Ahh, allergies. You change your filter regularly, take your shoes off at the front door, and even scrub and clean your floors—so why are you still sneezing all day and night?! Allergens make their way into homes no matter how clean they are. Dust, pollen, dander, microscopic mold, and other organisms will come into your home no matter how many precautions you take, and they always end up on the floor because, well, gravity. In some ways, this is good because it means these particles aren’t circulating the air, but every time you step onto your carpet, you’re sending clouds of allergens back into the air.
Fortunately, there are hypoallergenic rugs made today that can even lessen allergens from floating into the air. Popular allergen-free rugs include polyester and nylon materials, which are often used for making clothes. These synthetic materials are developed in laboratories to repel allergens. They are nonorganic fibers that offer an inhospitable climate. Mold will have nothing to eat on these fibers, and pollen will dry out. If you are the allergic type, avoid wool or shag rugs as wool can allow allergens to thrive and shag rugs have plenty of space for allergens to get trapped. Stick to synthetic materials and tightly woven strands.
When choosing a rug for a larger room, you don’t want to cut out all of your options because of your allergies. There is no need to be disappointed! Thankfully, there are so many synthetic rugs that pass the allergen test. These synthetic rugs come in a variety of styles, textures, and colors to offer you a wide range of options for choosing the best rug to match your home’s style.
Nylon and polyester are the best choices for avoiding allergic reactions. Nylon was originally developed as a substitute for silk, so it is soft and bright like silk material but more durable, affordable, and easier to clean. This low-cost material is a strong synthetic fiber known for being resilient and springing back after being bent or crushed. This is why nylon rugs are great for high-traffic areas and under furniture. They are easily cleaned and repel most dirt, grime, and dust. Polyester is soft and rich in color. This affordable material is not damaged by moths, mold, or mildew, and polyester repels water.
Rugs With Low Piles
When dealing with allergens, you want to stick with tightly woven fibers and low pile heights. This will avoid particles getting trapped in the rug. The most important rug type to avoid with allergies is a shag rug. Shag rugs have long fibers and higher piles that can easily trap allergens. The larger and plusher a rug, the harder it will be to remove foreign irritants from it.
Low-pile rugs with tightly-woven fibers are ideal for people with allergies because fewer allergens will get stuck in the fiber and they are better at keeping allergens away. When searching for a rug, look at pile heights lower than a quarter inch. This clean and modern rug is a great example of a low pile that is easy to clean and spot dirt or grime. You can find a wide variety of rugs with low pile heights. This colorful rug proves just that!
Natural Materials That Pass The Allergen Test
Natural materials like cotton, sisal, jute, seagrass, and hemp are all natural fibers that are good for people who tend to have allergies. If you prefer natural materials to synthetic, these are the materials to go for. These particular natural materials are all woven into thinner rugs, which means they all have lower pile heights. They also all tend to shed less, which can help prevent allergic reactions. This is another reason you want to avoid wool—it tends to shed which spreads irritants.
Cotton rugs are versatile, durable, and come in many colors and styles. They are less expensive and are naturally hypoallergenic. Hemp rugs are soft and pliable and have an earthy look and feel to them. Jute is an environmentally-friendly fiber that is very strong, as well as affordable. Seagrass rugs are also eco-friendly and are durable and easy to clean. Seagrass is one of the most stain-resistant natural fibers on the market. Sisal rugs cost little and are durable and hypoallergenic. Sisal is naturally insulating which reduces humidity and heating and cooling costs.
Rugs Labeled Low VOC
When talking about allergens in the air, it is also important to talk about other air pollutants, such as toxins. Chemical treatments used in many rugs will convert to gas over time and enter the air. This can affect indoor air quality and make anyone’s allergies worsen over time. Rugs labeled low VOC (volatile organic compound) will have minimal amounts of substances such as formaldehyde and benzene. These chemical treatments are useful in neutralizing or repelling offending particles, but minimal amounts are ideal to both prevent trapping allergens while preventing poor air quality.
If you don’t see a low VOC label, play it safe with environmentally-friendly rugs that are naturally hypoallergenic like cotton, hemp, or sisal. This hemp rug has a beautiful, earthy feel to it that would make your home feel more natural. If you’re more into color, we love this bright blue cotton rug or this pink cotton rug. Sisal rugs are great for screened-in porches, patios, and front halls because of their durable, yet natural makeup.
Small, Machine-Washable Rugs
If you’re nervous about bringing a rug into your home with your allergies, help yourself out by keeping things low maintenance. If you have severe allergies, no matter what precautions you take, you are still going to have issues in your home—whether you have a rug or not. Even with a naturally hypoallergenic rug, your rug will still collect particles from the air that you will have to clean.
Instead of investing in a large rug that will be difficult to clean routinely, try layering small, machine-washable rugs. Or only place small rugs throughout the home and decorate them as area rugs. This will make it easy to toss your rug in the wash on a regular basis so you can know you’re keeping your home as clean and free of allergens as possible. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a smaller area rug.