If you’ve ever had carpet installed in your home, you may be familiar with that “new carpet smell”, but where does it come from?
Off-gassing is the process by which chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air. This may sound intimidating at first, but VOCs are released from many common household products. When it comes to carpet, the VOCs are primarily associated with the backing.
Potential Health Risks
Off-gassing affects everyone differently. Most people won’t notice anything, while others may be bothered by the smell for a few days. Unfortunately, others may develop mild to severe health problems from VOCs.
VOCs carry the potential to irritate your eyes, cause headaches, nausea, or dizziness. More severely, your respiratory or central nervous system could be affected. In extreme cases, the chemicals could lead to cancer.
How Long do VOCs Last?
Once your carpet has been unrolled and installed, the odor from off-gassing should subside within a few days or a week. The odor is a byproduct of latex backed carpets, which account for the vast majority of carpet backings. Carpets can emit VOCs for months or even years after they have been laid unless you take some preventative measures.
While VOCs will eventually leave on their own, there are a few ways to remove or get rid of most of the VOCs from your new carpeting. Practicing proper ventilation the first few days after install will help kickstart the process. You could also vacuum and follow up with hot water extraction (steam cleaning) to remove a good portion of those VOCs.
An effective way to limit exposure to VOCs is to get a carpet that does not use a latex backing. Dream Weaver has one of their carpet displays safe for everyone by using no latex, keeping the VOCs emitted to a minimum.