Wool Carpets Are Actually Cleaning the Air!
Recent scientific research suggests that installing wool carpets, curtains and soft furnishings could actually improve air quality inside homes and offices.
In these days of green initiatives and eco-friendly solutions, it is always good to hear that a natural and sustainable product that we work with daily can actually help in our homes.
A wool carpet could help cut air pollution inside family homes, research suggests.
Wool absorbs harmful chemicals which come from cleaning fragrances, paint, glue and furniture, scientists have claimed.
Note the sheep are for illustration purposes only. We do not recommend keeping grazing animals in your lounge.
There are a surprisingly large number of nasty chemicals that we are exposed to in daily life. For example formaldehyde (from fibreboard furniture) has been reported as causing health concerns in both domestic and business environments, these concerns being generally known as ‘sick building syndrome’.
These volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as gaseous formaldehyde, toluene, limonene and dodecane are of increasing concern due to their role as accumulating indoor air contaminants. Fortunately wool has been shown to absorb them.
Apparently volatile organic compounds have been connected to cancer and breathing problems. Researchers said wool might also be useful in combating chemicals breathed in at workplaces.
Wool carpets can help cut air pollution by absorbing harmful chemicals from cleaning fragrances. It is thought these can be a cause of ‘sick building syndrome’, where workers complain of feeling ill.
Scientists exposed sheep wool to VOCs including formaldehyde – which is linked to cancer and emitted by furniture made from MDF and chipboard.
They also saw what effect wool had on limonene, which is the lemony smell in cleaning products, and toluene, found in paint thinners.
The team from Bangor University said wool absorbed all of the chemicals, which became bound to the structure of the fibres.
Wool from the Blackface sheep breed was found to be the most absorbent, followed by Swaledale sheep.
The researchers said: ‘It suggests that installing wool carpets, curtains and soft furnishings could actually improve air quality inside homes and offices.’ They added: ‘Wool – a natural and sustainable material – is able to absorb a range of potentially harmful chemicals from the indoor environment. This has important considerations for the prevention or the reduction of ‘sick building syndrome’ at a time when this issue is becoming more prevalent.
‘The use of wool in building design may therefore have an important role not only in imparting thermal efficiency but also in the improvement of indoor air quality.
Graham Ormondroyd, head of materials research at Bangor University, who co-authored the report published in the journal Green Materials, said: ‘The more wool you have the more it can absorb. When sick building syndrome accounts for £9billion worth of work days lost it is worth considering.
The detailed research paper is available. This paper summarises the quantitative analysis of the absorption of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), namely gaseous formaldehyde, toluene, limonene and dodecane, by different wool types. The paper demonstrates the potential of wool as a sustainable and natural solution to this problem.