Our Good Life participates in affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising. We only recommend products and services we believe in and think they will be of use to you.

The Problem With Polyester Rugs: How to Choose a Safer Alternative

 Today’s average home has at least one rug, even if the carpet isn’t the main flooring. Rugs are an excellent way to add color, texture, and personality to a room. Gaining popularity are the modern wool rugs in 8x10 sizes.


However, rugs made from particular materials can also be dangerous to a room’s air quality. Some rugs, like polyester, are made from material formed from petrochemicals. These are plastic fibers manufactured from toxic chemicals. Once released in the home, the chemicals release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde breathed in by those in the environment.


What’s the problem with VOCs, and why is polyester such a poor choice of carpet in a home? We’ll explain those answers and suggest ways you can choose a safer alternative next.

The Downside of Polyester

Polyester has been popular for decades as a cheap synthetic material. When you want affordable clothes, sheets, or carpets, buying polyester is tempting without looking at what you’re paying for.


Materials like polyester and polypropylene are fire- and microorganism-treated with petrochemicals. This label might sound good, but those protectants release toxic fumes called volatile organic compounds.



VOCs irritate the linings of the nose, eye, and throat, causing irritations similar to allergies but significantly more hazardous. Once inhaled or absorbed through the skin’s pores, the chemicals get into the body, damaging the central nervous system, kidney, and liver. So, if your carpet is marketed as stain-resistant, that’s not always a good thing. They’re likely covered in per- and polyfluoroalkyl endocrine-disrupting chemicals.


Yes, these carpets work well if you’re looking for affordable, durable, and stain-resistant carpets. However, the microplastics and toxic fumes they release into the air can become an expensive health condition. If you have little ones or pets close to the floor for extended periods, they are even more susceptible to inhaling airborne toxins.

Safer Alternatives to Polyester

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll likely look at your polyester rug a little differently now. If you’re considering replacing your old, toxin-filled rug or saying no to those that you were thinking of buying, it’s a wise thought, and you have plenty of other options!


Depending on your price range and the textures you prefer, there are various carpets designed from responsibly sourced, natural fibers. If you love the soft, cloudy feel of clouds, organic cotton and wool are affordable possibilities. Bamboo, jute, and sisal are also made from sustainable sources but can be a little pricier.


Don’t forget to check the backing on the rug before you buy it. The fibers may be natural, but the backing could be made from synthetic materials, which also pollute the air.

Check the Label, and Have Fun Shopping

As you’re shopping, watch for labels that look attractive but actually warn you that the carpet is toxic, such as stain- or water-resistant. Safe carpets use natural dyes and recycled materials and have no or low-VOC labels.


Your next rug can be a wonderful way to enhance your room, but it shouldn’t make you worry that you’re accidentally polluting the air and harming your family. Opt for a carpet sourced from all-natural materials, and you get all the benefits without the dangerous side effects.

Would you like to comment?

Welcome! If you liked what you read, please take a moment to share by tweeting, pinning or yumming! Much appreciated!