Home Decor: Natural Rugs

If your respectable home décor needs some jazzing up, one item can do the trick in just about any room: a great area rug.  Available in a wide variety of colors and styles, a well-chosen rug can provide the warmth, vibrancy, or anchoring calm that will transform a room from blah to ahhhh.

Some rug choices are much better than others when it comes to materials.  Many carpets and rugs contain a load of toxic ingredients, including a boatload of chemicals used during their manufacture, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds – the unhealthy source of that “new carpet” smell.  Happily, better choices exist – beautiful rugs made of natural fibers from sustainable resources.

The benefits of chemical-free, natural wool rugs are pretty substantial.  Not only are these rugs durable, lasting for decades if well cared for, they are naturally flame-resistant, evaporate moisture, absorb pollutants (without releasing them back into the air), and repel dust.  These rugs can be pricey, but are a worthwhile investment in your home décor and your family’s health.

The agave plant is not only good for satisfying our sweet tooth, but its stems and leaves are used to make yarn for sisal carpeting.  These rugs are durable, anti-static and repel dust.  If using a sisal rug, choose a dry room as it will be susceptible to mildew.

The sustainably grown jute plant produces a yarn that creates a very soft rug and can be found in both a boucle and herringbone pattern.

Seagrass soaked in seawater becomes the fiber used to create non-porous rugs in a natural color range of gold and pale green.  These rugs repel stains well.

Rugs made of 100 percent organic cotton are not only durable, but with the use of natural dyes, can come in a wide variety of designs.

Coir rugs are made of materials derived from coconut skin.  These rugs are sturdy and fibrous, which means they are a bit itchy.  They are great to use where there is a lot of foot/shoe traffic, like doorways and as hallway runners.  They come in a number of designs and can handle dampness.

When choosing padding for your rug, some healthy options include pads made of untreated cotton, natural rubber, wool, jute, or felt.  Avoid pads made of recycled rubber as they contain petroleum-based ingredients.  Also, avoid synthetic latex in carpet backing; natural latex, cotton, jute and hemp are better choices.

Finally, keep your rugs clean naturally.  Baking soda is a great solution for deodorizing carpeting. Having rugs professionally steam cleaned using gentle detergent and natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents will keep your rugs beautiful and healthy for the long run.

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What to Do with Your Old Carpet

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Julie G.
Julie G.5 years ago

We're going to put in wood flooring on 1st level and plan to use a couple of area rugs. This is good information and will be looking for 'safe' rugs.

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Catherine C.5 years ago