Carpet VOC Off-Gassing

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. 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 prevent, remove, or get rid of most 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.

The only way to ensure you never have any issues with VOCs is to get a carpet that has already had them removed. Most manufacturers won’t remove them due to cost, but Mohawk’s Air.o line has put in the extra work of making sure their carpet has no VOCs and low latex so it is safe for everyone.