Breaking the wools


So I needed a rug. I tried to shop local. But rugs, it turns out, are like jeans–it’s really hard to find the right one, and you can’t put up with the wrong one. I ended up online, ordering a rug. The price was good, I liked the design and it was made of 100 percent wool. I really wanted something made from natural materials, since it’s going in my daughter’s room and I imagine she’ll play on it a lot.

When the rug arrived, I took it out of the plastic bag in which it was wrapped, and yikes! It didn’t look much like the picture on the website. I was trying to talk myself into liking it anyway, and I unrolled it on my daughter’s floor. When I came back a few hours later, the whole room had an unpleasant new smell–as artificial as "new car," without the charm.

What have they done to 100 percent wool to make it smell like this? I wondered.

I rolled the rug back up, waited for a sunny day and spread it out on the picnic table to do its evil off-gassing in the great outdoors. This may have worked, but I no longer care because when I went out to retrieve it, I noticed a tag: 70 percent wool, 30 percent acrylic.

Well, that explains it. I’m annoyed, of course, that the website misrepresented this product, and that I’ll now have to ship it back and start shopping all over again. (I’m also kind of relieved that it wasn’t a matter of some weird substance being added to wool.) The larger point, though: It baffles me that so much of what you can buy for your house is bad for you, and has the odor to prove it. How we got to a point where this is normal is beyond me.