White Powder under New Wool Area Rugs?

White Powder accumulating under new wool rugs
    I have been asking around and the only sensible answer I have received came from a gentleman who wrote me an email about this subject. He is fairly certain that the white powder under a new wool rug could be Guar Flour (gum). This is a non-toxic, food-grade additive, that is most often used in rug dyes to help in binding and adhesion. I have known that it is used as a binding agent inside of dyes, this is the first I have heard of an external application. According to this theory, it would seem that the Guar Flour is being used externally, to help the dye further adhere to the wool fibers in a rug (primarily in the Far-East). Is this really the problem? Although this is the first explaination that makes sense to me, I will further research it to find if this is the true cause for this problem. I use the word problem loosely here, as it is a source of concern for many people who have contacted me. If this is truly part of the manufacturing process in the Far-East, why don’t they remove the excess powder before packaging and shipping the area rugs?
    By the way, I have yet to see this problem occur in any of the rugs we suggest on our web site.
    If anyone knows the certain cause for this concern, please leave a comment to this blog, or email me at:
Charles Beason,

About Charles Beason

Flooring Consultant/ Estimator, Bi-vocational Pastor of Oasis Missionary Baptist Church, Internet Business Owner, Webmaster.
This entry was posted in Area Rug and Flooring Blog (Forum), Q&A, Info, Tips, etc. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to White Powder under New Wool Area Rugs?

  1. april says:

    like the energizer bunny…keeps going and going. The powder never ends. I just can\’t figure out where it all comes from… I\’ve had it for a year, vac daily, professionally cleaned, taken out and beaten it, vac back and still mounds and mounds of this powder…what a nuisance.

    • Sonny.Skinner says:

      We have had the beautiful scalloped throw rug for about 3 years. At first is was placed over wall to wall carpeting. Once we installed hard wood floors we noticed this problem. We have taken it out and beat it to a pulp, still have the white residue daily. Hate to get rid of it since it has a very unique design, don’t know what to do!!!

      • chazbeason says:

        All Things are Possible… but Not All Things are Probable!
        Fine light-colored powder accumulating under area rug:
        I have called, written and even sent a public cry for Help, to find an answer to the problem. It has been over a year and I still have not received a definitive cause.
        While Guar Flour (to set dye colors) would seem to be the Most Likely culprit… Logic dictates that you would find Less and Less powder under the rug, as it gets trafficked and vacuumed, until it eventually disappears altogether. But this does not seem to be the case for most rugs with this problem.
        As I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer for this problem… I can only surmise that it would have to be a “Latex” problem. Most area rugs use Latex to bind the Rug Face Fibers to the backing. There is a big difference between Natural Latex Rubber and Synthetic Latex. As the Latex breaks-down from traffic or UV Rays it will begin to crack, flake or even turn to powder. Natural Latex breaks-down faster than Synthetic Latex and can produce flakes and powder. Pull back a rug edge and check for cracks and flaking… if you don’t see any cracks or flakes, it may be Guar Flour… if you see cracks and flakes, it is the Latex.
        Charles Beason

  2. cpaige says:

    I have the same problem with mine………..fine white powder…….wish it would end……and hope it dosent ruin my hardwood floor…….:(

  3. Pingback: Runner White | Carbzine Paintball

  4. matt newhall says:

    The powder you guys stated would be accurate to my situation if and only if it hasn’t been bothering my cats. I have also askd around and they said they put this white powder under the carpets to help with spills. If you spill a drink on the carpet it pools on the top and doesn’t ruin the carpet. We bought a nice bissel vacuum…I keep vacuuming but c,antget the white powder to go away. My cats ever sense moving in here have been going nuts because of it…..they would smell around..jump and meow load and run out of the room. Now they are throwing up, what I need to know , is it save for cats….I also did research and found out its not all safe for humans and you should buy a hippa filtr….again this is the stuff I found throughout the web…just want to make sure my cats are not being eating away from the inside….there siamese cats very expensive..my landlord would have a big lawsui on her hands.

    • Gofastr says:

      lawsuit? c’mon now, this powder is common to all hand tufted rugs and is adhesive (or some adhesive agent) that is coming off the backing. stop trying to stick you hands into others’ pockets.

  5. sandy says:

    It’s strange that the ‘expense’ of your cats is your concern. My first thought would have been your love and attachment to them on a personal level.

  6. ellen marie says:

    Oh my gosh, I havre the problem, too. White powder collecting under the carpet on the hardwood floor. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum . . . . endless. I love the wool carpet, great color and design, made in India. My husband has asthma, and we are concerned that the powder aggravates his asthma. We have a pool table sitting on top of the rug . . . . big project to remove.!

