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7th March 2020

How wool interiors can help clean the air in your home

How wool interiors can help clean the air in your home

How wool can suck the poison out of your home

Wool is a highly complex natural fibre that brings many specific benefits to a huge variety of different products, but did you know that if you choose wool for interior products such as carpets it can actually help to remove potentially harmful chemicals from your home? Scientific research has suggested that fitting woollen carpets, curtains and soft furnishings can actually improve air quality inside our homes and offices, all thanks to the amazing qualities of wool fibre.

VOCs – potentially harmful chemicals

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present in many substances we use daily in our homes - cleaning fragrances, paint, glue and furniture. Certain VOCs, such as formaldehyde, are now recognised as known carcinogens, and are linked to an increase in cancer. VOCs are also associated with ‘sick building syndrome’, where people living or working in a particular building have symptoms such as headaches and allergic reactions.

How does wool absorb VOCs?

A team from Bangor University carried out research to assess the ability of wool to absorb harmful chemicals. Duroing the project the team exposed wool to formaldehyde and a range of VOCs emitted by furniture made from Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) and chipboard, limonene, which is the lemony smell in cleaning products, and toluene, found in paint thinners. The results demonstrated that wool absorbed all of the chemicals, which became bound to the structure of the fibres.

Head of Materials Research at Bangor University, Graham Ormondroyd said: “The research demonstrated that wool – a natural and sustainable material – is able to absorb a range of potentially harmful chemicals from the indoor environment. The more wool you have the more it can absorb.” 

As we have previously mentioned wool also helps to manage humidity in the air, storing the excess moisture in the core of the fibre and then releasing it when the air is drier. This is another important benefit supporting clean air since rising moisture levels create a breeding ground for mould which could later develop into “toxic mould syndrome”, which has also previously been linked to sick building syndrome.

Amongst other benefits, wool carpets can also help prevent pet odours – another reason to choose them for the family home.

Thank you to Brockway Carpets for use of their images

References

Journal of Materials Science article

Public Health England - Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for selected Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the UK

https://www.blackmountaininsulation.com/passive-solutions

https://www.britishwool.org.uk/blog-clean-air

Image credit Brockway Carpets - winners of thew 2019 Wool Carpet & Rug Awards

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