Last week we did this post about tips on how you can migrate to green living and a green home. In this post, we’ll introduce you to mats that are sustainably made from eco-friendly natural materials. Jute, sisal, hemp, seagrass, coir, wood, they’re all non-synthetic materials and, hence, easy on the environment. They are biodegradable and are made from renewable crop plants and trees, so their production does not have an environmental cost attached.
Natural fiber and recycled material mats are pretty versatile. They can be used in several different areas in the house as well as outside it.
Doormats need to be tough, weather resistant, and most importantly, they should be able to clean shoe soles and rid them of dirt. And for that reason, coir doormats are the preferred mats that people like to place outside their doors. They are eco-friendly, great boot scrapers, tough, elegant, and come in a wide range of designs, shapes, and prints. Another natural material that is a favourite with people is recycled rubber. Again, recycled rubber has environmental benefits apart from being very sturdy in all weather conditions: they are made from recycling rubber. They come moulded in pretty designs and are easy to clean. You also get rubber coir mats that combine the sturdiness of rubber with the boot scraping abilities of coir.
Jute, sisal, hemp, river grass, bamboo, cloth and sea grass are just some of the natural fibers used for making indoor floor mats and doormats. These fiber mats are more delicate and hence they make better indoor floor mats, as the chances of being exposed to dirt and tough weather conditions and subsequent wear and tear are lower indoors. With proper care, these mats can last for quite some time.
Thanks to their softer textures, these natural fiber mats make very good floor mats around the house. They can be used outside bedrooms, in the laundry area, at the foot of your bed, outside the bathroom and anywhere else you feel they can be used. They are also great to place at the entrance of your backyard garden to catch extra mud that can come in with shoes.
Recycled rubber mats can be used as garden pavers to help provide grip and prevent slips and falls on wet mud. They can be used as stair treads to reduce slipping, especially when you have elderly people at home. They also make great indoor stair mats.
Coco mats that can be used both indoors and outdoors and are excellent boot scrapers. They come in a wide selection of designs and styles. They also offer you the options of customizing with a line or design, or personalizing with a name or monogram.
Coir mats can be vacuumed, brushed, or beaten with a broom to get dust and debris out of its fibers. Coir cannot be washed with water as this would ruin the natural fibers. This simple cleaning routine for coir mats will help you keep them clean.
For those living in seaside locations or in cities that do not see too much rain and slush, jute mats can make great indoor doormats, sometimes as a second doormat inside the entrance. They add that extra layer of cleaning by wiping dust and dry debris from shoes and flip flops, helping you keep the insides of the house that much cleaner and hygienic (read less frequent vacuuming!)
Jute mats can also be used around the house as floor mats outside bathrooms, bedrooms, in laundry areas.
Jute cannot be washed with water. Being a natural fiber, it will absorb water which will damage it. Wet jute fibers do not dry fast and can lead to mold, mildew, and rot. Instead jute mats can be cleaned simply by vacuuming them. You can also leave them out in the sun periodically to get any wetness out of them. Even if you do not have the time to vacuum the mat, a regular dusting by simply beating the mat with a broom or stick should get dust out of it. Try this cleaning routine to get your jute or sisal mats clean without damaging them.
Wood mats are great to use outside bathrooms, shower stalls, and bathtubs as they are unaffected by water and do not slip around on the floor. They are hardy enough to be used as indoor and outdoor doormats.
These mats can be cleaned by wiping with a wet cloth to get dust off. If they get very dirty, use soap and water. Most days, however, regular cleaning with a broom or brush should be sufficient to get the dirt and dust off them.
Another good outdoor doormat is the recycled rubber doormat. These mats are made from recycled truck tires and actually help recycle old tires that would have otherwise simply added to landfills. You also get recycled rubber coir doormats that combine the superior scraping action of coir with the heavy-duty durability and moisture resistance of rubber. Rubber is a sturdy material that can withstand tough weather conditions as well as rough use. Moreover, since they are water resistant, rubber mats are a great choice in areas that see a lot of rainfall, snow, and ice conditions. Unlike natural fiber mats, rubber will not fall prey to mold, mildew, and rot under wet weather conditions.
Recycled rubber mats are extremely low maintenance and can be washed off with soap and water. If they are extra dirty, use a brush or a pressure hose to get them clean.
Rubber coir mats are mainly used as indoor outdoor doormats. Coir adds that scraping action that does a thorough job of getting rid of dirt from shoes.
These doormats must not be washed with soap and water as it would damage the coco fibers. Instead, dust the mat with a broom, brush the surface to get rid of stuck dirt and debris, or simply vacuum. The underside of the mat is made of rubber and can be wiped clean with soap and water.
Sea Grass, River Grass or Korai Grass
These are mostly woven mats, rugs, and runners. They make great mats to use on your porch or on the lawn or outdoors when on picnic as well. Sea grass has insulating properties and has been used in oriental and Asian cultures as window blinds to keep out heat and dust.
As with all natural fibers, it is not advisable to wash sea grass mats with soap and water to avoid damaging them. Vacuum clean regularly, scrape dry dirt and food spills as and when they happen, and spot clean with a gentle soap solution and cloth, drying it off immediately so the fibers do not sustain damage. Here is a guide to cleaning sea grass mats.
Cloth and Wool
Natural cotton durries, runners, and area rugs are great replacement for synthetic carpets and area rugs. They are softer, cooler, gentler on the skin, and easier to clean and maintain. They are a lot cheaper and bring a folksy, bohemian eclectic feel to your spaces.
Cleaning cloth rugs is as easy as tossing them in the washing machine and machine drying or line drying them. If they are wrinkled from the wash, they can even be ironed! These mats are non-fussy and lowest in maintenance.
Wool carpets and area rugs are a great choice when you live in colder climates as nothing can really offer the warmth and insulation that wool does. Also, wool is a renewable material that discourages bacterial growth. The lanolin in the material repels dust mites and stains. Wool is on the expensive side and with proper care, it can last very long and will be completely worth your investment.
Wool rugs have this simple routine cleaning procedure that can be done at home. For a deep clean, it’s best to call in the experts.
If you are considering living green, then these mats are a great switch from the usual polypropylene, EVA foam, nylon, and polyamide mats. They are also a lot safer to have in the house when you have infants and toddlers walking and playing around.
We hope these natural fiber flooring choices have opened up a range flooring and doormat options for you. We also hope that you can add as much sustainability to your lifestyle and home as possible.