Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound or VOC, found in many products in the vicinity of the home, like in synthetic upholstery material. It’s considered volatile since it emits a gas at room temperature. As the origin of the formaldehyde warms up, an increasing number of formaldehyde off-gases within the room. If worried about breathing in or being around such chemicals, removing them from the upholstery as far as possible restricts exposure to this substance. Time and fresh air both greatly decrease the amounts of formaldehyde in upholstery, particularly with new furniture.

Let it Breathe

Because formaldehyde is rather common in upholstery fabrics, particularly synthetics, airing out the new couch before using it’s a good way to acquire a great deal of the chemical smells out of this material before placing the furniture within its designated room. Take the furniture outside, if possible, like on a porch to a breezy day. Sunlight or warm, dry air warms the cloth, causing the chemical to off-gas, which gets a lot of it out of this material. Catch the furniture outside or within a well-ventilated room with open windows and fans drawing air out of the room for a day or so. Eliminate plastic or coverings from brand new furniture straight away at a well-ventilated area to allow the fabric to breathe, otherwise the plastic keeps the scents and chemicals trapped inside.

Air Purification

Purifying the air is 1 way to catch formaldehyde because it off-gases, cutting down on your chances of breathing it in. Air purifiers with activated carbon filters are designed to reduce and remove VOCs from indoor air. Put a purifier in each room with the formaldehyde-containing furniture to enhance the air quality. Not all air purifiers remove VOCs; assess the packaging before purchase to be sure you get one which does. Some houseplants also remove VOCs from the air. In studies conducted by Dr. Bill Wolverton for NASA, the Boston fern was demonstrated to remove this chemical from the air more effectively than heaps of other plants analyzed.

Assist for Humid Conditions

Humidity is another element that contributes to formaldehyde off-gassing from furniture in the room — the more moisture in the air, the more prone the off-gassing. A air conditioner running all of the time, or during warm, humid weather, lowers the prospect of off-gassing. A dehumidifier removes moisture from the room in much the same way. Using dehumidifiers or air conditioners also cuts down on the chances of mold and mildew, which thrive in moist conditions.

Powder Fresh

Baking soda sprinkled over the upholstery removes lingering odors. Sprinkle the baking soda liberally over the cloth and allow it to sit for about one hour, then vacuum it away with a vacuum cleaner containing a clean air or HEPA filter. This baking soda treatment freshens fabric that develops stale odors over time also, without needing chemical cleaners.