Trying to find the best non-toxic kitchen cabinets for your home?
Your home is the place you relax and make memories. Ideally, everyone feels safe and comfortable within their own four walls. No one wants to feel like their health is compromised simply by existing inside their home.
Unfortunately, many mass-produced furniture items like kitchen cabinets can off-gas harmful chemicals that can compromise your health. If you’re looking into new cabinets for your kitchen, be sure to intentionally seek out non-toxic kitchen cabinets for your own health and safety, plus that of the environment.
The Issue With Conventional Cabinets
Perhaps this is the first time you’re hearing about non-toxic cabinets. You’re likely wondering what the issue could possibly be with conventional stock cabinets. Do they really threaten your health? That feels dramatic.
The truth is that conventional stock cabinets absolutely can be harmful both to your health and the environment. It’s not just a talking point. Over the years, experts have uncovered how mass-produced kitchen cabinets and other furniture items are harmful due to their materials and production process.
To start, let’s talk about medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and formaldehyde…
Most low and mid-range cabinet brands construct their cabinets with MDF, particleboard, or chipboard. These are cheap materials that are incredibly difficult to recycle, making them harmful to the environment. To top it all off, MDF and particleboard cabinets are often glued together with formaldehyde-containing glue.
Perhaps you’ve heard of formaldehyde before. Formaldehyde is one of the most common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that exists. It’s definitely not something that you want in your home because VOCs can cause numerous health concerns, such as:
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Rashes and skin issues
High concentrations of VOCs can cause more intense issues, like:
- Lung irritation
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Central nervous system damage
Purchasing conventional stock cabinets made from MDF or chipboard is a threat to your health because in the days and weeks after you install these cabinets, they off-gas formaldehyde into your home, greatly affecting the indoor air quality.
While for some people, the smell is unpleasant but that’s about it, for others, the off-gassing process can cause the health concerns listed above. People with asthma, eczema, or otherwise weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the side effects caused by VOCs in conventional cabinets.
You’re probably thinking that you want nothing to do with cheap, mass-produced stock cabinets after learning this information, and we’re right there with you. But you’re probably also wondering what your other options are. Thankfully, there are manufacturers that prioritize non-toxic (low VOC) kitchen cabinets.
What You Get With “Green” Kitchen Cabinets
You can absolutely find non-toxic, environmentally friendly cabinets. These cabinets are ethically sourced and manufactured with none of the harmful VOCs that are present in conventional cabinets.
When you choose non-toxic, or “green” kitchen cabinets, you get benefits like:
- High-quality, sustainable materials (No MDF or chipboard)
- Formaldehyde-free glues
- No or low-VOC paints and varnishes
- No endangered wood species
- 100% recyclable frames
Many readily-available semi-custom cabinets claim to be non-toxic, and they are often better than stock cabinets. However, the only way you can guarantee getting 100% formaldehyde-free kitchen cabinets is to get them custom-made by a reputable cabinetry designer.
4 Non-Toxic Cabinet Materials
When searching for non-toxic cabinets, you want to find materials with no or low formaldehyde emissions. Typically, there are four great choices to turn to for low VOC cabinets.
1) Non-Toxic Composite Wood
It can be difficult to completely avoid composite wood materials. Even some high-end products utilize engineered wood. However, you can find composite wood that incorporates little to no formaldehyde.
In this instance, look for wood composite materials that meet the California Air Resources Board (CARB) standard for low formaldehyde emissions. These products will be labeled “California Phase 2 Compliant.”
You can also look for labels like:
- ULEF: “Ultra-low emitting formaldehyde”
- NAF: “No added formaldehyde”
2) Natural, Solid Wood
One of the most stunning non-toxic cabinet materials is natural solid wood. Solid wood cabinets don’t require formaldehyde-based resins or glues, so they’re naturally non-toxic. Their beautiful aesthetics are just an added bonus. Some common types of natural wood cabinets include:
3) Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood is another great non-toxic cabinet option that is very environmentally friendly. Reusing salvaged wood can make for a stunning eco-conscious kitchen because you can recycle existing materials instead of creating more products.
Reclaimed wood also has the added feature of looking visually striking. You’ll typically get a rustic vibe from reclaimed wood pieces, but you can also style it to be quite elegant.
Bamboo is a very eco-friendly, non-toxic cabinet material that’s on the rise. Since bamboo is technically a type of grass, it grows very quickly, making it much easier and more ethical to harvest.
Bamboo looks beautifully modern and is incredibly durable, making it perfect for kitchen cabinetry. The only potential drawback of bamboo is that it can be quite expensive since it isn’t as popular as other materials.
Where You Can Find Non-Toxic Cabinets
Non-toxic cabinets are clearly the way to go for kitchen remodels and new builds. The best way to ensure a fully non-toxic kitchen is to work with a custom cabinet designer like Puustelli. Our non-toxic cabinets are completely customizable, so you’ll get the kitchen of your dreams while keeping your family and the environment healthy.