  7. ewoods says:

    We recently moved to a new home and purchased 4 wool area rugs. Three are shedding like crazy but no powder. The fourth however is not shedding but is powdering like mad. I just bought that one on clearance at Target and when I unrolled it I immediately understood why it was clearanced. The backing seems to have seperated from the fabric in some spots. I am not sure if this is due to moisture or what but the powder occurs in this area of the rug only. That and the fact it is slightly yellow in color leads me to believe it is the latex. My question is, does anyone know if it ever ends if it is the latex? I am frightened after reading posts stating that it never seems to lessen. If this is the case for you, do you have the backing seperating from the front? Therefore a latex problem?

  8. Phyllis says:

    Really concerned as my daughter and 15 month old granddaughter moved in with us. I am really concerned about the white powder. Sweep, sweep and sweep. Vacuum and vacuum and nothing helps. Someone please tell me what it is!

  9. Vicki says:

    I have the same problem…a rug from World Market. A rug specialist in town said it is the latex backing breaking down. The rug is 4 years old. I emailed WM and they responded quickly. They are going to get back to me.

  10. donna says:

    I have the same problem. It has been at least 3 years. The powder is almost as bad as it was in the beginning. I vaccum all the time. I have to sweep it up from under the rug. My husband has beat the rug and vaccumed the under side. Nothing helps.

  11. Aj Maley says:

    I have the same problem, a fine almost white powder, a pound worth has come out of a small 3×5 wool throw rug from J.R. Exports PVT. LTD. Purchased from Big Lots.

  12. Dee says:

    My rug does this too! It’s a wool rug from Restoration Hardware, made in India. I bought it about 5 years ago and the powder underneath has never stopped. It does have a backing on it…so I too think it might be the latex breaking down? I own another Restoration Hardware rug that does not have a backing and it does not powder underneath.Crazy! I’ve always thought wow this rug has a ton of dirt/dust…until I started vaccuming it daily, had it professional cleaned, flipped it over and vacummed like made on the other side. Still the white powder. Some days the powder is more than other days.

    • Vicki says:

      Mine is rolled and In garage. I have emailed a half a dozen times to corporate and such at world market. I bought my rug there three years ago and still have receipt. All they tell me is if I wasn’t happy , I had 60 days to return it. They never addressed the issue of powder or warrantee. I’ll never buy anything there again and was a VERY good customer.

  13. Cindy says:

    I wish there was an answer! I have been dealing with this problem as well. The latex theory does seem to be the most plausible. From now on I will only purchase hand knotted rugs as these tufted seem to have a problem.

  14. Rlandsman says:

    And sorry to say I too have problem. bought a unusual wool carpet from Costco. I cannot believe the white powder underneath it. vacuume and it is right there again. I am afraid if it is glue; formaldehyde….

  15. zignia lugo says:

    everyone seem to have the same problem, does anyone have a solution? mine has been doing this for over three years now, i brough two and only one is having this problem, as more powder piles underneath my rug the looser the rug becomes, it now has the consistancy of a floor towel. when i vacuum it bunches up have to pin it down with furniture, but it not falling apart, does anyone know if this problem can be resolve?

  16. Matt says:


    Hand tufted carpets are made by hand, however the way in which wool or other pile fibers are afixed to the rug are unlike traditional knotting techniques used in oriental rugs. As opposed to hand knotted rugs, the pile of a hand tufted carpet is created with a tufting gun, which is held by hand. The fabricator then uses the tufting gun, and punches strands of yarn into what is often a color coded canvas to create the pattern. After the rug has been completed with all colors and wool in appropriate sectioned areas, the reverse side of the rug is subjected to a coating of a layer of flexible white glue.

    I hope this helps explain….

  17. Deb says:

    I have the same problem with a black and off white colored wool rug I purchased from Target. It has a floral design and is a room sized rug or approx. 5 ft x 8 ft. I’ve had it about 4 years and the fine white powder never ends, and never decreases and it does not seem to have a backing that is failing. I have a matching smaller rug by my front door and NO WHITE POWDER. Why would the large rug have the white powder and not the smaller matching rug ??? cRaZy !!! I hate it and I am finally going to get rid of it !!!

  18. Jenn says:

    I’ve had my rug from lowes about 3 years now and the white powder has never stopped falling out. My son has also suffered with bad allergies for a couple years now and I’m wondering if it could be this rug!!!!what the heck is this stuff falling out?

  19. jen says:

    it’s the latex backing breaking down.
    you can google this, and you will find instructions on how to apply liquid latex to the back of the rug:

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