I remember kicking off my shoes after school, and feeling the warm cushy carpet beneath my feet. In those days we were not as savvy about VOCs, synthetics, and other common considerations we have these days. While wall-to-wall carpeting is still quite common in colder climates such as Vancouver, we are now more knowledgeable about how to better deal with carpet off-gassing.
I’ve been lucky that the flooring in my rental apartments has all been ceramic tiles, marble, and hardwood. In my own place I also chose low VOC paints and healthier options for wall treatments. I started deep researching again as the place I’m moving into soon is getting a new carpet laid down. It is not the natural wool or hemp I was hoping for. I had offered to top up the difference, to no avail.
I won’t go into all the details of why these other flooring options and why natural carpet are preferable. We are now all quite familiar with the effects of chemicals and the concept of off gassing.
If you do have the option, opt for a natural fibre such as wool, sisal, hemp, and other non-toxic carpets. Use low-VOC adhesives or have the carpet tacked down instead of being glued down. You can also use a 100% natural latex backing. These considerations all make a difference to your exposure.
What about other floorings? Try cork, hardwood, or tiles. Reclaimed hardwood floors or ones that are FSC certified are eco-friendly ways to go. Because cork is made from the bark, trees aren’t felled for this material. This also makes cork a good option.
However, if you are going with a carpet made with nylon or other synthetic materials, there are still ways you can help stay healthier. Here are three tips to deal with carpet off-gassing.
3 Tips to Deal with Carpet Off-Gassing
The first 72 hours after the installation is probably the most smelly, with the potent release of the chemicals. Ensure good air circulation to refresh indoor air. You can also use an air filter to boost the process. Many people suggest a HEPA filter while others prefer one with active charcoal. (Some people suggest neutralizing the chemicals with baking soda.) If possible, have the carpet aired out in a well-ventilated area prior to installation. Allow the ventilation to continue for as long as possible before moving in.
Purify the Air
We call the Amazon the lungs of the earth for good reason. Plants are amazing at filtering our air. The now-famous NASA study shows the best plants to purify the air of specific types of chemicals. Do you have a dog or a cat? Check out this modified list of pet-friendly air-purifying plants. Some plants you may consider include the bamboo palm, rubber plants, and the areca palm.
Support Your Health
When we are healthy we are better able to deal with irritants and toxins. Follow a clean diet including plenty of filtered water to lessen the burden on your liver and kidneys. Keep your systems moving – try infrared saunas, keep regular, go outside for walks. Reduce your toxic exposure as much as possible. Remember – low-energy and repressed emotions can also create blockages. Ensure your histamine bucket is as empty as possible. Supplement to boost your methylation pathways.
As our world becomes more complex with the number of chemicals, products, and new technology, we can become overwhelmed with their effects as well as information about what’s healthier for ourselves and the environment. As much as possible, choosing natural and eco-friendly materials and processes can help both support traditional crafts and sustainable industries. We can also choose vintage, pre-loved, and older pieces though we do not always know when off-gassing is completed.
When these options are not tenable, using these three tips to deal with carpet off-gassing can help alleviate their effect. We can also transfer these ideas to dealing with other new items, such as furniture. Like we read food packing labels, we can also read about the materials used and ask more questions about the items we have our eye on.