If you’re like us, you find it really important to have a safe, happy, comfortable home to relax and refuel in before going out and making a difference in the world.
Whether you rent or own your home, we all have the opportunity to make eco-friendly shopping choices from what kind of mattress we sleep on at night (or afternoon nap); items we fill kitchen cabinets and bookshelves with; to the candles we light (and what we light them with).
Much like how our clothes are made and what they’re made from makes a huge difference for people and the planet — how rugs are made is really important too!
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you find the perfect rug to compliment your home — and not at the harm of the planet. We’ll also give you some more information about eco-friendly rugs and textiles to give you some context as you shop.
What makes a rug eco-friendly?
As with most purchases we make, sustainable consumption really comes down to two factors: people and the planet. When it comes to choosing an eco-friendly rug, that means making sure the materials used to make it neither harmed the planet when they were created or sourced, nor will harm it at the end of the rug’s “life” either.
Additionally, we want the people who made the rug to have safe working conditions and be compensated appropriately for their labor.
Here’s how to choose a sustainable and ethical rug:
✅ Look for natural and renewable materials
✅ Double check for transparent and ethical labor practices
✅ Consider shopping secondhand, when possible
Choose a rug made from natural and renewable materials
When it comes to materials, look for fibers and fabrics that are natural and renewable, like cotton, wool, and jute.
Many rugs are made from polyester, a type of plastic made from petroleum. While turning petroleum into a rug doesn’t necessarily have the same negative impact as burning it for fuel — the process to make it is still carbon-intensive and devastating for the planet, from the drilling to the manufacturing.
Additionally, because polyester is really cheap to make (only in terms of dollars, the cost of making it is truly so high in every other area), manufacturers often over-produce it. Petroleum-based products are also non-renewable and non-biodegradable — so at the end of its life, a polyester-based rug will be in a landfill for hundreds of years.
At the the same time, it’s important to note that there are unsustainable ways to harvest natural, renewable materials like wool and cotton, too. An eco-friendly rug should never come with the additional cost of land degradation from poor cotton farming practices, or animal mistreatment by over-shearing sheep for wool.
Companies who truly care about sustainability and caring for the planet will be transparent about their supply chain, and may even get certifications like the Responsible Wool Standard, Recycled Claim Standard, and/or Global Organic Textile Standard.
Choose rugs from brands that are transparent about their labor practices
When it comes to protecting the people who make our rugs, the best certification we can look for is items that are Fair Trade Certified, meaning the company improves livelihoods, protects the environment, and builds resilient, transparent supply chains.
It’s important to note that getting certified can be cost-prohibitive, especially for smaller businesses, so you can also look for transparency on a brand’s website about their labor practices — and if there are gaps or you have questions, reach out!
At the very least, your concern will communicate to the company that these principles are something you care about as a consumer.
Shopping secondhand is the most eco-friendly way to purchase a rug
And as always, the most eco-friendly thing you can do when rug shopping is to shop secondhand! These items — even ones made with polyester or synthetic materials — already exist in the world, and the most eco-friendly thing we can do is keep them out of a landfill and extend their “life” in our homes.
It also helps ensure companies don’t over-produce items and create more than is truly needed by consumers. Depending where you live, a quick search in your local Facebook marketplace, no-buy group, or other item swap group can yield so many great secondhand options.
If after looking for something secondhand, you find you’re still in the market for a new, eco-friendly rug for your home, we scoured the internet for brands that meet our criteria for sustainability, caring for both the planet and people.
Here are our favorite sustainable rugs
The brands you see listed here sent members of our team a rug to review for this article. (Our reviews are always honest. Receiving free products for testing never impacts our writing — and brands don’t get any influence on our editorial process.)
We broke down our reviews based on the rug’s packaging, quality, and design to help you make the best decision for your home, your wallet — and the planet.
By the way, some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
What’s good: CICIL makes its rugs from 100% natural, renewable, and non-toxic materials sourced directly from a farmers collective where small batches of wool are compiled from family farms around New York, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. CICIL’s rugs are sewn by hand in North Carolina by a family-owned manufacturer, Carolinas, which also helps keep the company’s carbon footprint small.
CICIL uses no petroleum-based fibers, synthetic dyes, or toxic chemicals that other companies use to enhance and prolong rug “performance” because, as they say on their website, “There’s no need - wool is already a natural performance fiber, with inherent antimicrobial and stain resisting properties.”
Shearing is actually necessary for sheep, and CICIL’s farmers shear theirs in late spring or early summer, to”lighten their load” for the hotter months ahead. Unlike other wool rug manufacturers, CICIL uses all fiber colors to reduce waste and add value for their farmers.
Details: Megan got to test CICIL’s Curvy Runner, which is made from 72% wool and 28% jute. For stability, the wool is braided around the jute, which the company sources from deadstock fibers — materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It’s sewn together with 100% cotton thread so the entire rug is natural and fully biodegradable.
