Choosing a Non-Toxic Carpet

Written by:

Maia James

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Recently, I’ve had a few private consulting clients ask about non-toxic carpeting. As a result, I’ve spent some time more deeply looking into this.  I hope this post helps answer the big question: Is there such thing as truly safe, non-toxic carpeting?

What Makes Carpeting Toxic?

As my dad wrote in the flooring post about our non-toxic renovation undertaking, Project One-Eleven, carpeting is problematic for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. The chemicals and materials used to make the carpets and pads beneath them, including plastics, wool that’s laden with fungicides, synthetic rubber that may contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates, toxic dyes, and chemicals that are meant to repel flame, water, and stains.
  2. The materials used in the carpet installation process, including glues and other adhesives that contain formaldehyde and a range of VOCs that off-gas into the home environment.
  3. Carpet’s tendency that to accumulate dust mites, dirt, pesticides, and other toxins brought into our homes on our feet (and our pets’ feet!).

So Are All Carpet Bad News?

The older the carpets, the more likely they are to contain bad chemicals and pounds of accumulated junk. So I’d say that yes, old carpets are categorically bad news. But because we have some really safe options available these days, newer carpets can be a good choice for your home.

This is important:

In addition to choosing safe carpets, you should clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves frequent vacuuming (make sure you use a HEPA-sealed vacuum that’s RoHS certified, like the ones from Miele) and occasional steam cleaning. You also might consider investing in a robust electronic air filter.

Non-toxic Carpeting Brands

We’ve done the research on natural, non-toxic carpeting, and we found three safe brands to recommend:

Best Stuff

Earth Weave

Earth Weave is the gold standard among non-toxic carpeting. They simply make the very best stuff.

Earth Weave’s natural, non-toxic carpeting is made in the United States from carefully selected European wool, hemp, cotton, natural latex, and jute.

Earth Weave uses only safe dying methods for some of their colors; the other colors are natural wool hues. Even better, they don’t treat their carpets with any worrisome chemicals.

We used Earth Weave on the staircases and landings in our home in Lancaster, PA, and I’m someone who has never had a carpet (I’ve never much cared for it). I have to say that our Earth Weave carpet is beautiful, cozy, and great for my peace of mind when little kids are running up and down stairs! I’m considering carpeting the bedrooms next.

If you’d like to order Earth Weave through Gimme the Good Stuff, email suzanne@gimmethegoodstuff.org or click here. (We also offer our customers Earth Weave area rugs.)

Nature’s Carpet

Nature’s Carpet’s Everest carpet from their “Dark Green” collections is made from a blend of European and New Zealand wool. It’s chemical-free with a cotton and jute backing as well as a natural rubber latex adhesive. The Aberdeen and Element carpets, also from the Dark Green collection, are made with 98% natural materials. These ones have a woven polypropylene backing. (I consider polypropylene to be an non-toxic plastic). All three carpet styles in the Dark Green category from Nature’s Carpet use un-dyed wool and do not contain any moth-proofing or flame-retardant chemicals.

Unique Carpet

Nature’s Carpet’s Everest carpet from their “Dark Green” collections is made from a blend of European and New Zealand wool. It’s chemical-free with a cotton and jute backing as well as a natural rubber latex adhesive. The Aberdeen and Element carpets, also from the Dark Green collection, are made with 98% natural materials. These ones have a woven polypropylene backing. (I consider polypropylene to be an non-toxic plastic). All three carpet styles in the Dark Green category from Nature’s Carpet use un-dyed wool and do not contain any moth-proofing or flame-retardant chemicals.

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Non-Toxic Rug Pads & Grippers

Rug and carpet sales people always recommend that you use rug pads and/or grippers to prevent slipping, increase cushioning, prolong the life of the floor covering, and protect the floor underneath. Most of these products are at least as toxic as conventional rugs and carpets themselves, but there is a safe alternative:

Earth Weave

Earth Weave makes natural rug pads made from a combination of wool and plant fiber. These pads contain no glues, dyes, flame retardant chemicals, or mothproofing chemicals. We also love Earth Weave’s natural rug grippers made from 100% natural latex.

Do you have experience with any of these–or other–carpet brands, or have other questions about non-toxic carpeting? Please post below!

Stay sane,

Maia, Founder & CEO

P.S. Here’s our post on choosing a non-toxic area rug.

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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Leave a Reply

  1. Charlotte Avatar
    Charlotte

    Problem is with natural carpets, the moths will have a field day and munch it all up, multiply, and then start on all your wool clothing 😥😥

  2. Carole Avatar
    Carole

    HI,

    Great article! I too wanted a healthy carpet for my stairs and l finally landed on Earth Weave two years ago. When I received it, the smell of latex ( natural ) was too strong for me. I am allergic to rubber and didn’t know that the natural adhesive would smell that strong. I tried airing it out but it didn’t help. I have it in a back room and plan to get it out again. I am afraid I have spent a great deal of money on something I can’t use. Be careful of the natural rubber if you are allergic to latex. By the way, it’s beautiful.

    Carole

  3. Ben Richard Avatar
    Ben Richard

    This guide is absolutely amazing and very helpful! thank you guys!
    i would like to add to my home a new carpet for living room, i prefer 3meters at least. what your opinion about this https://www.vintagecarpets.com/ i think its a good choice, wbu?

  4. Caroline Bouckaert Avatar
    Caroline Bouckaert

    Hello! I’m in the same boat where we had a major moth infestation in our 2 year old, very expensive wool carpeting in our son’s room. It has wreaked havoc on our lives. We tore the carpet out and now need to replace with new carpet or potentially install wood floors. I want the lowest VOCs possible since we have two young kids and another on the way but I cannot deal with moths in wool again. If price were not an issue, what would you recommend?

  5. Savvy Avatar
    Savvy

    Are Flor tiles non toxic? Their website says they are low VOC. What is your opinion?