Ideas & Advice > Rug Size Guide > Are Polyester Rugs Toxic

Rug Size Guides

Are Polyester Rugs Toxic

When you’re shopping for that perfect rug, you’ll likely come across polyester rugs. After all, they are comfortable, affordable, and diverse rugs fitting for any home. Even with all these benefits, there are some concerns with polyester rugs. There have been rumors over the years that polyester rugs are toxic and unhealthy. To help you make an informed purchase, we’ve created a full guide on what polyester rugs are and why they have been labeled as toxic.

Learn More About Polyester Rugs

  1. Understanding Polyester Rugs
  2. Toxicity Concerns
  3. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  4. Flame Retardants
  5. Chemical Treatment
  6. Choosing Safe Options
  7. Ventilation and Off-Gassing
  8. Eco-Friendly Polyester Rugs
  9. Considering Other Materials
Queen Size Runner Rug

Understanding Polyester Rugs

The first step in this process is to understand what polyester rugs actually are. Polyester is a plastic based material, and its rug fibers are constructed out of plastic fibers derived from petrochemicals. You would never guess that’s the origin of the rug’s fibers based on texture and appearance. In fact, polyester rugs look just like other types of rugs, albeit with a different level of softness and/or plushness. The rugs are soft and comfortable on their own, and with their affordability and durability, it’s no wonder why so many people are using polyester rugs in their homes.

Toxicity Concerns

As soon as people hear that these rugs are derived from petrochemicals or plastic, alarm bells tend to go off. Plastics have been connected to various illnesses and deficiencies, so many wonder how safe these rugs truly are. Some of these concerns are valid. Polyester rugs are made with bisphenol A (a chemical that affects hormones) and are treated with other chemicals to increase their resilience and fire resistance. In general, these rugs’ chemicals rarely impact non-sensitive groups, but it’s still best to be informed on what these elements are.

Round rug for queen size bed

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Polyester rugs in particular are known for off-gassing from volatile organic compounds )VOCs). These fumes are a known carcinogen, and they have their own odor. They also impact the overall air quality of the room, especially if the room isn’t well ventilated. When these chemicals are released into the room, they can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation with those who are sensitive to odors or have other health issues. The chemicals that are released through offgassing can be absorbed through inhalation or through the skin.

Queen Size Runner Rug

Flame Retardants

Another area for concern are the chemicals used to treat the rug. While it certainly is appealing to have a flame retardant area rug, it does come at a cost. Flame retardant chemicals themselves can be hazardous or toxic if they are breathed in or if they get onto the skin. Breathing in these fumes has been linked to cancer in extreme cases where firefighters have heavy exposure to the chemicals. Limited exposure to area rugs is not nearly the same as a firefighter’s exposure, but even so, it’s worth considering as it is indeed a dangerous chemical and can impact the room’s air quality.

Chemical Treatment

When you look for rug layering ideas, you often see rectangular rugs paired with one another to create a neat, tidy appearance. However, there’s so much potential in using rugs of different shapes and sizes to create dynamic and highly personalized rooms. Round, oval, square, octagonal, and animal hide rugs all boast their own unique shapes, materials, and styles. Combining these less conventional shapes with one another is a great way to show off a highly personalized style in your home.

Round rug for queen size bed

For more tips and ideas, join our mailing list.

Join Now
Queen Size Runner Rug

Choosing Safe Options

When you’re choosing a polyester rug, there is a way to choose one that is less likely to be toxic. First and foremost, look for certifications and details of how the rug is made. Take note of what chemicals may be used in the manufacturing process and how likely the rug is to produce VOCs. The manufacturer will often have details sharing how their rugs are made and why they are considered to be safe and non-toxic.

Ventilation and Off-Gassing

Just by the sheer nature of the rug’s base material, you will experience some off-gassing. To take care of that issue, it’s best to place your polyester rug in a well ventilated room. This is especially true in the rug’s early days when it is fresh out of the factory. Allow the rug to rest in a well ventilated spare room with open windows and fans to expedite the off-gassing process. Once this initial process is done, it’ll be safer and more comfortable for the rug to sit in its final location.

Round rug for queen size bed
Queen Size Runner Rug

Eco-Friendly Polyester Rugs

There are manufacturers that limit the amount of chemicals used in the rug’s construction and finishes to create a healthier, more eco-friendly rug. As you shop for that polyester rug, look for ones that are specifically labeled as eco-friendly or have low-toxicity. Don’t be afraid to research the manufacturer and look at other customer reviews to see the quality of their rugs.

Considering Other Materials

Since there are some concerns with polyester rugs, you may want to steer clear of them entirely. Natural materials like wool, cotton, jute, and sisal are popular alternatives that do not use these hazardous chemicals in the fibers or finish of the rug. Even synthetic materials like polypropylene are a good alternative, since polypropylene rugs use different chemicals and do not have the same toxicity concerns.

Round rug for queen size bed

It can be daunting to hear how many chemicals are used in creating and treating polyester rugs. Even with all these chemical treatments however, polyester rugs are not considered toxic. The low levels of these chemicals and how they typically only impact those already struggling with health issues makes it so they are generally fine for homes. However, it is up to you to make an informed decision on what you include in your home. Whether you include a polyester area rug in your home or not, you now have the knowledge to make a good choice and the ability to research any lingering questions you may have.


Your discount code is on its way.