- Packaging: I loved that it arrived in plastic-free packaging — just the exterior box, tied with a cotton ribbon, and recyclable paper tag/card.
- Quality: Recently turned on to wool rugs for their natural stain-resistance and durability, I was so impressed with the sturdy yet soft and cozy feel of this CICIL runner.
- Design: The shape is so unique and unlike anything I’ve found or seen anywhere else. It’s minimalistic, with a bit of fun and interest, which is my favorite combo.
What’s good: Lorena Canals is a woman-owned and woman-founded company that got its start creating washable rugs for kids. Now, understanding the demand and sustainability offered by washable rugs, the brand offers them for every room of the house.
In addition to using textiles and dyes that are both safe for people and the planet, Lorena Canals uses no chemicals in its production process. The company also created a “RUGCYCLED” collection that uses cotton leftovers and scraps from their other products to maintain a zero-waste status.
Based in Barcelona, the Lorena Canals factory is in India, where artisans make each of the pieces by hand. The brand employs more than 170 artisans under fair trade practices, provides employment opportunities for women, and has its own foundation, which provides food and education to low-income children in India.
Details: Kamrin got to test Lorena Canals’ Natural Cotton Terrazzo Rug, which is made from 97% cotton, 3% “other fiber” with a recycled cotton base. It’s handmade using natural cotton and nontoxic dyes and is completely washable in a conventional, household washing machine.
- Packaging: My rug came folded in a large cardboard box with no plastic packaging. I was so happy to see that it was in good condition and that there wasn’t any unnecessary waste inside the package. It was super easy to roll out in my space and easily recycle the box.
- Quality: I love how plush and soft this rug is. You can tell it’s made with quality fibers, and it’s built to last, while still being light and easy to transport.
- Design: I chose this rug because the colors were fun and matched well with my interior space without being too ostentatious. The artistry in the design is my favorite thing about this piece!
Other notes: I love how this rug is made from great materials, but also that it’s able to be washed in a regular washing machine! With its light background, I don’t have to worry about a few small stains or regular wear, since I can take care of it easily.
Archive New York via Made Trade
What’s good: Made Trade is an online marketplace that sources high-quality, sustainable goods — from clothing and shoes to furniture and home decor. Made Trade believes anything we consume should put people and the planet first, so the company puts fair wages above profits, sustainability over mass production, and transparency above everything.
And its collection of rugs are no different.
Made Trade’s rug options include options of all shapes and sizes, made of materials like jute, wool, and cotton, for both indoor and outdoor use, and at a variety of price points.
This rug brand in particular, Archive New York, uses small batch production cycles by a family-owned rug business outside of Oaxaca. Archive New York’s team works exclusively with artisan weavers in Mexico, Guatemala, and India to help preserve fragile art forms (like foot loom weaving). All their artisans receive living wages through either direct trade or certified Fair Trade groups.
Details: Amanda got to try the Zapotec Checkered Wool Rug by Archive New York, which is handwoven by artisans in the community of Teotitlán del Valle, Mexico, where ancestral techniques, foot looms, and the rug-making practice has been passed down through generations.
Each rug is tightly woven with hand-dyed, 100% locally grown wool. It’s advised that this particular piece be dry cleaned or spot cleaned if necessary.
- Packaging: My stylish new runner came rolled up in a medium-sized cardboard box with no plastic packaging. I loved how they included a simple informational tag with the product’s origin story, care instructions, and a sweet card from Made Trade detailing its social mission.
- Quality: The quality craftsmanship behind this piece is shown in the way it was constructed. Its tightly woven wool structure makes it soft enough to comfortably walk on but durable enough for daily use. The blue hand-dyed color is beautifully vibrant and consistent throughout the rug.
- Design: Call me a maximalist, but I love playing with color and texture! The checkered design immediately elevated my kitchen space while also adding a much-needed pop of color — all without (in my opinion) overpowering the area.
Other environmentally-friendly rug brands
While Good Good Good team members haven’t gotten a chance to enjoy these area rugs (yet), we’ve spent time reading reviews, researching claims and certifications, and compiling some other great options for our readers.
Absolutely consider these sustainable and ethical rugs as you’re shopping:
YaYa & Co.
What’s good: YaYa & Co. sources sustainably-made rugs from artisans and ensures they are paid “more than fairly” for their work. Rather than rugs that wear out and have to be thrown away, all of their rugs are intended so high-quality they can be passed down for generations.
Details: YaYa & Co.’s rug collection features a variety of flatwoven, vintage-style, and tufted options. While the certifications for each varies, the techniques used to make their rugs make them truly one-of-a-kind rugs. You’ll find rugs that are Fair Trade Certified, made in family-owned factories, use organice materials, naturally hand-dyed colors, and are OEKO-TEX® Certified, which means the materials are safe for human health.
What’s good: Parachute is a woman-owned and woman-founded home goods brand that’s committed to offering high-quality products with expert craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and social responsibility.
