Hook & Loom Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic Rugs Review

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

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Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.

Updated:

Hook and Loom is a great company making eco-friendly, non-toxic rugs. Here’s why we like these organic and recycled cotton and wool rugs, with the pros and cons of each collection.

Hook & Loom offers three main rug collections, made using organic or recycled cotton and wool, without hazardous dyes, glues, or other chemicals. Our top pick is the recycled Eco Cotton collection from Hook & Loom, although the Organic Cotton collection and Wool rugs are also fantastic choices for an eco-friendly, non-toxic rug.

Here’s our review, with more in-depth info on sustainability at Hook & Loom.

1

Hook & Loom Eco Cotton Rugs

Highlights: Vibrant cotton rugs made using genuine recycled cotton and nothing else. No hazardous chemicals or synthetic backings.

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What we like

  • Genuine post-consumer recycled cotton
  • Loads of neutral colorways and vibrant color options
  • Handmade using flatweave, braiding, or loom hooking methods
  • No hazardous chemicals or synthetic backing
  • Rugs don’t fade or off-gas
  • No waste water or chemical run-off in manufacturing
  • Rugs start at just $22!
  • 30-Day return policy (you pay for shipping though)

What could be better

  • Rugs may shrink a little one first wash

At a glance:

Materials: Recycled post-consumer cotton

Made in: India

Prices: Start at $22

Certifications: Green People

Hook and Loom Eco Cotton Rugs are colorful, handcrafted, and cozy and are made on special looms using the company’s unique recycled Eco Cotton.

Hook and Loom creates its Eco Cotton from clean donated textiles that are meticulously sorted by color. Snaps, zippers, and buttons are removed and the fiber is spun into new colorful yarns.

Is it really 'recycled'?

Many ‘recycled’ cotton rugs are actually made with new cotton that has been rejected by industry for having short fibers. Eco Cotton from Hook & Loom is the real deal, which is why there may be small amounts of polyester and other fibers in the mix.

Other ‘recycled’ cotton that is simply new cotton will have been bleached and dyed and is liable to off-gas and leach toxic chemicals. Not so with Eco Cotton.

In many ways, genuine recycled cotton is more earth-friendly than new organic cotton as this still requires resources such as water and farmland. What’s more, by recycling old textiles in this way, Hook & Loom helps divert these textiles from landfill.

These Eco Cotton rugs do not contain latex backing or adhesives and because the recycled cotton comes pre-dyed and pre-shrunk, these rugs do not fade and are unlikely to off-gas as they have not been re-treated with azo dyes or other toxic chemicals.

The machine washable flatweave cotton rugs can shrink a little on their first wash. Although the fibers are pre-washed and pre-shrunk, when they’re spun into new yarn this can create the potential for some shrinkage.

2

Hook & Loom Organic Cotton Rugs

Highlights: Gorgeous rugs made using pure, undyed, GOTS organic cotton and nothing else.

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What we like

  • Made purely of GOTS organic cotton
  • Rugs do not fade or shrink
  • Totally non-toxic and eco-friendly
  • Available loom-hooked, flatweave, or handwoven
  • Wide range of sizes and patterns
  • Smaller sizes are machine washable
  • Company donates to Water for the People

What could be better

  • No colors other than natural cotton
  • Larger rugs aren’t machine washable
  • Will usually need a rug pad

At a glance:

Materials: Organic cotton

Made in: India

Prices: Start at $32

Certifications: GOTS, Green People

Hook & Loom began by offering its Eco Cotton collection and wool rugs. More recently, the company began using its skilled weaving partners to produce the same quality rugs using certified organic cotton.

These rugs are available only in the natural, undyed color of cotton. You can choose from:

  • Loom-hooked organic cotton rugs – thick, springy, soft, and great for the nursery and yoga
  • Flatweave organic cotton rugs – thinner, affordable, and machine washable
  • Thick woven organic cotton rugs – reversible, durable, affordable, and machine washable (if you have a big machine).

