Almost 20 years ago, we purchased a house from the original owners and vowed to remove all of the carpet. Originally, this initiative was driven by the discovery of several large stains thanks to a Labrador that lived with a family, but it became a greater priority when we discovered the homeowners were smokers. The second-hand smoke penetrated everything.
Though it took a decade and a half to replace all of the flooring with ceramic tile or hardwood, it was worth the wait! Removing toxic carpet full of pet dander, urine stains and second-hand smoke provided immediate relief for seasonal allergies. Adding a garden in the backyard complemented internal efforts to improve health. A regular diet of ample organically grown fruits and vegetables provided an additional immunity boost. The instances of illness and severity of allergies went down drastically over time.
But there was one small problem. After eliminating the carpet, it seemed like a good idea to keep area rugs and thick cotton bath mats to prevent falls and provide comfort. In a house with two and a half baths and a large kitchen, not to mention several entry ways, the combined square footage of rugs could easily surpass the square footage of carpet in a large room. To avoid the negative impact of dust, mold or dirt, the floor coverings were washed frequently in a commercial washing machine purchased specifically to accommodate large rugs and bedding. Besides the concern of breaking the washing machine due to extremely heavy and unbalanced loads, it seemed pointless to waste so much energy and effort. There had to be a better alternative!
During a routine shopping trip, a retail store had a bamboo “mat” on sale that looked more like a small pallet than a mat. Could this be the answer to not washing a thick bathroom shower rug up to three times per week? No. The bamboo “platform” didn’t stand a chance. It slid out from underfoot the first time each family member used it and was deemed a safety hazard. It went right back to the store.
A few months later, another retailer had a flat bamboo mat with anti-skid material on the bottom. Bingo! Within months, the other full bath had a similar bamboo mat, and the long kitchen rug was replaced with a long bamboo mat designed for kitchen areas. What a difference! This inexpensive change saved well over 100 loads of laundry per year, extended the life of the washer by reducing the risk of damage associated with unbalanced heavy loads, saved tons of energy, water and time related to cleaning, and provided an environmentally friendly non-toxic floor covering alternative. The only regret is that the change wasn’t made sooner!
©Room2GrowGarden.com, February 12, 2018