Environmentally Friendly Floor Finishes
Commercially available floor wax products often contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, cresol, and nitrobenzene. These chemicals have been linked to various heath problems such as asthma and other respiratory issues, as well as kidney damage, and contribute to indoor air pollution. They are also considered potentially carcinogenic .
You needn’t trade your health for beautiful floors. There are products that don’t contain harsh chemicals. These eco-friendly products are not only better for your health; they’re better for the health of the planet.
Before chemical solvents and waxes came on the market, people used natural oils on their wood floors.
LINSEED OIL FINISH FOR WOODEN FLOORS
Linseed oil is extracted from flaxseed, and provides a protective coating for your floors. The drawback is linseed oil takes some time to dry, so you need to stay off the floor for a few hours. Besides it being a natural product, a benefit of linseed oil is its availability. It can found at most home improvement stores.
TUNG OIL FINISH FOR WOODEN FLOORS
Tung oil is derived from the nut of the Tung tree, which is indigenous to China. Tung oil, like linseed oil, provides protection and shine, but takes less time to dry. Another option is good old-fashioned Murphy’s Oil. While this product is generally intended for furniture, it also serves to clean and shine your wood floors. Like linseed oil and tung oil, it is readily available at most home improvement stores.
WAXES FOR HARDWOOD FLOORS
Better Homes and Gardens has much to say about what kind of floor wax is best suited to your floors. They suggest reading the labels and understanding the information on the type of wax needed. “Not only will the regular waxes possibly harm your recycled wood floors but they may contain harmful pollutants that you and your family could breathe in that could possibly aggravate already annoying sinus and breathing conditions.”
CHEMICALS TO STAY AWAY FROM
Wax products for your hardwood floor are an important part of maintaining those floors. Just as important as what product you use to clean and wax your floors is how you clean them. To avoid an excess of wax building up on the flooring surface, use only cleaners that are recommended for hardwoods; any product for hardwood should be labelled as such, and shouldn’t be an all purpose cleaner or wax used on multiple surfaces. Don’t use floor waxes that contain formaldehyde, cresol, nitrobenzene and toluene, is the main advice.
For the absolute best floor waxes select one from the Environmental Home Center:
BIOSHIELD FLOOR WAX
Bioshield is a floor wax was designed with the people living in the home in mind; it is not only a wax to shield the floor from scuffs and wear, it is likewise designed to protect the health of those who walk on these floors. There are no toxic fumes escaping when the wax is being used, nor will it have any lingering harmful effects from scrapes of the wax after applied. It’s made of ” beeswax, linseed oil, orange peel oil, isoaliphatics, carnauba wax, larch resin, essential oils and lead-free dryers”
#300 CARNAUBA FLOOR WAX
#300 Carnauba Floor Wax comes from a palm plant that grows in a Brazil. From the leaf surfaces of the Copernicia cerifera tree, a waxy like substance is collected. In this particular part of north eastern Brazil, this plant is plentiful. It’s named for the Indian tribe, Carnaubeira, that harvested the wax.
BILO FLOOR WAX
Bilo floor wax is a mixture of linseed oil, beeswax, carnauba wax, orange oil, isoaliphates and Dammar resin. Floors thus treated present a gloss, and gives an “elastic, anti-static finish.”
OTHER ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FLOOR CARE BRANDS
Orange Glo offers several water-based floor care products to clean and maintain your hardwood floors. Though not a wax, the cleaning systems offered by Orange Glo do include a finish that brings out the natural grain and sheen of your wood floors.
BioShield Wax Finish is also a water-based product made up of Carnauba wax, alcohol ester, water, and coconut soap. This eco-friendly product is available at bioshields.com.
There are numerous non-toxic cleaners for wood floors available at home improvement stores. Be sure to read the label, and if in doubt, ask a store associate for advice. you should also consider using a decent floor buffer.
Store the cloth, the “cleaning pads, sponges or whatever has a touch of this floor wax that’s still wet, in an airtight metal container. For example, linseed oil is combustible and there is a possibility of “spontaneous combustion“. Too, keep out if the reach of children.