I bought some rugs from walmart. I used one under an office chair. After a few years I lifted up the rug and it had a ton of "powder" under neath it as if someone spiled a can of baby power under it. It was the rug backing, It seems the chair wheels pulverized the backing of the rug.

I want to buy a new rug but I do not want to have the same problem. I'm sure the dust was very unhealthy to breath too.

What is this backing called and is it just for very cheap rugs? It is hard to tell on some rugs if they have this backing from the limited pictures they give. I'm trying to find a good rug that isn't too expensive to protect the hardwood floor.

Best I can tell is that these types of rugs are called tufted rugs and the backing is latex and this is what the powder was.

  • "What is cheap rug backing" It is rug backing that costs very little money. ;)- It is backing on rugs that cost very little, cheaply made. Presumably a more expensive rug would be made with higher quality materials.
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 27, 2020 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


I believe your investigation is correct. Jute fibers hold up fairly well but are coarse, so they coat them. The powder you found is probably latex. I don’t know if I have seen many small rugs that are not coated, but some of my larger area rugs are not. It may be a size thing to keep the smaller ones from sliding or just to hide the coarse fibers maybe both.

  • rugchick.com/rugs-with-material-on-the-back Seems to describe this. What she says is that it is a cheap construction method where they use the latex as essentially a glue to glue the fibers in a canvas together rather than having to weave the fibbers. Seems a lot of the carpets use this method. I had 2 other similar rugs and they didn't have this problem as bad and it was only happening where the chair was(but I was having issues with the flakes from the other, but not even close to having the powdery mess).
    – Stretto
    Jul 30, 2020 at 18:52
  • 1
    It's not to "glue the fibers together". its to make the rug non-slip. Cloth or jute will slide along a hard floor surface, you need something to made it grip. Most materials decompose over time, you just need to pay attention and pull them up occasionally. When it starts to break down, you throw them away. An alternative is to use non-backed rugs and a separate non-slip pad underneath, so when that pad breaks down, you only replace that part, not the whole thing.
    – JRaef
    Jul 30, 2020 at 21:02
  • @jraef I also had that in my answer as I have larger rugs that do not have the backing.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 30, 2020 at 21:35

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