Organic Rugs – check out these non toxic rugs for a sustainable home. Nobody really thinks about their rugs unless they’re busting out a bottle of red wine or their kids have decided that it’s time to finger-paint so why do you need to worry about something that’s on the floor and you’re not eating or putting on your face?
Well, to start with: just think about all the rolling around your kids and pets do on your rugs and all the walking that you do barefoot on them and you’ll quickly realize just how much direct contact these surfaces actually have with you and your family.
The problem with carpets and rugs is that they are laden with a worryingly large variety of dangerous chemicals.
That nice new carpet smell? It comes from gases known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs that accumulate in the air inside your home and can lead to nausea, headaches and irritation to skin and eyes.
Those convenient stain-repellant, anti-molding and hypoallergenic specs that the salesperson described to you at the store? They are usually achieved with the use of PFAs, whose ability to never degrade and accumulate in human bodies and the environment has earned them the nickname “forever chemicals” and which have been shown to cause everything from high cholesterol and tumors to problems with reproductive and developmental systems.
To find safer alternatives for you we focused this list on brands offering artisan-made rugs using traditional methods and materials. When they are made this way, our rugs have a better chance at including safer materials and of being of a higher quality than their commercial counterparts. Using artisanal methods of production ensures that the products will contain no VOC’s, PFA’s or any of the dangerous industrial chemicals commonly used in western products.
The materials that make up most of these rugs – sisal, bamboo, cotton, jute, and seagrass or the wool of local sheep and llamas – are renewable and colored with natural dyes. In addition, all of these companies share fair trade philosophies, meaning that their products are not only safe for you and the environment but that they were produced humanely and responsibly.
Take a look at our picks below:
Great for: Certified organic and non-toxic rugs and children’s organic rugs
A third-generation rug manufacturing business owner, Linda Alexinian, started Organic Weave after witnessing the uncomfortable amount of children that were working in rug factories in India. The result was a socially and environmentally responsible business that became the first rug company in the world to be certified as organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Organic Weave offers a line of pre-made and custom-made flat-woven, hand-knotted and tufted organic rugs featuring abstract and geometric designs that are handcrafted in India using only certified organic wool and cotton and 100% natural dyes. In addition, the brand offers a dedicated children’s organic rug collection which was created with the amount of time little ones spend rolling around in carpets and rugs in mind.
Great for: Pieces with a history
Few manufactures will offer you such insight into their manufacturing process the way that Revival does. The company offers both vintage and new, Revival-made rugs through a website filled with beautifully shot videos showcasing every part of both their manufacturing and salvaging processes.
Pieces are made mostly in wool and jute and are created or salvaged in Turkey, India and Morocco using traditional techniques, earth friendly ingredients and small-batch production to ensure that every rug produced is a one-of-a-kind treasure.
Great for: Design nerds
Merida’s creative director is an artist and self-taught weaver raised in between West Africa and France who uses everything from history and archeology to the natural world as inspiration to create sublime pieces that are now part of homes, hotels and boutiques around the world.
The company prizes design, craftsmanship and creativity and bills itself as place where designers and craftsmen are free to collaborate and experiment. Merida uses nothing but the highest quality 100% natural and organic materials – some of which are quite rare in rugs such as linen, abaca and mohair – and embraces the irregularities that using those natural materials and dyes impart to its designs. The artfully-crafted pieces are made not only to be admired from afar but also from up close where you’ll be able to relish in their exquisite weaving techniques.
Great for: Zero waste devotees
If you’re searching for the type of rug that will last you a lifetime, look no further than Earth Weave. This company is one of the first – and definitely one of the few – manufacturers offering organic and non toxic wall-to-wall carpeting. Their organic rugs and carpets are made of either raw wool or wool that has been colored with organic dyes and contains no VOC’s or PFA’s as they are not treated with any insecticides, fire retardants or stain-repellants.
Earth Weave claims that their non-toxic area rugs and carpets have a lifespan of nearly 25 years and that, once the time comes to dispose of them, they are 100% biodegradable.
Great for: Happy families
Have images of your kids spilling juice or your dog walking around with muddy paws made you all but give up on your dreams of having soft, gorgeous rugs at home?
Oh Happy Home is here for you! This Aussie company was started by a textiles expert, art teacher and mom of three boys who saw a need for rugs made for families who were not afraid to live happy and make a mess while doing it – just like hers. Designs are fun and colorful – many of them inspired by drawings made by her own children – and she even has a line of washable cotton rugs you can feel comfortable to have around your kids and pets.
Great for: Budget-conscious environmentalists
Jokes about disposable-quality furniture aside: IKEA is, for real, one of the best places to shop for safe and sustainably-made rugs and furniture. The Swedish giant has been a long-time pioneer in removing dangerous chemicals from it’s items: it started phasing out the use PFC’s in 2009 and, since 2016, none of their textiles contain any of these dangerous compounds.