Hook & Loom’s organic cotton requires much less water than standard cotton and is free from pesticides, herbicides, and other egregious chemicals. Still, Hook & Loom is aware that any virgin cotton has a significant water footprint compared to recycled cotton. As such, it donates what it describes as a ‘generous’ portion of company income to Water For People, to help the non-profit provide access to fresh water to more than one million people in India and in other countries where clean potable water is lacking.

3

Hook & Loom Wool Rugs

Highlights: Undyed wool rugs in a variety of patterns and weaves. No off-gassing or hazardous chemicals. Completely reversible – two rugs in one!

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What we like

  • Non-toxic, natural wool and nothing else
  • Durable and hardwearing
  • Reversible – twice as long between cleanings!
  • Minimal packaging

What could be better

  • Wool isn’t GOTS organic or otherwise certified

At a glance:

Materials: Undyed natural wool

Made in: India

Prices: Start at $58

Certifications: Green People

Hook & Loom Wool Rug collection is totally free of hazardous chemicals as the company uses nothing but pure, undyed, natural wool. The owner of Hook & Loom confirmed via email that these rugs are not treated with mothproofing chemicals.

The beauty of these wool rugs is that they’re totally reversible, thanks to the way they’re woven and bound by hand without latex or synthetic adhesives or bonding agents. That means you get twice the wear before needing to wash them, which is eco-friendlier in itself.

The downside to the wool rugs is that the company doesn’t use wool with GOTS or other organic certification. Given the company’s overall ethos though, it’s a good bet that the wool is sustainably sourced from animals treated as kindly as possible in such an industry.

Sustainability at Hook & Loom

Hook & Loom is based in Massachusetts and makes its rugs in carefully selected workshops in Haryana, India. The company has longstanding partnerships with the skilled weavers in Haryana, and only works with workshops with multiple looms overseen by dedicated managers who are firmly committed to ethical employment standards. That means these rugs are entirely free from child labor and indentured labor.

The rugs are made from natural, organic, or recovered textile fibers without dyes or chemicals. These rugs are not treated with:

Hook & Loom rugs ship with minimal packaging to reduce environmental impact. The company does not spray the rugs with chemicals upon import, which means they remain free of hazardous chemicals and won’t off-gas in your home.

Hook & Loom carries GOTS certification for its organic cotton, plus the Green People seal of approval, which helps to weed out companies simply ‘greenwashing’.

Vs. the competition

Hook & Loom is a great option for eco-friendly rugs and defeats tough competitors in this category – Organic Weave, Earth Weave, and Under the Nile.

Under the Nile is back making its Big and Small rugs after a hiatus and is now a good option again for eco-friendly recycled cotton rugs. While the prices are high and the choices are minimal (very few color options or sizes), it’s reassuring that Under the Nile controls the entire manufacturing process, helping to divert scrap material from its own clothing line to make its signature rugs. This means you can be sure Under the Nile’s rugs are made with cotton that has never been treated with toxic chemicals. Under the Nile rugs are also made with GOTS certified organic cotton and are Fair Trade certified.

Hook & LoomOrganic WeaveEarth WeaveUnder the Nile
Main materialsOrganic cotton, recycled cotton, woolOrganic wool, organic cotton, FSC latexWool, hemp, cotton, jute, latexReclaimed scrap organic cotton from its own clothing line
CertificationsGOTS for cotton, Green PeopleGOTS for wool and cotton, FSC for latex, GoodWeaveNoneGOTS recycled organic cotton, Fair Trade
Prices start at$22$1,500$294$84
Color optionsLots!MinimalMinimalWhite only
ReturnableYesNoNoYes

Several companies produce a token eco-friendly and/or Fair Trade certified rug, but if you’re looking for a top-quality rug from a company with a solid set of ethics, look to Organic Weave or Hook & Loom. Both companies have a solid track record of only operating in a sustainable way, producing non-toxic rugs from natural materials, without any child labor.

Earth Weave is also a decent option for eco-friendly wool rugs, offering a variety of pile weights, colors, and designs. It has been in business as an environmentally sustainable carpet and rug manufacturer for more than two decades and has long led the field. That said, Earth Weave is oddly devoid of third-party certifications, so we’re going largely on the basis of this long reputation and lack of complaints against the company.

See also: Our full roundup of eco-friendly rugs.

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