6 Beautiful Eco-Friendly Rugs Made From Natural Materials

TheRoundup is reader supported. We may earn a small commission when you make a purchase via links on this site, at no cost to you.

We love eco-friendly flooring in the Miller household.

With a busy lifestyle, a dog who LOVES muddy water, and two sports-mad daughters, hard flooring is an easy-clean godsend.

Hard flooring throughout the whole house can feel a bit sterile, though. Especially in the living/family areas.

A few strategically placed sustainable rugs around the house can bring a real vibe of comfort…without impacting the planet!

Six Eco-Friendly Rugs For Sustainable Comfort Under Foot

Eco-Credentials

100% Locally-Sourced Pure Wool

They Say: Handwoven, 100% pure wool with just the right amount of texture. The wool is sourced locally in Central Mexico, and the dyeing and weaving is done in the family workshop that has been passed down over the generations. Due to the handmade nature of this product, slight variations in size may occur.

We Say: Looking for a soft and sumptuous statement piece of a rug for a big room?

Then look no further! The 8’ x 10’ wooly mammoth from Territory Design will cover even the biggest open floor space in eco-friendly luxury.

This rug's handmade quality is lovely to the touch. The perfect combination of softness and durability.

Smaller wool rugs are also available for smaller spaces.

Handcrafted in Mexico using sustainable materials, this rug is covered by the MadeTrade 15-day hassle-free returns.

MadeTrade offers a wide range of rugs in different styles, prices, and materials if wool isn’t your thing. Click here to view the full range.

Eco-Credentials

100% Local And Recycled Materials

They Say: Party on the floor! Makes for happy feet everyday! Cotton strips of fabric, woven into burlap from coffee bags makes this unique upcycled piece!

We Say: Ok. So this might be a divisive one.

I love the chaos of this confetti rug. Mrs. M thinks it looks “a total mess”.

I feel she’s being a bit harsh. It’s currently in the corner of my office, and it makes me smile daily.

One thing that’s not divisive is the eco-credentials of this rug.

Every month, tons of used clothing and wasted material from the fast fashion industry are shipped to developing countries, like Haiti, to end up in  landfill.

The ‘confetti’ strips in this rug are made from strips of that material.

Making a unique rug and keeping perfectly good material out of landfill. WIN-WIN!

I first came across Ocelot Market when researching eco-friendly cotton comforters, and I’m now a little obsessed.

They’re quickly becoming one of my favorite online destinations for eco-friendly products from authentic artisans.

Eco-Credentials

Bamboo Silk

They Say: We started working with bamboo silk a few years ago with our Deadstock collection. Though we were hesitant to work with a yarn so ethereal it reputedly could be touched by neither water nor sunlight, we were pleasantly surprised by the bamboo silk rugs we kept in our home. Despite their beauty and delicacy, they held up against dogs, children, and our own carelessness.

We Say: Full disclosure on this one. This is not a rug I tested for TheRoundup. Mrs. M bought it for her sister as a special birthday present.

However, seeing how it looks in their apartment, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

I love the abstract design and the wonderfully soft feel of the bamboo silk.

Not to your liking? Cold Picnic has an extensive range of other designs and shapes here.

Eco-Credentials

OEKO-TEX
Fair Trade USA

They Say: In a world of clones, as our souls yearn for the unique, we’re introducing our artisan-designed, one-of-a-kind carpets that we literally discovered on the side of an Indian street. Each carpet is a piece of art, created by a richly talented artisan who drew the initial design and then spent hours and hours weaving them on his loom.

We Say: This rug is currently a bit of a sore subject in the Miller household.

It was - hands down - Mrs. M’s favorite rug of all the ones we tested.

The eco-credentials were on point.

This rug is both OEKO-TEX and Fairtrade USA certified.

It looked stunning in the family room, and we thought we’d found a ‘forever rug’.

However, our loving labrador, Millie, took a very intense liking to the colorful pom poms.

Nothing we could do or say would stop her sneaking off and trying to detach one to take to her bed as her new chew toy.

With a heavy heart, Mrs. M eventually decided it was best to donate it to a close family friend.

At least she can now do and visit it every once in a while! 😊

YaYa & Co. carries an extensive range of sustainable rugs (you can view the full range here), so I doubt it’ll be long before a replacement is found.

Eco-Credentials

Global Organic Textile Standard

They Say: This modern take on the classic shag rug provides you with a luxuriously soft alternative to the cold bathroom floor. Thirsty organic cotton bath mat absorbs moisture and dries quickly for easy everyday use. Flat weave bottom sits flat.

We Say: Stepping out of the bath or shower onto a cold hard floor is both unpleasant and a slip hazard.

Not when you have a Coyuchi organic cotton bath rug!

It’s incredibly soft to tread on, and the amount of water it can hold/absorb is staggering.

Made from GOTS certified organic cotton, this machine washable (using eco-friendly laundry detergent, of course! 😉) rug is a must-have for every sustainable shower room or back-to-nature bathroom.

Available in three colors (Alpine White, Undyed, Slate), there’s an option to fit almost any color scheme.

