Carpets may be a source of air pollution in your home as they emit a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde, benzene, and styrene. Sources of pollutants include: a new carpet, the underpad, and any adhesives used for installation. Biological irritants commonly found in carpets include bacteria, dust, dust mites, pet dander and moulds.


  • If possible, limit or remove all carpeting in your home.
  • Ask your retailer for low emission carpet and padding.
  • Do not let babies or toddlers crawl on a brand new carpet since they can breathe in large amounts of chemicals. Air out the carpet and ventilate the home for several days or weeks before allowing children to play on it.
  • When getting rid of an old carpet, vacuum it before removal to limit the amount of particles released into the air.
  • When new carpet is being installed, open windows in your home and turn on exhaust fans and the central ventilation system to provide as much fresh air as possible. Try to stay away from your home during installation. 
  • Vacuum carpets regularly with a central vacuum system or one with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.
  • Use a low odour carpet cleaner that has no caution or toxic symbol. Make sure the carpet dries fully after wet cleaning.
  • To remove odours, sprinkle baking soda onto carpet, let stand for 15 minutes or more, and vacuum afterwards.
  • Clean spills promptly and thoroughly. If your carpet is water damaged and mouldy, it should be removed and thrown away.
  • Do not wear shoes inside the home as they track in dirt and other potentially harmful items from the outdoors and can become trapped within your carpet.

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Did You Know

Many new pieces of furniture (such as particleboard or fibreboard) as well as freshly dry cleaned clothes may release odours into the air adding to indoor air pollution. It's called off-gassing.

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Page Last Updated: 18/06/2018