Finding rugs that are non-toxic rugs is essential for the health of both you and your family. You want a rug that is both beautiful and good for you instead of one that is going to leech hormone disruptors and harsh chemicals. Follow these tips to make sure that the rugs you purchase are as non-toxic as possible.
Research Brands Before Buying
Taking the time to look at a company’s website or send them an email can help you learn whether rugs are toxic. Ask them where their materials are sourced from, and what other ingredients are in the rug. This can tell you whether a rug is all natural.
Understand Common Terms Used To Describe Rugs
As you search for non-toxic rugs, you’ll come across a wide variety of terms used to describe them. For example, eco-friendly rugs, sustainable, and green. These are not the equivalent of a non-toxic rug.
Eco-friendly rugs are designed to protect the planet. That means that the rugs will not contain a toxic chemical that is bad for the Earth, but they may still contain chemicals that are bad for your health.
A company that advertises that they have “green” products is simply advertising that they are eco-friendly. Green is another term used to say environmentally friendly.
Sustainable products are great, but they are not always non-toxic. Sustainable materials are simply materials that are naturally sourced, so we will not run out of them. For example, wool is a sustainable source. However, sheep can also be treated with chemicals, which makes the wool more toxic.
Avoid Synthetic Rugs
Rugs made from synthetic materials are packed with chemicals. These rugs often contain harsh chemicals that emit an odor when you buy them. The VOCs released into the air are known to cause migraines in addition to other symptoms. Adhesives used in these rugs will break down over time, resulting in more chemicals being released into the air.
Most synthetic fibers are made from plastic. While plastic in these rugs may be BPA free, it is more than likely full of other chemicals. Many plastics are packed with known carcinogens.
Avoid Rug Backing Made Of Plastic
The backing that is used on rugs is made of plastic and occasionally rubber. This is not a sustainable material. It has the same VOCs that most rugs made from synthetic fibers do. These chemicals are released into the air via a process called off-gassing. Then, your family will breathe in those chemicals. This can cause kidney and liver damage as well as other side effects, such as nose and throat irritation.
Rug backing is found in all machine made rugs. This includes rugs that are made from mostly natural materials, such as machine tufted wool rugs. The backing is used to hold the fibers in place.
It’s important to note that all hand-tufted rugs do have a backing. These are advertised as hand tufted to insinuate that they are made by hand, but they are commonly made by a machine. The machine shoves pieces of wool through the backing, and the backing keeps it in place.
You can avoid purchasing rugs with a backing that has toxic chemicals by picking up a handwoven or hand-knotted rug. Artisans carefully weave every rug together so that they do not have to use backing.
Backing that is made of natural latex is also considered safe. Natural latex is made by harvesting sap from rubber trees. Then, it is baked in ovens. There are no chemicals, such as pesticides or formaldehyde, used. Most people do not have an allergic reaction to natural latex.
Antique Handmade Rugs Are Safe
It can be hard to investigate heirloom rugs that are passed down from one generation to the next. You can trust that these are as safe as modern hand-knotted rugs because artisans use the same process to craft handmade rugs.
These beautiful wool rugs do not contain the harmful chemicals that are used to dye rugs. Instead, fruits, vegetables, and plants were used to naturally stain the natural fibers.
The first synthetic dyes were created in the 1850’s. After that, they were used to dye both natural wool fibers and synthetic fibers in rugs. By the 1900’s, these synthetic dyes were used in almost all rugs. If you can find a rug that was crafted by an artisan before 1850, you can trust that it is one of the most non-toxic rugs.
Older Carpets And Machine Made Rugs Are Very Toxic
Older carpets and rugs should be discarded. These were produced long before companies quit putting harmful chemicals and endocrine disruptors, such as BPA, in their products. Because of that, they have more VOCs and toxic chemicals in them than most modern rugs and carpets.
Avoid Artificially Water Resistant Rugs
Natural materials, such as seagrass, that are water resistant are a wonderful option. However, you want to avoid rugs that have a water resistant coating on them. Water repellent can be made of silicone, which is a polymer plastic. It can have hydrocarbons in it, which can cause harm to both humans and animals. Those chemicals will be released into the air during off-gassing.
It’s common for rugs to have flame retardant chemicals. This is one of the most common chemicals found in rugs. Chemicals used as a flame retardant tend to accumulate in humans because our bodies have a difficult time eliminating them. They are a known carcinogen. Fire retardant chemicals can also cause neurological problems and a disruption in the endocrine system.
Stain Resistant Rugs
When companies advertise that a rug is designed to resist stains, it is because they have used chemicals to make the rug less absorbent. This includes water repellant in addition to a protective coating that prevents staining.
These coatings slowly emit gasses into the air that are known to cause the same symptoms that VOCs do. This is often why these rugs omit an odor after you first bring them home. While this odor is most noticeable after first purchasing the rug, that doesn’t mean that the rug is done putting chemicals into the air when you cannot smell them. Instead, rugs continue to omit small doses of gasses the entire time that they are in your home.
Opt For Natural Materials
When shopping for non-toxic area rugs, it’s important to look for natural fiber rugs. These rugs are made from natural materials that are not manufactured in a shop so they are not full of the harsh chemicals that synthetic rugs are.
Organic cotton and wool rugs are made from sustainable materials. That means that we are not using resources that cannot be replaced. When we choose renewable sources like these, we’re choosing products that are not only better for us, they help reduce our carbon footprint on the plant.
Natural materials are carefully woven together to keep the natural fibers in place. Because of that, you’ll instantly enjoy having a rug that doesn’t have adhesives. The adhesives that are used to hold synthetic fibers together are known for having a high level of carcinogens, and possibly formaldehyde, in them.
We have a large collection of hand-knotted rugs available to help you create a healthy home environment! It doesn’t matter whether you’re searching for geometric patterns or contemporary patterns, we have the perfect rug for your home. Browse our vast collection today.