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Can New Carpet Make You Sick?

You might have read about people having breathing difficulties after having a new carpet installed in their living room or bedroom. This makes you wonder if there's something about new carpets that makes people sick. That's what we asked the experts, and here's what they have to say.

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New carpet can make you sick because its materials and adhesives contain VOCs. As soon as the carpet is rolled out onto your floor, it begins off-gassing. This means the harmful gases mix will contaminate your indoor air quality. You may experience adverse health effects such as dizziness, headache, eye irritation, and difficulty breathing.

Keep on reading to know more about off-gassing in new carpets and how it affects your health. We'll also tell you how you can get rid of carpet fumes and how often carpets need to be replaced. Let's get this started!

Interior of an empty living room with carpeted flooring, white trims window sills and tan painted walls, Can New Carpet Make You Sick?

Are new carpets toxic?

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Carpets offer a lot of benefits to your home. They provide warmth and comfort, making the room cozier at any given time. They also cushion our feet and minimize slips and accidents from happening. Carpets also add to the beauty and style of your room especially since they come in various designs and colors that would complement any interior design.

Cream painted walls, carpeted flooring inside an empty living room

However, it would help to know that new carpets undergo off-gassing for a certain period. This will help you manage your expectations and make the necessary preparations for the new carpet installation.

But first, what is off-gassing; is it dangerous to our health?

Gray carpeted flooring, light gray walls and white trims

Off-gassing refers to the emission of toxic gases into the air. These gases come from harmful chemicals that make up the composition of the material. Take note that since we're talking about new carpets, this process happens inside the room which would affect the quality of your indoor air.

Carpets are composed of fibers, backing, and pads. These are joined together with the use of adhesives. Some of these components are made of chemicals that contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds such as 4-phenyl cyclohexane and styrene.

When these harmful gases are released into the air, they can affect your health. They can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, eye irritation, and difficulty in breathing. Those with asthma, allergies, and respiratory diseases are especially at risk.

It is recommended not to stay in the room for two to five days after the carpet installation. This will protect you from inhaling these toxic fumes and affecting your health. You can stay in another room or if you're having carpet installed in different parts of the house, better make arrangements to stay somewhere else.

How do you get rid of new carpet fumes?

Empty carpeted living room, white trims and tan painted walls

Since the smell of a new carpet can irritate your eye and respiratory system, it's best to get rid of the smell at the soonest possible time. Here are some tips on how to remove the new carpet odor.

Ventilate

Open the doors and windows to allow air to circulate properly. You can also put electric fans and turn on your HVAC system to help with the proper airflow and pull the unwanted odor out of the room.

Vacuum

Right after the new carpet installation, you need to vacuum the area to remove any leftover dirt on its surface. The carpet was probably in the stockroom for a long time and acquired lots of dust or even debris while in storage. Vacuuming will also help get rid of the smell as it freshens up your carpet.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has been known for being able to absorb unpleasant odors. You can put some baking soda in small bowls and place these bowls in different parts of the room with freshly installed carpet. Baking soda would suck the foul odor from the new carpet.

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Take note that it is not advised to sprinkle baking soda all over the carpet. Once it is time to clean it up, you would have to use the vacuum. Baking soda can damage the filters of some vacuum types so to be safe, put it in a bowl or plate instead and they'll be able to do their magic from there.

Steam

You can also do steam cleaning on your new carpet. You can mix vinegar with water and use this solution for cleaning. Vinegar is effective in removing strong odors, so you can get rid of the new carpet smell ASAP.

Indoor Plants

If you have indoor plants, you can put them inside the newly carpeted room. They will be able to absorb the smell as well as the moisture and dust in the surroundings.

Apples & Onions

These are just some of the food items that you can use to help you get rid of the new carpet smell. Both are effective in absorbing odors in their immediate vicinity.

You would have to cut the apples and onions in half and put them in small bowls that you can place in different corners of the room.

There you go! These are just some of the ways for you to remove the unwanted smell from your new carpet. It's best to combine these efforts so that you can get rid of the foul odor much faster. 

How often should you replace the carpet?

Beige carpeted flooring, white ceiling and white trims

Carpets have a limited lifespan. More so because of the sensitive nature of their material. Carpets have a life expectancy of about 5 to 15 years. Of course, it would depend on the quality of the material used and how you use and maintain your flooring. This means that it can last longer with proper care but it could also have a shorter lifespan if not used the right way.

What we're saying here is that there is no specific time when you should have your carpet replaced. But here are some signs for you to consider getting a new carpet.

Presence of Stubborn Stains

We are advised to do a spot cleaning when there's dirt or spills on the carpet's surface. The faster you remove the dirt, the less likely it'll leave a stain. Of course, we don't like stains because they ruin the material and make your carpet less presentable.

However, there comes a time when you'll find that the stains are getting harder to remove no matter how much effort you exert. This is a sign that it's time to have your carpet replaced.

Damaged Surface

If your carpet is damaged beyond repair, it is time to get a new one so as not to compromise your comfort and safety. This includes any damage incurred from burns and rips while moving furniture. These are unsightly to behold, especially if the damage is in a prominent area.

Carpet Makes You Uncomfortable

A living room painted in tan, white trims and carpeted flooring

One of the main reasons for choosing carpet flooring is the comfort it gives you. The carpeted floor is more comfortable to walk on and gives an additional layer of protection to cushion your fall.

However, when the carpet starts losing its fibers, it no longer becomes comfortable to walk on it. Its surface becomes rough. It also no longer provides enough cushion under your feet and more so when you fall on its surface.

Over time, dirt can also accumulate and settle deep inside the carpet. This can trigger allergies and breathing difficulties. It may also emit a nasty odor that'll make you uneasy inside your own home. When this happens, it is no longer healthy to keep it around which is why it would be better to get a new carpet already.

Carpet Is No Longer Presentable

Carpets add to the overall appeal of the room. It gives it a soft and chic look. But a dirty, stained, and damaged carpet won't be able to give you that. It becomes unpresentable.

There comes a time when it will no longer spark joy. When this happens, you'll know it's time to get a new one that'll enhance your interior design.

In other words, only you can tell when you need to have your carpet replaced.

Final Thoughts

Interior of an empty living room with carpeted flooring, white trims window sills and tan painted walls

You can expect off-gassing in freshly installed carpets, so make the necessary preparations to get rid of the smell ASAP. It is also best to stay away from the room with the new carpet installation to protect yourself from inhaling the harmful gases that could affect your health.

To know more about carpets, feel free to read the following posts:

What Can You Use In A Carpet Cleaner? [11 Options]

What’s Under My Carpet? Here’s How To Tell