Last week, I ordered a new rug for my home. When it arrived, the chemical smell was very apparent. The rug wasn’t for a kid’s room, but it could have been. This is, unfortunately, a very common problem when redecorating. Brand new items are factory fresh and often come with lots of finishing chemicals and VOCs.
Now, you can avoid many of these chemicals by searching out brands that are eco-friendly, Greenguard certified, and that use non-toxic paints, but even those products can come with an unpleasant odor, especially with things like rugs and furniture. And you may not be able to control what brands are purchased for you as gifts.
I’ve put together advice on how to help you avoid these chemicals and tips on how to get rid of that new furniture smell if they’re already in your home.
Avoid VOCs in the first place. If you can, search out brands that are Greenguard certified. If a brand says “eco-friendly” or “low VOC” on its label, find out if there is a certification involved (sometimes it’s just a buzzword). Sometimes these items can be a bit more pricey, but I think it’s definitely worth it, especially for items that will be close to the baby’s face, like crib mattresses, rugs and bedding.
Do your research. You can always call a company and ask about the chemicals they use, but many will not know or will not tell you, especially if the product is manufactured overseas.
Air it all out. Anytime you receive a new item for the nursery, even if it’s low VOC, unbox it and let it air out. Putting things outside in the fresh air is best if weather allows, but the garage or a room with open windows and a ceiling fan will help too. If it’s a rug, vacuum it multiple times. If it’s washable, wash it several times.
Try baking soda. For things that just won’t stop smelling, try baking soda. For a rug, sprinkle it on, let it sit, and then vacuum it up. Always refer to the care labels and spot check first. For washables, put it in the washing machine. Check your machine instructions to make sure your machine can handle it. For dresser drawers, sprinkle baking soda inside, and then use a dustbuster to clean up the next day.
Watch out for humidity. Humid air can make things worse. If you live in a humid area, try closing the windows and running the AC fan along with a dehumidifier in the room.
When in doubt, keep any products away from your baby until the smell has dissipated. Pregnant women should also be careful.