Your family’s health is always a priority. Whether it’s making sure that your kids are getting their fair share of vegetables at dinner every night or ensuring that everyone is getting 30+ minutes of exercise a day, taking the extra steps to make health a priority is a no-brainer. We all take the extra steps to look into the foods we eat, but why do we not look into what is going into the furniture we use every day?
While parents have always been keen on making sure their kids and family stay out of harm’s way, it’s only recently come to light that some conventional materials and paint can harbor harmful toxins, spreading them throughout the home. As consumer awareness has grown of this issue, the demand for non-toxic furniture has increased. Thankfully, some furniture makers have taken note of the increase in the desire to create a safer, healthier home environment.
What Kinds of Chemicals are Found in Furniture?
When your purchase new furniture, they probably have that “new smell.” Sadly, that “new smell” is a combination of the glues, glosses, finishes, and stains used to make your furniture look and feel brand new. Of course, we love the look of these finishes, but many commercially used products contain a slew of toxic chemicals in them.
Although their noxious fumes have often subsided, the chemicals are still present on the surface and can even be inhaled sitting near the piece. Here are some of the toxic chemicals found in furniture and where they may be hiding:
Acetaldehyde: A carcinogen and respiratory irritant used in dyes, polyester resins, rubber production, and leather tanning.
Benzene: This chemical is found in car exhaust and coal emissions and detergents and dyes used in furniture manufacturing. It is highly irritant to the eyes, skin, and lungs and can cause drowsiness and headaches after exposure. It is also a known carcinogen.
Formaldehyde: Most people may have at least heard of formaldehyde and its use in the medical field with viruses, vaccines, and preserving specimens. But its other common use is in wood household products and furniture. It’s found in pressed wood, glues, adhesives, fabrics, and even plywood. Unfortunately, it can cause nausea, dizziness, skin and lung irritation, and certain cancers after extended exposure.
Hexabromocyclododecane: This chemical can stick around for a long time and has even been found to linger in the body for months after exposure. It comes from toxic flame retardants used in furniture to slow the spread of fire should one take place in your home. Non-toxic furniture will not include this harsh chemical.
Phthalates: Phthalates are hard to avoid because they are found in most consumer products we are around every day, including flooring, upholstery, carpet, and even packaging. Direct exposure is hazardous and should be avoided at all costs.
These are just a few of the chemicals that may be found in your furniture and other products in your home. But it doesn’t mean you’re in severe danger, but it could mean you try other methods of procuring furniture or try some of these tactics below to purify your air and keep the air in your home fresh and safe to breathe.
How to Get Rid of Fumes and Harmful Toxins From the Air
Now, you do not have to immediately throw out all of your existing furniture because of the possible chance of chemical exposure. Instead, there are a few things you can do around the house to offset the effects of toxic chemicals in your home and remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air.
Place Air Purifiers in Each Room
Air purifiers can remove particles in the air, including those chemicals from your furniture, giving you fresh, clean air to breathe. Even if you have non-toxic furniture, air purifiers are a great thing to have, especially when you live in a metro area high in pollutants. Here are some of the best air purifiers you can buy for your home.
Increase Ventilation and Air Out Your Furniture
If you do purchase some furniture that isn’t labeled non-toxic, don’t beat yourself up; just take steps to air out or “gas out” the piece outside of your home or in a well-ventilated garage for a few days weeks, or even months if you can. This off-gassing can help rid the furniture of those initial strong odors and toxins used during its manufacturing process.
Also, always keep your home well-ventilated, and open the windows as much as you can! This helps circulate the air in your home, no matter if you have toxic chemicals or strong scents inside or not. A little fresh air does the body good!
Decorate With House Plants
House plants are natural air purifiers, and they can absorb chemicals or particles in the air and recycle it into fresh, breathable air. Some of the best plants for filtering include English ivy, foxtail ferns, and wax plants. Plus, house plants bring a lovely natural vibe and energy to your home that other decor can’t.
Reach For the Baking Soda
If you’ve ever used baking soda in your refrigerator (or grew up with your mom replacing it every few months), it’s because you know of its odor-eating properties. Baking soda can deodorize and capture odors. This is because baking soda is alkaline, and VOCs are often acidic, and the two neutralize when together.
