Do wool carpets ‘clean’ the air or not? A study on the sorption effects of wool carpets by sensory evaluation

Seyyed Abbas Noorian Najafabadi, Er Ding, Nadine Hobeika, Philomena M. Bluyssen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important aspect of maintaining human health and well-being, particularly since people spend most of their time indoors. Carpets, with their large surface area and dense fibre piles, have the potential to significantly impact IAQ by emitting and absorbing volatile organic compounds (VOC) from building materials and human activities. The cleaning effect of wool carpets regarding the sorption of odours from two sources of pollution: hardboard and sweaty underwear (as a proxy for bio-effluents), was investigated with an untrained panel of subjects assessing the odour intensity and the acceptability. Tests were performed in three different test environments, including a sniffing table, CLIMPAQs, and full-scale test chambers. The outcome showed that wool carpets can potentially clean the air of odours in small-scale environments, where the wool carpet covers the floor and walls of the test environment, and the odour sources are in contact with the wool carpet. However, the results were less conclusive in on scale scenarios where wool carpets only covered the floor. Overall, wool carpets have the potential to ad(b)sorb odorous emissions, but only when these emissions are near the wool carpet, and thus can have the opportunity to be ad(b)sorbed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-111
Number of pages17
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Best Wool Carpets (Best, The Netherlands) and The New Zealand Merino Company (Christchurch, New Zealand) through the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund.


  • Sensory evaluation
  • Indoor air quality
  • Wool carpets
  • Ad(b)sorption
  • Indoor air pollution


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