I feel so sad, have to get rid of beautiful area rug

shelendeDecember 15, 2008

I purchased the rug( made in China) 3 years ago from Home Goods for about $399.00 . It started to emit an outgassing odor that I could live with but now it is getting worse and people who come into the house comment on it. I called a few carpet cleaning companies and they said that it is most likely the glue that holds the rug together that is causing the odor. The backing of the rug is a quality looking woven off white material and it makes the rug look more like a high end rug than if the backing was made of a dark rubbery material. If it was some come of insect spray the odor would not be getting worse. So what do I do now? Throw it curbside? If I donated it to a goodwill store, someone would buy it and not realize it has a bad smell till they got it home. I purchased furniture that would go with the colors in the rug and now I have to not only buy a new rug that will go with my colors, but worry about this happening again.

This was discussed a while ago and many Pottery Barn rugs had this problem.

A real oriental rug is too prohibitive in price for me.

Does anyone on Long Island have any suggestions for where I can buy a nice 8x10 that would be reasonably priced and adequate quality. I would love to hear what other have to say about this and would welcome suggestions.

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Are you using a rug pad?
I have a beautiful all wool area rug that (I thought) was emitting a horrible smell.
I went crazy.
Cleaned it, vacuumed constantly, cleaned it again, turned it over and cleaned it, etc. and it only seemed to get worse.
I finally figured out it was the rug pad and removed it.
Now there is absolutely no smell at all.
I still don't get it.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 12:22PM
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Joanie b, I am not using a rug pad. Nobody really walks on the rug, so the small is not caused by a rug pad. Thanks anyway.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 12:49PM
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I don't know your exact budget but a flat weave style of hand-knotted rug will cost a lot less.

I think that they are beautiful and have the bonus of being reversable. They are still a little higher than hand-tufted, but you won't get that awful smell.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 1:07PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

We had the same problem with our inexpensive wool rug and this is what my husband did: After checking for color fastness, he took the rug outside (it was sunny and warm at the time), washed and scrubbed it on both sides with dishwashing liquid and rinsed it thoroughly over and over again. He then put the rug on several lawn chair backs and left it outside for four or five days until it was thoroughly dry and aired out. We've had the rug back inside now for some months and there is no odor at all. Problem solved. I realize at this time of the year and where you live this technique might post some logistical complications. If you had a warm basement to dry the rug that might be an idea although I imagine drying outside would be best. I hope this is of some help to you.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 1:10PM
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Ingrid, if I had a rug cleaning company that would do that in their facility, do you think that would work?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 1:15PM
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Shelly, if it's warm enough where you live, put it outside over a fence or something. Even if you can't wash it. Sun and fresh air does wonders. You could do this in the day then roll it up at nigght and bring it in, then keep doing it until the odor is gone.

I know when our cars get an odor in them, I read to put them in the sun all day with the windows rolled down, and the smell is gone!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 1:22PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Shelly, I haven't investigated this but the rug cleaning company might charge much more than you'd want to pay for an inexpensive rug. I would try oakleyok's idea first. I remember when I went camping and sat by the wood fire for several evenings my jacket would be reeking of wood smoke. I'd hang it outside for several days and the odor would be completely gone. Why not try something simple like this first before you go to any more trouble?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 1:53PM
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Nancy Adamopoulos

I had the same problem with a wool rug. The smell actually got worse with each professional cleaning (we had it cleaned twice). I was wondering if the cleaning accelerated the breakdown of the glue in the backing (It was hand tufted). We finally had to move it to the basement because the smell was too overwhelming.

Try Overstock. they have a bunch of well priced wool rugs and a large selection. Shipping is always $2.95 or less and there are always 10% off coupon codes online.

I also had good luck with RugsUSA. They're always sending me coupon codes for 20% or 30% off and their shipping is free.

The colors aren't always the most accurate on the monitor, so I'll buy the small 2x3 version 1st to check out the colors and quality (as well as if it has a smell). I will then return it and buy the larger one if it works. Mailing the small rug back costs betweek 8 and 16 dollars, a lot less than if i bought the large rug from the start and it didn't work out.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 2:21PM
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I have had this happen to two rugs. We took one up to the attic and the attic smelled so horrible after a few weeks we had to get rid of it. The second one (recently) I thought I could lay the rug in the garage to catch bad weather crud from our shoes - nope the smell comes into the house thru the open door. The smell got worse with each of these rugs as they got older and with each cleaning. I had read somewhere to lay the rugs outside on a hot day and let the sun bake it to get rid of the odor - nope- made it worse. I also did not want an unsuspecting person buying them from a donation, so I tossed them curbside. I am sure the garbage man thinks he got a great find!
No more wool rugs for me from the bargain places, which were still expensive rugs. I loved the one rug, but I finally couldn't stand the smell. It was hard to get rid of it, but now that it is gone, and no more odor - I think I was crazy to keep it so long, no matter how well it matched everything (like the custom window treatment). I feel (smell) your pain.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 8:59PM
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What is the smell like?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 11:00PM
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shelly I have a rug cleaning business & I've dealt with a lot of off-gassing in wall to wall carpets. I get quite a few calls for this sort of stuff, because my business focuses on green cleaning & I have a number of environmentally sensitive customers. Usually, with wall to wall carpets, the culprit is the glue - either in the backing or the pad, but a good cleaning & time to air out will solve it.

