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I have purchased several area rugs for our home. While researching for the non toxic area rugs, I have found out that hardwood floors can get damaged from rugs and rug pads. Some rugs can actually damage a hardwood floor if used without rug pads. Natural fiber rugs made of jute or seagrass, for example, are scratchy. They can damage and leave dull streaks on hardwood floors when used without a rug pad. Also many area rugs come with a latex backing to prevent rugs from slipping. Often a synthetic latex backing is used for many rugs. However, synthetic latex backings not only can damage some floors but also emit toxic volatile organic compounds. Rug pads that are made of synthetic rubber or PVC can also damage the floor and pollute indoor air quality. Since many rug backings are made of synthetic latex, I purchased area rugs that have no backings. I didn’t want my new rugs to damage our hardwood floors so I researched non toxic rug pads that I can place underneath all of my rugs. Some rug pads can be made of harmful materials. In this post I share with you how rug pads can be toxic and what non toxic rug pads are available.
How Rug Pads Can Be Toxic
Rug pads can be made of PVC, synthetic latex, natural latex, felt, natural fiber or combinations of materials such as natural latex & felt, natural latex & natural fiber, etc. Cheap rug pads are usually made of synthetic rubber or PVC which are toxic materials.
Synthetic latex is made from petroleum-based chemicals. It usually contains styrene-butadiene rubbers (SBR) derived from styrene and 1,3-butadiene. Both styrene and 1,3-butadiene are known carcinogens. They will emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from synthetic latex into the air we breathe.
PVC (polyvinyl choloride) is the most toxic plastic. The main ingredient of PVC, vinyl chloride is a carcinogen. Also, PVC is often made of toxic chemicals and additives such as plasticizers. Plasticizers usually contain hazardous chemicals, Phthalates. According to the US National Library of Medicine, one phthalate, Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), is an endocrine disruptor and it can also cause cancer. Some phthalates may affect human reproduction or development. PVC not only contains toxic chemicals but also releases toxic fumes with volatile organic compounds into the air we breathe.
How Rug Pads Can Damage Hardwood Floors
Synthetic latex and PVC materials are not only toxic but also stick or stain and damage hardwood floors. For synthetic latex rug pads, plasticizers in latex coating can transfer to the wood’s finish and cause discoloration. Some imported rug pads have clay fillers mixed with the latex. Clay dries out and eventually leaves rubber flakes on the floor. If a rug pad is left under a rug for too long, this residue can lead to permanent damage to the floor. For PVC (polyvinyl choloride) rug pads, a PVC material can react with the polyurethane finish and stick to the floor. It can also cause discoloration and potentially damage your hardwood floor permanently.
Non Toxic Rug Pad Materials
So what rug pad materials are non toxic and safe for hardwood floors? Natural latex, felt or combination of these materials are not only non toxic but also safe for your hardwood floors. Rug pads generally protect floors from rugs, prevent slipping and provide cushioning. However, each material offers different levels of grip and cushioning. Let’s take a look at each one.
100% Natural Latex
Natural latex comes from a tree called Hevea brasiliensis known as the rubber tree. Unlike synthetic latex, natural latex does not contain petroleum-based chemicals and does not off-gas volatile organic compounds. Also it will not stick to floors and damage them like synthetic latex can. Natural latex pads offer non-stick grip to the flooring surface and prevent rugs from slipping. They can be used for all types and size of rugs. They are great especially for smaller rugs that have no furniture anchoring and that are prone to slipping.
Non Toxic Rug Pads
100% Natural Latex
Rug Pad USA Natural Latex Rug Pad
This rug pad is made of 100% natural latex. There is no PVC, no chemicals or glues. It is non-slip and it protects hardwood or hard surface floor. It doesn’t stick to the floor or leave marks like synthetic rubber. It’s made in the USA.
Natural Latex And Natural Fiber
Rug Pad USA Nature’s Grip Jute & Natural Rubber Rug Pad
This rug pad is made of jute fibers with a natural latex coating. It is non-slip and does not damage floors. It has a 20 year warranty and is made in the USA.
Just like rugs, materials of rug pads can contain harmful chemicals and emit toxic fumes into the air. Rug pads with toxic materials can also damage hardwood floors. Damage from rug pads may not be remedied easily and sometimes damage can be permanent. Natural latex or Natural letex/ fibre pads are not only eco-friendly but also do not damage floors. I’m glad I had a chance to look into this before I placed rugs on our new hardwood floor. I’m planning to get 100% natural latex rug pads. It’s taken a lot of time and research before deciding and getting hardwood floors, rugs and rug pads. However, hopefully my posts can help you find non toxic products that do not pollute the indoor air quality in your home.
If you are interested in non toxic rugs, please read my post, ‘Non Toxic Rugs – What Non Toxic, Natural Rugs Are Best?‘
If you are interested in non toxic, solid wood platform bed frames, please read my post ‘Solid Wood Bed Frame – What To Look For When Buying A Solid Wood Platform Bed‘.
If you are interested in organic latex mattress, please read my post, ‘Non Toxic, Organic Mattress – The Best Organic Latex Mattress Brands‘.
If you are interested, how mattresses can be toxic, please read my post, ‘Non Toxic Mattress Guide – Chemical-Free, Organic Mattress‘.
For non toxic sofa companies that you can shop from, please read my post, ‘Non Toxic Sofa Guide – Which Sofa Brand Is Non Toxic?‘
If you want to find out which bottled water brands are safe, please read my post ‘Safe Bottled Water Guide: Which Bottled Water Brands Are Safe?‘