Guide to Choosing an Eco Rug

If youre worried about the rumors floating around concerning things like phthalates, BPA, and other VOCs, then you probably know that low air quality in homes is becoming a problem. So whats a good step to take towards a healthier environment for your family?

Carpets and rugs are one the biggest culprits when it comes to contaminants. Reduce your exposure by learning how to make the right purchase, here are our top five tips for doing just that.

1. Look for Natural or Recycled Fibers

Most machine-made rugs are made from synthetic fibers that release VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds); they can cause long-term health problems. Instead, try to find rugs made from natural fibers like:

These rugs are made with little to no pesticides or fertilizer. Theyre biodegradable, made from renewable resources, and are frequently just as stain-resistant as their manmade counterparts. You can also find rugs that are made from recycled products, like soda bottles.

2. Look Into Chemical Treatments

Many rugs made from natural fibers are still not the most eco-friendly option because theyve been treated with repellents for stain, insects, or flammability. Or they might have been processed with other solvents and detergents that are just as chemically-laden and unhealthy. Look for non-toxic, untreated, natural dyes, or organic labels to make sure this isnt the case with your rug.

3. Watch Out for Toxic Rug Pads

Foam rubber, plastic, and synthetic latex are all materials to avoid when it comes to picking rug backings or pads; they also harbor harmful VOCs. Try to find camel hair, felt or untreated wool backings, which are sewed or non-toxically glued to the underside of the rug. If youre looking for a less expensive option, find a backing made from natural latex.

4. Look for Certifications

There are so many variables to be aware of that sometimes even the most informed consumer wont find the information theyre looking for. If this is the case, just keep an eye out for a certification provided by an impartial organization, like these:

Cradle to Cradle
Global Organic Textile Standard
SMART Sustainable Flooring
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)
CRI Green Label Plus
Carpet and Rug Institute

With these labels, you can be sure that a rug is made of sustainable or recycled materials, and even that some waste and pollutants have been eliminated from the manufacturing process.

5. Recycle Old Rugs

After youve bought a beautiful new toxin-free rug, you may want to get rid of old ones in a responsible way. Some manufacturers have a take-back program, where theyll donate your worn-out rugs to charities or recycle them into new ones. If you can’t find such a program, contact the Carpet America Recovery Effort, where youll find the locations of their rug recycling programs.

There are so many options now available for finding the beautiful and sustainable rug that works with your lifestyle and your home. And by choosing natural rugs for your home, not only can you avoid getting allergies, headaches, and other ailments, you can also feel good about doing your part in reducing the waste that goes towards making harmful rugs.


Dipali Gupta
Dipali Gupta4 years ago

Rugs made from recycled plastic can also be considered Eco Rugs. They are a good use of wasted plastic from pop bottles, buckets etc. and much more durable than natural fibers.

Jessica Sutton
Past Member 5 years ago

Thanks! Am in the process of pulling up carpet. Will be buying rugs in next year.

Ana Passos
Past Member 5 years ago


Euroamerican Home

This is a great article. I'm tired of reading articles that say that VOCs are bad, but don't offer any alternatives. Of course, we have to research ourselves, but it's good when you have a starting point.

Rudolf Affolter
Past Member 5 years ago

My rugs are ecologically sound. I hope the same goes for others.

Vicky P.
Vicky P5 years ago

not sure what my rug is made of since my parents bought it, but I wouldn't buy wool since I found out that they treat the animals like crap

Dave C.
David C5 years ago

thanks, great information

andrew h.
andrew h5 years ago


Rawganique sells alot of interesting eco items

(i have bought some of there organic stuff - i like it- not rugs, but they sell hemp rugs):

"Hemp Area Rugs

100% Organic European -

European Hemp Area Rugs by Rawganique. Sweatshop-free. From certified organic European hemp. Many colors and sizes. "

hemp bath mats:

Gloria Morotti
Gloria Morotti5 years ago


Magdika Cecilia Perez

great info - will use it! ... I like the idea od a bamboo rug! vegan / green and healthy! : )))