That new carpet smell

If you’re a new homeowner, you know what I’m referring to. It’s the new-ness. It holds so much hope, doesn’t it? It smells promising. The scent of a new beginning.

Surprise, surprise. What you’re smelling are the lovely volatile organic compounds or VOCs being emitted by your carpet. These chemicals can make people sick. Carpet + padding + adhesives = yucky VOCs. Bleah.

I checked some flooring websites to see what they say about that new carpet smell. As expected, they try to make light of the matter. What was I expecting, really? Of course, there are no conclusive studies proving the relationship between new carpet and respiratory illnesses.

I tend to lean towards being careful though. Get an air purifier. If you’re the drastic sort, remove carpeting altogether. However, if you like carpets, install carpets with low VOC – the so-called “eco-friendly” carpeting. Use low-emitting, non-solvent adhesives. Use felt padding, instead of rubber. It wouldn’t hurt to try.

What to do with your old carpets? If it’s not in terrible shape, have it repaired. Otherwise, have it recycled.

The good thing nowadays is that there are healthier options out there. We recently added a runner in our kitchen using carpet tiles from Interface Flor. What’s so great about Interface Flor? They actually have a Return & Recycle Program! How many companies are doing that right now? Not a lot. Thank goodness a friend recommended it to me.




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