Non-Toxic Rugs and Carpets
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jane in D.C. on the line who needs some help with an eco-friendly rug. Tell us what you’re looking for.
JANE: I am in search of a type of rug or rugs that one can safely have installed in their home and it’s not toxic or as toxic as the present ones we have.
TOM: Yeah. You know, it used to be that we look forward to that new-carpet smell, because it …
JANE: Right, exactly. Exactly.
TOM: Now we know that it’s bad for you. So, yeah, there are lines with all major manufacturers that are low-VOC products that have reduced those odors and made them safer for us to take inside our homes.
The organization that creates standards for the carpet industry is called the Carpet and Rug Institute. And the Carpet and Rug Institute has an indoor air-quality testing program that is kind of like an Energy Star sort of thing where you have a seal. It’s an icon that has a CRI inside a small, green house. And if you see that icon on the carpets, you know that it meets their standards for low emissions. And that’s something you can learn more about at the Carpet and Rug Institute website.
But besides that, the other thing that you want to do is try to have the carpet delivered a day or two before it’s installed so that it can be unrolled outside and aired for a bit or perhaps in the garage or a place like that. That’s important. If there’s any gluing that has to be put down, you want to make sure that you use, also, low-VOC adhesives so you don’t have any adhesives that are contributing to the VOC problem in your house.
And I think manufacturers like, I think, Shaw has made a name for themselves with environmentally-friendly carpets. Mohawk is another brand that I know has those types of carpets.
LESLIE: And when it comes to padding, you might want to use the felt padding instead of any of the rubber padding that they might have.
JANE: OK. What do you call that padding?
LESLIE: Felt padding. It’s just a standard carpet padding. That, of course, cannot be used below-grade.
But airing it out is very important. I remember when we were putting wall-to-wall carpeting in my son’s room when I was pregnant, we had the installer roll out the piece and keep it in his shop for days and days and days and days.
JANE: I remember my mother used to air certain things out when they came back from the cleaners.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Mm-hmm. That’s right. So you took the bags off and let them air out a bit.
TOM: Essentially, you’re going to do the same thing with the carpet. And I think that will make it …
JANE: Yeah, that’s what I’m picking up from you. Mm-hmm.
TOM: Yeah, it’ll be much more comfortable. That plus the fact that carpet today – if you search for the right time, the right kind with the CRI seal on it – is going to have less VOCs to begin with. OK, Jane?
JANE: Oh, OK. Thank you so very much. I really appreciate this. I’ve been waiting and waiting to get this information.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jane. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.