At Genesis Building Services we deal with carpeting every day and understand the issues with VOCs. There are many industrial materials involved in production of carpets. The right carpet or rug for your living space depends on your budget and level of sensitivity to these materials. However, regardless of your sensitivity, VOCs are not good for people or pets and you should try to reduce the level of VOCs in your home.
VOCs are gases which may cause symptoms like nausea, fatigue and allergies. Tracking these compounds in your home, and excluding them from your buying decision, is the first step toward better living environment.
There are several brands on the market that do provide low VOC rugs and carpets. Past this threshold, there are also options of fiber, thickness, design, and ecological sustainability. To guide you through the technicalities and styles of carpet choices, we decided to look into some of the best low VOC area rugs and carpets on the market today.
Low VOC Area Rugs
By installing low-VOC or eco-friendly area rugs, and other flooring materials, a customer chooses to create a living environment that is safe and sustainable. The biggest names on the low-VOC area rug market are brands like Safavieh, Earth Weave, nuLOOM, Bloomsbury Carpet, Helios and Woolshire. These brands offer green-labeled carpets with low VOC toxicity levels,
Here are some of the best low-VOC rugs by material.
A natural carpet fiber extracted from the leaves of the Agave plant, sisal makes for highly durable area rugs. The rugs are usually bound with canvas board for a sophisticated looking structure. It is naturally eco-friendly, stain resistant, heavy duty, does not built static, and does not trap any dust or allergens.
Because of its neutral color, it pretty much goes together with any decor of choice. On top of all this, sisal has a dense molecular structure that absorbs sound better than any other carpet fiber.
With most traditional rug-fiber, wool area rugs are stylish, colorful and affordable. They are naturally fire, stain and soil resistant. They also absorb sound and offer a warm cozy accent to any decor. Not only are they easy to maintain but also come in a variety of styles. Wool also contains lanolin, a natural protectant against allergens and moisture.
Cotton is the most common global natural fiber. It is mostly cellulose and has been used as textile for centuries. Cotton area rugs add a lighter lustrous effect than the regular thick rug. It has a soft and breathable texture, so it is more sensitive than durable. Cotton area rugs are easier to machine wash, making them extremely manageable.
These area rugs are made from the jute threads derived from the Jute plant common in India and China. The fiber is renewable, biodegradable, malleable and long-lasting. It is not as durable as sisal but the its consistency allows for small or chunky carpet braids. While there isn’t much design variability, it is highly eco-friendly.
Carpets are a crucial to the air quality in your home, potentially acting like a storage for dust, bacteria, allergens, mites and other chemical toxins.
Sometimes, there is VOC content in the adhesive backing of most carpets. While dusting or vacuuming can keep a place clean, they can’t remove the emissions that are bound to the carpet. As a result new construction and renovation projects have now incorporated carpets with the lowest volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Low VOC carpets also tend to have short lived emissions, within 24-48 hours after installation.
When choosing carpets it is important to check the label making sure it’s been tested by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Indoor Air Quality testing program. An icon with CRI within a greenhouse verifies this standard for low emission. If not CRI, then SCS Global Services certification also qualifies.
Credit: New World Climate.org