Recently I've had a couple of situations concerning Wool area rugs from China, that did NOT have a backing on them, hence, no glue. Just woven. Not a noticeable odor until it gets laid out in an enclosed room, or you put your nose right up to it, but people were getting sick from the odor. One owner was told that the odor was from an insecticide that is required to be sprayed on the rug before it's imported - I suspect this was the case on both of these rugs. It's not always easy to get direct answers about this, because no one wants to own up to the fact that people really are getting sick because of their products. :(

In both of these cases was able to get rid of the odor with the method I use (although one of them required 2 cleanings) - I hope it's kosher to share the method I use here, especially since I'm really not looking for more business right now! - which is Host - it's a dry extraction method, (some moisture is used) & involves scrubbing the carpet with a natural cellulose (sponges), trapping the soil (or odors) in the sponges, & vacuuming it up once it's completely dry. It could be expensive to have it cleaned professionally, depending on your location. If you want to DIY the cleaning before giving up & tossing it, you could certainly try hosing it down, if you have someplace to dry it out thoroughly. Please be VERY sparse on any soaps you use - personally, I wouldn't use any at all if I were to do that.

FWIW, carpet manufacturers still deny that there is any problem with any glue used. Or anything else they use. uh huh.

& you're welcome to email me if you want more information on the method I use, &/or would like to see if there's a Host cleaner in your area. :)

Good luck - I hope you can save the rug :)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 11:21PM
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Moonkat - I used the dry extract method on the area rug that I loved the most and tried to keep. A good friend owns a commercial cleaning company and loaned me the machine & taught me how to use it. It really was a last ditch effort on my part. It did clean the rug beautifully - but the stink remained. I even cleaned the woven back. Both my rugs did not have glue to my untrained eye. I do not believe the origin of my rugs was China in either rug.
I was told by a rug dealer the smell is from less than hygienic surroundings in the rug making process - and probably what they use to treat them to import them to the USA to kill the mold and critters - the smell is always there in these rugs and gets worse with age. I did buy a rug from him - it has never had that smell, but it was way more expensive and a hand down to the next generation rug.
For others not familiar with the odor - it smells a bit like burning, musty rubber. Put you nose against rugs hanging on display at various stores, and I am sure you'll find a few with that smell.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 8:38AM
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Moonkat, I found your post to be most illuminating.

I ordered an 8' round Safavieh rug and spent an extra $1,000 on it because I like hand-knotted and didn't want the odor from a tufted rug. When I recieved it, it was the wrong color and had some issues with the fringe. It was supposed to be copper and was a pinky rose.

The oddest thing, however, was the stench that it emitted. It was from China and Safavieh called the wool it used a "tween" yarn that was supposed to add softness and luster.

The rug went back and I replaced it with another 8' round from Pakistan. My LR rug, I just bought, is a wool and silk Oushak from India (also hand-knot). Neither of them have any odor.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 9:58AM
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Glad I found this post. I've been searching stores and the Internet to buy an 8x10 area rug for my dining room in a reasonable price range of $500 or less.

Is there any types of rugs I should stay away from because of this stink issue? What should I look for or not look for in regard to this issue? I'd hate to spend that money only to find months or 2 years down the road I have to get rid of it due to stink.

Anyone know how long the stink smell comes out once the rug is in its resting place?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 10:11AM
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I have just gone around and smelled ALL of my area rugs LOL. None seem to be especially odoriferous to my nose.

None of my rugs are less than a year old, so I hope I am in the clear. My wool rugs have a soft cotton backing, my more expensive synthetic rugs (but none over $1000) and my cheaper rugs have a natural fiber backing. All smell perfectly fine. The only problem I have ever had with rugs is from the jute backing, when my dog use to have accidents. Cleaning the rug made them smell worse then the original odor (or as a friend said "smell worse than cat pee.) This was from the water reacting with the jute. Even after they were dry, they still smelled IMO. I ended up getting rid of those rugs after our house fire. Not because of the "cat pee" smell, but because the smoke smell never came out after they were cleaned twice.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 3:18PM
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We had this problem with a beautiful tufted rug from India that we bought from a small local rug store. It was a large rug in pastel colors, very unusual design, that we put in our bedroom. The smell was barely noticeable in cold weather, but as soon as the weather got warm, it pervaded the entire house. The store agreed to take it back and give us half of our money back (after a year and a half! but we had bought several nice rugs from them). I don't know what they did with it.

We have a large woven wool rug from China and a couple of small Persian rugs that we bought from the same store and they have no odor. We also have a couple of woven machine-made wool rugs that we bought over the Internet and those are fine as well.

My understanding is that the smell is related to the tufting process -- perhaps the glue, as someone else said -- and there's nothing that can be done about it.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 5:55PM
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About 10 years ago, I bought a tufted rug for the kitchen from Tuesday Morning. I had 2 suede chairs that sat on it in a little reading area. After a few years, I began to detect an odor similar to old foam rubber. I thought it was the suede chairs. I moved and the chairs and rug went into separate areas.

I noticed then that is was the rug smelling, not the chairs. Then I noticed that the rug was lumpy. I assumed the lumps were wool fuzz. I turned it over and made a tiny slit in the backing where one of the lumps was. It wasn't a fuzz lump, it was a pile of fine white powder. I called the Tuesday Morning corporate offices since we had moved. I got a very nice woman who did a little research and explained to me that the rugs are backed in latex to hold the tufted stitches, and that the latex backing had disintegrated on mine.

TM gave me 1/2 my money back which I thought was quite generous considering I had no sales receipt and had had the rug for a couple of years.

Even though TM was helpful and generous, I will never again buy a rug that I cannot see the back of.

As bad as you have described the problem, you have nothing to lose by taking the backing material off and seeing what is under it. Perhaps it is a substance that can be cleaned off.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 7:03PM
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