Eco-Credentials

Upcycled

They Say: Give your guests a colorful welcome with the Upcycled Flip‒Flop Mat from artisans working with Saffy in the Philippines. Recycled rubber flip flops and metal wire. Colors and patterns vary. Handcrafted in the Philippines.

We Say: I discovered Ten Thousand Villages while researching eco-friendly dinnerware.

It’s another of my favorite online marketplaces giving artisan producers the platform to sell their wares to a broader audience.

One such artisan utilizing the Ten Thousand Villages platform is SAFFY, Inc.

SAFFY, Inc. was founded in 1966 to help the youth of the Philippines earn a fair wage for a fair day's work (in safe and humane conditions).

This upcycled flip-flop mat caught my eye. It's playful and a great use of a waste product that would otherwise go to landfill.

Recycled materials are excellent. But if you can reuse them without using more resources to recycle them, that’s even better.

It’s not strictly a rug, I know. But it looks incredible outside the side entrance to our garage/laundry room.

Things To Consider When Buying Eco-Friendly Area Rugs

Natural Materials

The most common material used to make many rugs is our old enemy plastic (polypropylene, for example).

Don’t add to the planet's plastic waste problem.

Instead, choose a rug made from sustainable fabrics and natural materials, such as:

  • Organic Cotton
  • Recycled Cotton
  • Hemp
  • Jute
  • Ethical Wool
  • Bamboo Silk
  • Natural Latex
  • Recovered textile fibers
  • Undyed wool
  • Recycled synthetic fibers
  • Eco-Cotton
  • Banana Silk

If you really do need to have plastic in your rug (for use outside, for example), then at the very least, make sure it's recycled or repurposed plastic, not virgin plastic.

Toxic Chemicals

Most mainstream rugs are coated with a range of chemicals to keep them looking cleaner for longer.

That ‘box fresh’ smell is not as appealing as you might think. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) can be released from rugs and carpets into your home and reduce indoor air quality.

Eco-friendly rugs are made with zero chemicals. Or, at the very least, dramatically reduced chemical levels.

Fair Trade

Buying from a company that believes in fair trade ensures that everyone in the supply chain has been paid a fair price for their skills and/or materials.

The best way to ensure fair trade ethics have been followed is to look out for the Fair Trade Certified logo.

Company Ethics

Usually, when fabric is involved, you need to be careful of greenwashing throughout the supply chain.

Some unscrupulous suppliers/manufacturers will try to make out that their materials and processes are more eco-friendly than they are.

Always shop with brands you can trust (like the ones in this article).

An excellent place to start is by looking out for accreditation to trusted organizations, such as Certified B Corporation, Global Organic Textile Standard, OEKO-TEX, and GoodWeave, to name but a few.

Do You Need A New Rug?

Maybe your old tatty rug just needs a good clean to bring it back to life.

Buy Cheap Buy Twice

It’s an unavoidable fact that quality eco-friendly products cost more than their mass-produced counterparts.

However, it's also usually true that they’re of better quality and last longer.

Buying the best quality rug for your budget means that you won't need to replace it for many years, decades, or even at all!

Check Out The Thrift Stores

Before buying new, maybe consider jumping on your eco-friendly electric bike and scouring the thrift stores and flea markets for a pre-loved eco-friendly bargain.

More of a stay-at-home shopper? AptDeco makes finding pre-loved items for your home quick and easy.

Dispose Of Your Old Rug Responsibly

Someone might love your old rug even if you don’t anymore.

Donate it to a worthy cause to give it a new lease of life.

If it’s really at the end of its life, then ensure that you don't just toss it in the trash. Check the recycling rules in your local area. Some mattress recycling programs also take rugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Rugs Are Toxic?

A few things to look out for and potentially avoid are:

  • Polypropylene (also called olefin or polyolefin)
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Formaldehyde
  • Stain repellent treatments
  • Water repellent treatments
  • Flame retardant treatments
  • Synthetic rubber backings
  • Toxic dyes

Are Jute Rugs Eco-Friendly?

Yes. Jute is an eco-friendly material, and, in the hands of an ethical manufacturer, its natural fibers can be made into a very sustainable rug.

Can You Vacuum Sustainable Rugs?

Yes. All the sustainable rugs recommended in this article are robust enough to be vacuumed.

What’s A Rug Pad

Rug pads are placed under rugs to stop them from moving around. Make sure you choose one made from eco-friendly materials like this one, made from jute and natural rubber.

The Final Word

Whether you’re looking to add color to brighten up hardwood/tiled floors, or you need some daily fluffy heaven when you step out of the shower, sustainable rugs form the foundation of a sustainable home.

Just maybe steer clear of pom poms if you have an inquisitive labrador in your life!

Get In Touch

Where do you buy your eco-friendly rugs? Have I missed your favorite floor covering? Are organic cotton rugs your thing? Or do you prefer more unusual materials, such as jute or bamboo silk? Drop me a line and let me know.

You May Also Like

James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

The Roundup

Your guide to a green and eco-friendly lifestyle. We offer simple, practical advice that anyone can follow. Together we can make a difference today & save tomorrow.
BUY ECO FRIENDLY
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram