VOCs in a new carpet: Everything you need to know about off-gassing
Carpet off-gassing and VOCs are terms that come up when you’re considering getting a new carpet or rug for your home. It’s important to understand what they mean and how they may impact the choices you make.
Here, we explain why you should be aware of VOCs in a new carpet and how off-gassing can seep into your lifestyle and affect the air quality in your home.
If you’re already experiencing the effects of VOCs and off-gassing, get in touch – we’ve helped many people integrate a new carpet into their space with our deep cleaning service.
What are carpet VOCs?
VOC stands for ‘volatile organic compound’. They are small particles of chemicals that break off from a source – such as a synthetic carpet or rug.
When VOCs get released into the air, they turn into a gas – hence the term ‘off-gassing’. This is how you can end up breathing them in.
Carpet VOCs typically come from the latex backing used on 95% of carpets (more on that here). They are what gives your carpet that ‘new’ smell.
Why are VOCs dangerous?
Simply put, carpet off-gassing causes you and your family to breathe in an array of chemicals in the form of VOCs.
This can have short-term effects and cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty breathing.
These potential symptoms are particularly worrying for those who already struggle with asthma, allergies, or respiratory problems.
Carpet VOCs are also a concern for babies, young children, and pets, as they tend to spend more time on the floor, and therefore are closer to the off-gassing source.
There is a more serious concern about the long-term risks of inhaling VOCs, as many chemicals associated with off-gassing are linked to cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and kidney damage.
How can you protect yourself from VOCs and off-gassing?
VOCs are difficult to trace and treat, as they are emitted from all sorts of places, such as paint, cleaning supplies, gasoline, hardware products, and, of course, new carpets and rugs.
Typically, the largest amount of VOCs get released during the first few months that a new element is introduced to your routine – such as just after painting a wall, buying a new car, or installing a new carpet.
It’s thought that carpets can continue to release some VOCs for five years (or more) and, in fact, time is the only way for an item to eventually release and disperse VOCs. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce and manage the effects of off-gassing.
Deep cleaning can help reduce carpet VOCs
Our carpet deep cleaning service will tackle the initial struggle you may be having with VOCs in your home, both after installing a new carpet as well as residual off-gassing that occurs throughout your carpet’s lifespan.
We’ll use our hot water extraction method alongside all-natural, non-toxic cleaning products. We can also similar methods to treat your area rug, if you’re concerned about VOCs being emitted from a new or recent purchase.
What else can I do?
- Avoid chemical cleaning products: Stick to natural methods and solutions to avoid introducing even more VOCs into your home.
- Invest in a quality air filter: This can help purify the atmosphere in your home. Use a HEPA filter vacuum when cleaning.
- Routinely open doors and windows: Especially after bringing in a new source of off-gassing into your space.
- Air it out: When you buy a new carpet, rug, or other large synthetic item, let it air out in an open area before bringing it inside.
- Go non-toxic: When possible, choose items that are made from natural materials, such as an all-wool or jute rug.
- Choose antique pieces: When possible, consider choosing antique pieces as they will already have completed the majority of their off-gassing cycle.
It might seem counterintuitive, but pro cleaning may be exactly what your brand new carpet needs. To learn more about how we can help tackle VOCs and off-gassing in your home, get in touch with our experts.