Details: Parachute is also OEKO-TEX Certified, so their products are made without chemicals or synthetics that are harmful to the maker, consumer, and environment. So you can walk, play, wrestle with your dog, and lay on their rugs knowing they’re safe for you and everyone who comes into your home.
What’s good: Salam Hello brings the artistry and tradition of Moroccan rug weaving to a truly remarkable new level — we could spend hours just looking at the photos on their website of artisans hand-weaving the rugs!
All Salam Hello’s rugs are made with sheep, goat, or camel wool. Their artisans use “live wool,” meaning the wool has been taken from live animals, without harming them — it also means the wool is healthier and stronger.
While their price point makes them more of an investment piece, Salam (“Peace” in Arabic, used as a greeting) Hello rugs are heirloom-quality and sourced with care and transparency.
Details: Salam Hello personally meets each rug artisan, asks about the story behind their textiles (which they then share in each rug’s product description!), and ensures they are compensated fairly for their time and labor — never offering below an artisan’s asking price. If you’re looking for an heirloom-quality rug that was made and sourced with care and transparency, look no further than Salam Hello.
What’s good: Designed in Brooklyn and handcrafted by artisans in India, Cold Picnic’s collection of rugs are made with wool, cotton, bamboo, and/or hemp using eco-friendly dyes.
They are Goodweave Standard certified, ensuring their products are produced without child, forced, or bonded labor with complete supply chain transparency. They also have a Care & Fair certification, which is an initiative working to end child labor in India, Nepal, and Pakistan, and to ensure workers are paid fairly.
Notably, all of Cold Picnic’s hand tufted weaving machines run on 100% solar energy, and their factory founded and fully funds a school that currently has 140 students enrolled.
Details: Cold Picnic offers rugs that are suitable for low-, medium-, and high-traffic areas of your home. They even have a collection of limited-edition rugs (some are one-of-a-kind!) made from deadstock wool yarn — leftover yarn from other rug designs that would otherwise be wasted.
What’s good: Revival Rugs brings quality rugs directly to shoppers and offers transparency and fairness in pricing. Initially, the brand offered exclusively vintage rugs (some are decades-old!), and has since expanded its offerings to new, traditional-style rugs, as well as washable rugs.
All of Revival’s new rugs are made with natural fibers (with the exception of its outdoor rugs, more on that below!), handspun, and handwoven by artisans using traditional techniques. Revival is committed to offering rugs that offer both functionality and style, so its rugs stand the test of time and trend — which has the added benefit of reducing waste.
Uniquely, Revival Rugs also makes great, durable outdoor rugs using completely recycled materials.
Details: While we mentioned earlier that you should look for natural fibers in your rugs, there is one caveat when it comes to outdoor rugs. In this instance, the durability of polyethylene terephthalate (P.E.T.) is useful, as it’s a material that can withstand the elements and last much longer outdoors than a natural-fiber rug.
P.E.T. is a type of polyester, which is a type of plastic made from petroleum — so it’s best to look for rugs made from 100% recycled P.E.T., as this didn’t require the production of any new plastic. And the good news is: all of Revival’s outdoor rugs are made from 100% recycled P.E.T.
What’s good: LOOMY is a woman-owned, woman-founded business started by an interior designer who wanted to bring high quality, expertly crafted rugs to your home. The brand believes that all of our consumption should consider its impact on the world — from the people who make it to the planet.
LOOMY’s rugs are ethically sourced from artisans around the world who have been making rugs for generations. Also for those with a bit of a higher budget, these rugs are made from naturally sourced, eco-friendly man-made, or recycled materials.
Details: LOOMY makes stylish, designer-quality rugs — but with sustainable, ethical manufacturing practices. From bold prints and patterns, to more minimalistic and neutral, their rugs come in all shapes and sizes for any room in your home. They even have a rug finder quiz to help you make the best choice for you, your style, and your home — which will help ensure you love it for a long time!
- Natural Rugs
- Vegan Rugs
- Pet-friendly Rugs
- Vintage Rugs
- Indoor/Outdoor Rugs
- Performance Rugs
- Also: Decorative Pillows, Throws
What’s good: Ocelot Market was founded in 2018 as a handcrafted shoe company — working to make a conscious impact within the communities that made their products in Thailand, Morocco, and Turkey. Ocelot has since expanded its offerings beyond shoes to accessories, home decor, and rugs!
The company believes “the life behind the product is so much more important than the product itself” and in the power of our purchases to make a difference in communities and throughout the world.
Details: When it comes to details, Ocelot knows quite literally all of them. They prioritize complete transparency in their supply chain and only work with makers and brands that know every detail about theirs, too — from where the materials came from, to the names of the people who touched them. Though they boast a smaller collection of rugs, their selections are thoughtfully curated and come in mostly neutral tones.
We will continue to update this article as we try out new rugs and continue to monitor wear and tear on old rugs. If you have ideas on more rugs we should consider, please don't hesitate to let us know!