Baking soda can definitely help keep your fridge fresh, and also, if you place it under your kitchen sink with your chemicals, it can keep that area fresh as well from toxic fumes.
Aside from these, you can also purchase non-toxic furniture for your home and avoid the risk altogether. Personally, we love that option. Here are some great alternatives that keep you safe from harsh toxins without sacrificing style or beauty.
Non-Toxic Furniture Options for Clean Home Air
Today, there are some fantastic non-toxic furniture options that are void of harmful chemicals and look great as well. We’ve been in the business of crafting non-toxic, eco-friendly furniture for quite some time here at Puustelli, and we’re ecstatic to see so many other companies following suit to help create healthier homes everywhere.
If you’re looking for non-toxic furniture for your home, here is a list of 6 sustainable, healthy options to create a healthy home!
Natural Wood Dresser
Sourced from rescued solid wood (Douglas Fir), this beautiful dresser, courtesy of Avocado, is MDF and particle board-free. Hand-made, the dresser is rich with character, blemishes, nail holes, allowing for “life’s little dings and scratches” to be seen. But, of course, depending on the style you’re looking for, that can be either a pro or a con. Regardless, it is impossible not to admit that this simple yet gorgeous dresser would look good in just about any home.
Natural Wood End Table
End tables are the unsung heroes of furniture. While chairs, couches, dressers, and more oversized tables get all the hype, end tables deserve some love too. They can tie a room together and allow for some fun decorating opportunities by displaying a favorite plant, a lovely lamp, or some of your favorite books. Once again, courtesy of Avocado, this end table is made from the same solid wood material as the dresser, allowing you to knock off two birds with one stone if you’re looking to deck out your home in non-toxic furniture.
Solid Wood Bed
You spend a lot of time in your bed (hopefully somewhere between 7-8 hours each night). For this reason, your bed should be just as healthy and safe as the rest of the furniture in your home. Enter the Buden Bed from Medley. Made from durable and beautiful solid wood bamboo, this bed frame is coated with a water-based, low-VOC protective matte. In addition, the frame is entirely void of harsh chemicals and flame retardants (read more about why flame retardants may not be as safe as the name suggests here).
Puustelli Non-Toxic Kitchen Cabinets
As we’ve mentioned, we’ve been in the healthy home game for a while. Our Scandinavian cabinet furniture is made with 100% formaldehyde-free glues and sustainably sourced real wood materials. Our wood surfaces are also finished with natural oils or water-soluble stains and varnishes. If you’re ready to craft a healthy kitchen in your house, then reach out to us today!
Contact us to get started! We can’t wait to show you our wood cabinet options and help you find the perfect selection for your kitchen.
Armoires are an excellent option for folks who need a little more space for their clothes. This armoire from Medley is as healthy as it is beautiful. Once again, there is no flame retardant present in this piece of wood furniture. Both Medley and Avocado are a couple of brands that have products that you know are safe. In contrast, many companies will pop up when you Google “non-toxic furniture”. Only a select few can back up these claims on their website. So, to actually find furniture made sustainably and healthy, make sure to check out the details on the product to see if they are non-toxic.
This shelf from Greenington has no plywood, particleboard, or MDF and is sustainably sourced and made out of 100% solid Moso bamboo. Greenington’s factories are located near the bamboo source, minimizing their pre-fabrication carbon footprint. It should be noted that this piece of furniture does use adhesive to bond strips together. These strips do emit formaldehyde, but it is a low level that is within OSHA standards.
Will We See More Non-Toxic Furniture Options?
Absolutely! We believe that the time of reckoning for furniture providers is already here. As more and more consumers look for alternatives to traditional manufacturers that have yet to swap to more sustainable materials, companies will have no choice but to pivot. Throughout 2021, we will undoubtedly be filled with more Puustelli, Avocado, and Medley-like brands that are committed to creating healthy homes for their consumers. Of course, we’ve seen it in all other industries—like food & beverage and clothing—and there have been some serious strides made within the home industry as well in this area.
Are you looking for more non-toxic furniture options for your home? Take a look at this blog on non-toxic furniture for your living room!