Fresh Living

DiningRoom.jpgYesterday was an exciting day–our new dining room furniture arrived.  It’s beautiful, and we quickly figured out how we wanted to lay it out and started dreaming about Thanksgiving dinner.  But then we opened the doors of our new sideboard.

Pee-yew!  The “new furniture smell” inside the sideboard’s drawers and cabinets is significant.  And it’s serious, given the health and indoor air pollution consequences we know come from the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that lurk in the wood glues and varnishes that hold most new furniture together.

I have no desire to spend the next few weeks with headaches, coughing, or worse.  So I’m on a “power-offgassing” program that so far includes opening each cabinet and drawer wide, placing a “Vornado” fan in the room, throwing the windows all the way open, and blasting fresh air into every nook and cranny.

Luckily, yesterday and today were dry, crisp fall days, so the air is more than welcome inside.  And when we recently did the same project on our bedroom set–which was low-emitting but still smelled a tad–we noticed a significant reduction in the smell after just a few days. 

I just learned of another solution–or a supplementary one if you have the chance to institute Operation Open Windows.  Zeolite rocks are volcanic substances that are seriously porous, which means that they’ll absorb all kinds of things.  People use them in gardens to clean up spoiled soil, and they use them indoors to leach the toxins from carpets, furniture, and other offgassing menaces.  According to, placing the rocks in direct sunlight for 1 hour allows them to expel the toxins they’ve absorbed, making them re-usable for years.  Intriguing!  Has anyone ever used Zeolite?

I also read here about the ability of a bowl of white vinegar to remove odors (or does it just make the room smell like vinegar?  Hmm….) including cigarette smoke.  I might have to try that too.

How do you cope with offgassing?  Are you super-sensitive, like me, or do you not even notice “new furniture smell?”

(image–which is not my set!–via:

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