7 Rug Materials to Avoid When Shopping

Rugs are not all created the same. There are quite a few rugs that are made from nasty materials that you need to avoid. Other materials may simply be inconvenient, in which case you may want to avoid them as well. When shopping for rugs, keep an eye out for these materials.

Artificial Silk

Natural materials like silk are excellent materials for rugs. This has led to companies creating synthetic materials that feel the same as the natural option, such as rayon, which is designed to feel similar to silk.

Artificial materials do not provide the same benefits. Rugs will not last as long. The dye will leech easier. Often, these rugs may be stained from cleaning chemicals, or the rug will look worn after one professional cleaning.

Avoid this by checking the tag of the rug to determine all of the installation materials used. Rugs with the ingredient “art silk” are made with artificial silk.

Polymer-Based Rugs

Polymer is the primary ingredient in propylene rugs. It’s frequently used in the rubber backing that you see on synthetic rugs. This is a very problematic material.

Most plastics leech chemicals and gasses into the air, such as VOCs. The ingredients in polymer based rugs can be toxic chemicals that are carinogens, such as the red dye used to transform strands of plastic into the sturdy material that we see in rugs. Plastics that are BPA free have previously been identified as containing other chemicals that are known to disrupt hormones in the body. It’s best to simply avoid this material.


Polyester rugs are easy to find and do not cost a lot. However, polyester is known for being a type of material that quickly wears down. You cannot use a carpet cleaner on this material. The lack of durability is going to make you regret buying a polyester rug.


Seagrass is one of the safest materials when it comes to whether or not there are toxic chemicals in your rugs because it is all natural. However, seagrass is also a very tough material. It won’t feel comfortable on your bare feet. These rugs are best used indoors for aesthetic appeal.

Dead Wool

Dead wool is a type of wool that is sheered from sheep that are dead or very sick. Because the sheep are dead, the wool does not have the same oils in it that can make wool rugs soft and durable.

This type of wool is not considered high quality wool. It will deteriorate at a faster rate. Rugs made from dead wool will not feel as comfortable as those that are made from the wool of a healthy sheep.

Avoid Nylon Rugs

Nylon rugs are often full of chemicals and toxic ingredients like other synthetic rugs are. They are known for releasing toxic gasses, such as VOCs. These can cause headaches, congestion, nose and throat irritation, and contribute to kidney or liver damage. It’s best to avoid these rugs as they can continue to emit low levels of VOCs the entire time that you have them.

Rugs With Rubber Backings

You may see an all natural rug that has a rubber backing. This backing is often made from the same chemicals that plastic rugs are. These chemicals can release VOCs into the air and expose you to hormone disruptors.

When purchasing a rug online, ask the store if it will come with a backing on it. When shopping for a rug in person, simply look at the back of the rug to determine if it has a rubber or plastic backing.

All natural, hand-knotted rugs are the best choice for customers that would like a non-toxic rug. These rugs are carefully crafted using sustainable materials that will not hurt your health or the planet. Learn more about toxic rugs and chemicals to avoid by reading the rest of our informative blogs.