Is New Furniture Smell Dangerous

Purchasing new furniture is a thrilling experience. Perhaps you’re furnishing a new house or finally purchasing a new (very comfy!) mattress. But, unfortunately, there is a side to furniture purchasing that few people are aware of.


Max Furnishing

8/17/20214 min read

orange throw pillow on white couch
orange throw pillow on white couch

Purchasing new furniture is a thrilling experience. Perhaps youre furnishing a new house or finally purchasing a new (very comfy! ) mattress. But, unfortunately, there is a side to furniture purchasing that few people are aware of.

When you buy furniture, youre also buying all of these potentially hazardous chemicals buried in the glues, varnishes, and textiles. Flame retardants, polishes, laminates, and other supposedly harmless furniture characteristics are examples of these.

If your furniture smells like chemicals, its most likely due to the presence of volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These chemical substances cause your furnitures odor. Any VOCs included in your new furniture begin to leak in the form of gases as soon as you open the package. These gaseous molecules have a chemical odor that your nose detects. The odor then fills the room, signaling the start of a process known as off-gassing.

What exactly is off-gassing?

Off-gassing is the phenomenon in which volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released in the air you breathe. Everything off-gasses in some manner if anything has a scent, its off-gassing in some way. The VOCs emitted by your new sofa, on the other hand, are considerably less potentially hazardous than the scent of pineapple. Well go into what VOCs are a little later, but its worth mentioning that off-gassing is particularly prevalent in new home objects for two reasons: the process starts when the new item is first exposed to the air VOCs are used in a lot of freshly made products.

Off-gassing does not go away when the smell fades. The fresh scent may fade after a week, but the gases are still present theyre just a lot less noticeable. Depending on the home object and the chemicals used to cure it, off-gassing can persist anywhere from six months to five years.

Where do VOCs originate?

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are often utilized in the production process due to safety issues such as flammability. Others are introduced as a perfume or aroma, or they might be found naturally inside a substance. For example, most cheap sofas are filled with foam, and many of these upholstery foams are composed of polyurethane. However, because polyurethane is combustible, it is treated with flame retardants, including dangerous chemicals.

Why should you be concerned? Are these chemicals dangerous?

We should be cautious of demonizing the use of chemicals in general, but there is reason to be concerned about VOCs. Many home products include compounds including acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, and xylene. Youd be right to think that floating chemicals produce the chemical odor of your furniture and that it might offer some health risks. Excessive exposure to gaseous compounds, like any other contaminant, can have both short- and long-term health consequences.

Short-term effects are irritation of the eyes and nose, headaches, and nausea. However, prolonged exposure to high amounts of VOCs can harm the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. In addition, many of these VOCs are recognized carcinogens, irritants, and toxicants that can aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems, especially in youngsters and the elderly. Theyve even been connected to hormonal imbalances.

Dangerous Chemicals Present In Furniture:

Before you get too fired up, remember that there are various strategies to limit your exposure to these poisons by changing your furniture. But first, lets go through a few of the hidden poisons in the furniture, so you know what youre up against.


Formaldehyde is a colorless, odorless chemical found in pressed-wood products, glues, adhesives, plywood, textiles, and product coatings.

Short-term exposure can produce watery eyes, burning feelings in the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, wheezing, nausea, and skin irritation, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, because formaldehyde is recognized as a human carcinogen by numerous organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, long-term exposure might result in cancer.


Acetaldehyde is a chemical used in the manufacturing of fragrances (think new-car or new-furniture scent), polyester resins, dyes, rubber manufacturing, and tanning agents. Its been labeled a possible human carcinogen based on inadequate human cancer research and animal studies that indicate nasal tumors in rats and laryngeal cancers in hamsters. In addition, the EPA lists irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract as short-term adverse effects.

Read Also: How Long Does New Furniture Off Gas?

How to Get Rid of Chemicals in Furniture:

Air Purifier:

Investing in a good air filter may go a long way toward eliminating hazardous chemicals from your furniture that are floating around in the air.

Baking Soda:

Many VOCs have an acidic pH. As a result, utilizing alkaline baking soda to trap toxic gases may be beneficial. It can also act as a deodorizer.

Plants for the Home:

Some types of home plants have been shown in studies to help absorb toxins that remain in the air.

Researchers suggested a purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternate), English ivy, Purple Heart, foxtail fern, and wax plant in one study for their outstanding air-filtering qualities.

Charcoal Filters:

Due to its extremely absorbent nature, charcoal has been utilized in the past to assist remove hazardous gases during combat. Investing in a charcoal filter for your house will assist in eliminating some of the VOCs that are still present in the air.


Its a beneficial idea to let new furniture off-gas or air out outside or in a garage with plenty of ventilation after you buy it. This allows the toxins that evaporate the fastest off the furniture to be discharged outside your house. While this will not eliminate all VOCs (some can take up to 6 months to off-gas, while others can linger for years), it will aid in the early off-gassing of other VOCs.

Keep your house well-ventilated and air it out regularly to prevent the buildup of chemicals in the air. While eliminating all toxins from your surroundings and new furniture will be nearly impossible, these strategies will help decrease your and your familys exposure.