Off -gassing from rugs is not an uncommon problem. Latex type adhesives are used in some hand
tufted rugs, (not to be confused with hand knotted rugs) to help bond tufts into the primary
backing. A secondary backing of cotton is usually held on with the same adhesive. Th is glue
slowly releases gasses (off -gassing) as it cures over time. Th is off -gassing can continue for several
months and under hot humid conditions may persist for a number of years.
It is unclear exactly what chemicals are released, but there is thought to be a signifi cant amount
of Ammonia. Ammonia dissolved in water makes an alkaline solution. In a high humidity
environment this can cause alkaline damage on wool. Sulphur is liberated from the protein
structure of the wool, and this leads to a yellow colouration of the fi bres.
Th is is normally considered impossible, if not very diffi cult to rectify. However in this case, the
consumer was prepared to pay extra for some specialist treatments and a satisfactory result was
obtained. All parties involved were happy. Th e unit owner and purchaser were pleased with the
final result and the WoolSafe operator was very pleased with the remuneration received from a
job well done.