furniture pads under table and chair legs and on the feet of dressers and armoires to keep your floors dent-and-scuff-free.
And most importantly…
- When in doubt, ask! We at Dover are happy to provide recommendations and more specific instructions to ensure that your hardwood floors stay as beautiful as they day you got them.