Question from Beth

Hi Debra,

I refer often to your book and website and am eager for your tips on an issue keeping me up at night!

We have two small children and are currently stuck in a house where one floor has newish (2009 install) Berber carpet that has been treated for stain/water resistance.

I don’t let the kids walk barefoot in one room, and have covered the floors in the others with small area rugs, but cleaning these regularly is impractical. We’re not in a position to replace with wood or other.

I’d be so grateful for any ideas to keep them safer.

Do we know how long carpets treated for stain/water resistance can continue to “rub off” on skin? I’m guessing it’s likely the life of the product.

Thank you!!

Debra’s Answer

Yes, for the life of the product.

Foil will block any chemical fumes. While you can’t lay foil on a carpet and walk on it, there are products available that is foil sandwiched between two layers of nontoxic polyethylene plastic.

Reflectix is the brand I have experience with. It’s made for insulation, but you could lay this over your carpet and it would 100% block any fumes. Then you could lay sheets or other fabric over the top to improve appearance.

Not the most beautiful solution, I know, but it will block any outgassing.

That said, a carpet from 2009 may have little outgassing. You may want to make pads of reflective for them to play on rather than doing the whole room. I would minimize skin contact.

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