A big part of their commitment to better business practices during the last decade was revising the way that their textiles were produced, especially their rugs. In an effort to improve working and living conditions for the workers in these factories, IKEA opened it’s own weaving centers in India and Bangladesh and addressed a number of problems affecting the lives and communities of their employees. The results are responsibly made, non-toxic area rugs in natural materials such as wool and cotton that are, not only super affordable, but free of any dangerous chemicals.
Great for: Nature lovers
Still worried about having to deal with stains in your carpet? Try a bamboo rug. They’re non-absorbent, easy to clean and made from the most renewable wood of them all. Haiku’s organic rugs are made out of a type of bamboo known as Moso which shares the unique qualities of being one of the sturdiest varieties of bamboo available and of having a short regeneration time that makes it one of the most renewable and carbon neutral plants on Earth.
Great for: American-made products
This California company has over 50 years of experience selling natural fiber carpets, many of which are made in the USA. They use earth friendly materials such as sisal, grass, jute, wool or cotton, include no VOC’s in their manufacturing process and ensure that their contractors do not employ child or forced labor.
Unlike many vendors offering non-toxic area rugs, prices at Natural Area Rugs are surprisingly affordable for the quality – especially in models made from natural vegetable fibers.
Great for: Modern glamour
New York’s king of eclecticism fell in love with Peru during his first trip to the Andean nation back in the mid-90’s and has been including textiles and pottery made by local craftsmen in his collections ever since. His colorful Peruvian Rug Collection is hand-loomed by artisans using traditional methods and ultra soft, hand-dyed Peruvian llama wool.
The rugs feature bold geometric patters that are sure to become centerpieces in your home and, if the case is that you are looking for something a bit more special and unique, they offer an option for custom-made orders.
Great for: The ultimate feel-good purchase
You simply won’t be able to find another place that makes you feel better about your purchases than UNICEF Market. To create their Market, UNICEF partnered with NOVICA, a non-profit that empowers artisans by removing middlemen, ensuring fair trade practices and providing them with the opportunities for their work to reach global audiences. Proceeds from sales help to keep these craftsmen and craftswomen employed and receiving fair wages and contribute to UNICEF’s mission of providing food, healthcare and education for vulnerable children around the world.
Great for: Aspiring gypsets
This female-owned startup founded by two traveler friends partners with artisans from all corners of the globe to curate a home décor collection straight out of a modern nomad’s dreams.
The Citizenry aims to bring into your home sustainably-made products filled with the stories of the people who made them and the places where they came from. Their rug collection features contemporary designs produced by their artisan partners in Oaxaca and India using traditional methods and locally-sourced materials such as cotton, sheep’s wool and llama’s wool colored with all-natural dyes. All rugs are available in a variety of sizes and most of them are gorgeous enough that the website offers you the option to convert them into wall hangings.
Great for: Bohemian luxury
Pampa was founded in Byron Bay, Australia by an Argentinian expat seeking to share and preserve the weaving traditions of her native South American country.
Their texture-rich rugs feature designs inspired by cultures from around the globe and are handwoven by artisans in the Argentinian Pampa using traditional techniques and locally-sourced wools and vegetable dyes. As a means to preserve these artisans’ weaving traditions and their way of life, Pampa pays them fair wages to help them stay in their communities instead of emigrating to cities in search of low-wage work.
Great for: Understated luxury
Armardillo & Co exists in between Los Angeles, where its founder now lives, and Adelaide, where it originated. Their non toxic rugs’ simple designs, rustic materials and sun-washed palettes are not meant to take center stage but rather integrate with their surroundings, making them smart investments that will adapt to changing trends and surroundings for years to come.
Their environmentally responsible and fair trade practices allow Armardillo & Co. to proudly claim that all its rugs “lie lightly on this earth”.
Great for: Sleek and elegant rugs
Tufenkian claims that over 1,500 hours of handwork go into each one of their hand-knotted rugs. They pride themselves in using only hand-spun and hand-dyed wool from free-range sheep living in the mountains of Central Asia, which produce a softer, lanolin-rich wool.
As a contrast to these rustic production techniques, Tufenkian’s rugs feature ultra sleek and modern designs that will look right at home in a multitude of settings.
Great for: Fair-trade rugs
Over the past two decades, this non-profit has managed to convince both small and large manufacturers – such as retail giants Target and Macy’s – to create safer and more responsible supply chains in the rug and textile industries by ensuring slave labor and child labor-free manufacturing.
Their website features a search engine where you can find rug and textile manufacturers that have been awarded the Goodweave label because of their adherence to strict rules of transparency, humane working conditions, fair wages and minimization of environmental impact. A big part of Goodweave’s work is reducing the exposure to dangerous chemicals of the people working in the textile industry, which is why you can rest assured that products with the Goodweave label do not contain any hazardous dyes or components.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for finding better rugs for your home, regardless of your budget.
Before bringing any of these beautiful pieces into your home, don’t forget to dispose of your old rugs responsibly. Carpet America Recovery Effort’s website has a very useful map showing rug and carpet collection centers near you where you can drop off your old rugs for them to recycle and reuse into other items or new rugs.