How to Remove Formaldehyde from Furniture
Whenever you're about to tackle home improvement, the first thing you consider is probably the project's cost. In close second is probably logistics and clean up, but rarely do DIYer's think about smell in association with home improvement.
In many cases, the mess you take on when you do any home improvement is inevitable: paint fumes from a fresh coat of paint linger for days, new furniture or an area rug sometimes have a strong chemical smell, and -- god forbid -- fixing plumbing doesn't go as planned.
Keeping your home smelling fresh, no matter what changes you make, is an important piece in the home improvement puzzle. Check out our tips for fighting against odors from new furniture off gassing as you continue to upgrade, DIY, and build the home of your dreams.
How to Remove Formaldehyde from Furniture
- What is Formaldehyde?
- What is Off Gassing?
- How to Prevent New Furniture Off Gassing
- How to Decrease Household Goods Off Gassing
What is Formaldehyde?
You may be asking yourself, what does formaldehyde have to do with home improvement? Well, if you've ever experienced a strong chemical smell when unpackaging new furniture -- think a new sofa, cabinets, bed frames, side tables, nightstands -- that smell partially came from formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is a chemical compound composed of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. It has a very pungent, distinguishable odor, and it's most often used in household goods to make adhesives and coatings.
Formaldehyde can have adverse health effects, and it's important to take measures to eliminate the fumes during the off gassing process to make sure those in your home aren't exposed.
What is Off Gassing?
Off gassing occurs when manufactured goods release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air after unboxing as the chemicals settle. VOCs are used for a number of reasons in manufacturing such as:
- Creating adhesive glues in household goods
- Preservatives for wood, particle board, or pressed wood furniture
- Carpeting and rug backing
- Some cleaning products
When you purchase a new piece of furniture and assemble it in your home, that "new" smell you're smelling is off gassing at work. The volatile compounds like formaldehyde, carbon, and hydrogen slowly release into the air producing what many describe as particle board smell and undetectable scents can linger even longer than that.
New furniture off gassing rates vary across household products. For instance, a new sofa or couch can off gas for a few months while some carpeting off gasses for years. All manufactured household products are the most noxious a month after they are produced, which causes some high-quality, made to order pieces to be the biggest culprits of particle board smell in the house.
How to Prevent New Furniture Off Gassing
One of the best ways to avoid bringing VOCs into your home is to do your research before purchasing new furniture and finding reputable suppliers that don't use VOCs in their manufacturing process. Increased consumer advocacy has placed a higher importance on the production of low to no-emissions goods to help reduce exposure to toxins introduced to manufactured goods.
Additionally, you can purchase furniture made from solid and avoid alternatives that use particle board or pressed wood as these materials often contain VOCs. You can also purchase furniture second hand, as these pieces have had a chance to off gas much longer than newly manufactured household goods.
How to Decrease Household Goods Off Gassing
If you've already purchased or plan to purchase a piece of furniture that contains particle board or VOCs, there are ways to remove particle board smell from your home and decrease your exposure to toxins during the off gassing process. The most important step is to introduce airflow into the room.
Start by opening windows on opposite sides of the room to create cross ventilation. If you can't open the windows due to weather or because it's a windowless room, move the new furniture to a garage or a storage facility until the majority of the VOCs are released from the product. You can also use a fan to move the air outside of the home or into the hallways if you live in an apartment building. While the new furniture off gasses, you can eliminate the particle board smell lingering in your house with a natural odor absorber.
As we've discussed, some household cleaning products and even air fresheners with scents contain VOCs. Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating Spray is powerful against foul odors and made from natural sources like plant oils and extracts. This not only makes Fresh Wave a natural alternative to Febreze, it also makes it a highly effective option for fighting odors from chemicals, mold, and even smoke without introducing other chemicals into the environment.
Spray Fresh Wave in the room with the new furniture was stored, and allow the plant oils in the proprietary formula to naturally absorb the odor. Repeating this step of spraying Fresh Wave into the air should allow you to eliminate smells gradually, but keep in mind, the key to removing toxins from the air is to create air flow and allow any newly manufactured household goods to off gas out of the home or in a ventilated room.
Together, this act of being a more thoughtful shopper and allowing any manufactured goods to off gas in a location outside of your home will help you to remove formaldehyde from furniture in your home and ensure you are decreasing your exposure to carcinogens and VOCs.
More Ways to Stay Fresh
Check out our other odor elimination tips: