Sunday, January 30, 2011

do you smell what i smell?

I finished taking my antibiotics a couple of days ago but my cough and respiratory problems continue to plague me. While I'm still exhausted a good portion of the time, I'm also noticing that certain rooms in the house are more problematic for me than others and we're starting to wonder if in addition to being sick if I'm also experiencing asthma-like symptoms from the carpets in our house.

I can smell them.

What the what you ask? You see, I have an extremely sensitive nose (but I'm not one of those people that hates perfume.) I can smell things other people can't. (Don't get me started on standing next to people with dirty hair - it truly makes me want to vomit.) And now I can smell our rugs and it's not good.

I can't tell you how many rugs we've gone through here at the casa. Pottery Barn, Target, FLOR (goodness, what a mistake THAT look was!), etc. We had one beautiful rug from Pottery Barn that we had to remove to the basement because of offgassing. Now, nearly five years after having purchased it, the rug in our dining room (which used to be in our bedroom when we first got it) is doing the same thing. Here's the rub though - your carpets/rugs are supposed to "offgas" when they're new, not years after purchase. But some foul stench is definitely in the air, and it's the same exact one that sent our previous rug to the basement.

And I'm starting to detect whiffs of it on our brown rug in the living room (not from the same store). The rug in our hallway, which is a custom job from a carpet store, has never been a problem. Neither has the braided rug in our office from Target.

So, that leaves me to wonder if maybe I'm super-sensitive to the wool and not-wool fibers in the beautiful carpets we've purchased and if in fact they're one of the causes of my respiratory ailments. Because I have to tell you, I'm not getting better.

I'm thinking we'll send the rugs down to the basement for awhile to see how that affects my breathing and wheezing, but then I'm fearful that'll leave us with cold, barren floors. And don't get me started about what bad shape our hardwoods are in and the multitude of sins being hid by these rugs. I may have to find some large scale 100% cotton rag rugs on the cheap (is that even possible?) and throw them down just to keep some warmth in these rooms.


  1. Maybe we should just get more custom rugs made and put mattress pads underneath them. Most of the cost of the rugs is the surging around the outside so they're not all that expensive.

  2. Is it kind of a burning rubber smell? I recently had this problem with a (fortunately fairly inexpensive) rug in my son's room. We've had it for about two years and the smell only developed recently. After some digging around on google it sounds like the problem is the latex adhesive used to affix the fibers to the backing breaks down (sometimes heat and humidity can speed this process) and causes the smell. Once the adhesive starts breaking down there's nothing that can be done to remove the smell.

    Again, I am glad for us that it happened with the $70 target rug and not a several-hundred-dollar Pottery Barn rug (as a lot of people have complained about online). I'm going to be wary of buying any of those tufted-style rugs in the future.

  3. That's too bad about the rugs. You've been feeling miserable far too long. I hope it does the trick.

  4. @sabrarocks - yes, it is exactly a type of burning rubber smell. I would never have been able to classify it as such until I read the other day people describing it like that. I've been calling it noxious, disgusting, vomitous, etc. but that really isn't very descriptive when trying to tell people exactly what the problem is.


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