How To Get Rid of Formaldehyde Smell
It is very important to know how to remove formaldehyde smell from your home.
If you have pressed wood products at home, or you have used the same in its construction (who doesn’t?), well, you need to find out how you can get rid of the formaldehyde smell.
But then, you might ask:
What is formaldehyde?
This colorless gas forms formalin when it dissolves in water. It is used in morgues as a preservative.
Formaldehyde is also used in the manufacture of pressed wood products such as chip-boards, soft boards as well as in upholstery products.
Let’s just say that most of the building materials used in the construction of your home, car upholstery, furniture and other items contain formaldehyde.
If you use a wood burning stove, gas stove, a kerosene heater or a similar, unvented appliance, the level of formaldehyde in your home’s air is high.
If you let it stay untended for too long, you might start to experience what smells, (distantly though) like a morgue!
Yes! It can be that bad. Thus, when you think of buying an air purifier, ask whether it can remove the formaldehyde smell.
But not to worry even if it cannot. Here, we bring you actionable tips to remove the formaldehyde smell from your home.
Why is formaldehyde toxic?
If the levels of this gas rise too high in your home, it can alter the functioning of your cells. Also, the National Cancer Institute classifies this chemical as a human carcinogen.
If you smoke and you are exposed to formaldehyde, you are at a higher risk of developing cancer.
I guess what we are trying to say here is that you are better off removing the smell of this chemical from your home than taking the risk.
So we produce a small amount of formaldehyde, so the atmosphere contains a small amount of this chemical …
But it is in the homes where it is more concentrated because of the small, enclosed spaces.
How do you remove formaldehyde?
Now that you know the exposure you face from letting this chemical stay in your indoor air, now, we shall see how to remove it.
Here are a few ways that you can use to remove formaldehyde from your indoor air:
1.Identify the main source of the formaldehyde smell
New house formaldehyde is usually more concentrated than that of an old house. Therefore, if your house is new, the main source of this VOC is the new building material.
When considering formaldehyde removal methods, you might need to get a large air purifier that can remove this chemical from all the rooms.
Here are the most likely sources of formaldehyde smell in your home:
If you have furniture upholstered with leather or other material, it will have chemicals such as fire retardants that then off-gas, releasing VOCs into your indoor air.
Formaldehyde is also most likely to come from the adhesive used to hold the different furniture pieces together.
New wood furniture
New wood furniture has adhesives that hold the different pieces together, just as you would find in upholstered furniture. These are notorious for releasing formaldehyde, which contaminates the air in your home.
Bedding and clothing
Imagine, the same way that formaldehyde is used to preserve bodies in the morgue is the same way that a small amount is added to the clothing and bedding to preserve the fibers.
Even after washing, some of this chemical still lingers. However, using baking soda, Borax or white vinegar can wash the chemical away for good.
Body care items
Nail polish, perfume, toothpaste and skincare products are also notorious for releasing formaldehyde gas, albeit in very small quantities.
However, since you apply them in small enclosed spaces most of the time, they can cause a good concentration of the same VOCs.
Common household products
These are the day-to-day use products such as air fresheners and sprays. They have a small amount of formaldehyde, which is going to build up over time when you use them in enclosed spaces.
Carpets and other types of flooring
Formaldehyde is also available in carpets that are installed using adhesives and glues. While the carpets themselves do not have this chemical, you still need to do something about it. Using a formaldehyde air purifier is the best solution.
Combustion products and spaces
Any place where combustion is happening is bound to have an amount of VOCs. With frequent usage, this is going to build up. Gas stoves, wood stoves, cigarettes and fireplaces do release formaldehyde into the air.
2. Air purifier with deep-bed activated carbon filter
If a carbon filter is activated, it means that it has been taken through a process that opens up the pores, thus making it super absorbent to odors. You require such an air purifier for your home to get rid of formaldehyde.
You should get an air purifier that can also get rid of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These are compounds that are released into the air in the form of vapors or gases and formaldehyde is a gas. Thus, an air purifier that can remove VOCs can also remove this chemical.
Of course, many VOCs that we may be exposed to in our homes are carcinogenic, so we stand a high risk of developing cancer. Activated carbon filters can absorb these chemicals very well, purifying your air.
There are many air purifiers with carbon-activated filters in the market. You can buy the VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier on amazon.com.
It does not only look so cute and so nice for your décor, but it is also very effective at removing smoke, pet dander, dust, odors and other indoor allergens, such as mold.
3. How to remove formaldehyde from clothing
Formaldehyde elimination in clothes is not too hard. New house formaldehyde can get onto and stay on your clothes for some time.
To get rid of this chemical, hang the clothes in a well aerated space, probably outside so that the smell of this chemical can dissipate.
If it is the cold, damp season and you are afraid your clothes will get wet if you take them outside, open the windows of the room wide to let in fresh air.
Let the clothes stay exposed in the fresh air for as long as you can, probably 12 hours or even more. With long exposure in fresh air, the formaldehyde gas will evaporate.
Of course, running a carbon-activated air purifier will also help get rid of the smell from your clothing.
You can also soak your clothing in a water and baking soda/borax solution, for about 7 hours. Baking soda will not damage your clothes’ fibers.
If you have white vinegar at home, you can add a small amount in the washing machine. It will do a good job of deodorizing the clothes, removing the odor. It too does not damage the fibers.
4. Formaldehyde removal using indoor plants
It would seem that Indoor plants serve more purposes than just décor. In this case, you can use them to cleanse the air in your home.
Research has shown that many indoor plants are very good at removing VOCs from your indoor air.
Of particular interest is the Boston Fern. It is very effective at removing off-gassed chemicals from your air.
5. Keep your house well aerated all the time
As you have seen, most of the sources of formaldehyde in your home come from the products that you use daily at home. Since the home is an enclosed space, the small amount of VOCs released eventually grows to higher levels.
To combat this, you need to open the windows to let fresh air in. That will help to dissipate the VOCs released by the different products that we have mentioned elsewhere in this article.
6. Keep the humidity levels down
When there is a high amount of water vapor in the air, there is bound to be more VOCs released. Always keep the level of your indoor humidity between 30 and 55 percent.
People ask what they need between an air purifier and air conditioner. In this case, you need an air purifier and a dehumidifier.
You want to keep dampness out of your indoor air as much as possible.
How to remove formaldehyde smell from your home FAQ
How to get rid of formaldehyde is not so hard as you have seen here. However, to make this topic clearer for you, here are some frequently asked questions for you:
What does formaldehyde smell like?
It has a strong smell that is so hard to miss even at low levels. It has a pickle-like smell, strong like what you experience with a new car. It is also irritating to the nose, so it is hard to miss.
Why do I keep smelling formaldehyde?
You keep smelling VOCs because your house is new, or has new furniture. You have also been using skincare products, smoking tobacco or even using gas stoves. With enough ventilation and running an air purifier, the smell should disperse.
Can smelling formaldehyde make you sick?
You can experience formaldehyde poisoning, which causes eye and nose irritation. It also causes headaches and throat irritation. Some people also experience skin rashes.
Is smelling formaldehyde bad for you?
Smelling off-gassed chemicals indoors is bad for you. It is going to cause formaldehyde poisoning, which causes irritation of the eyes, headaches, throat pain and many more symptoms. You have to run an air purifier, use indoor plants and open the windows until the formaldehyde smell is gone.
Where does formaldehyde come from?
There are many sources of formaldehyde. In your home, it comes from tobacco smoke, body care products, gas furnaces, gas stoves and wood stoves.
It also comes from the glue and adhesives used by manufacturers for upholstering furniture. In the outdoors, it comes from many sources, but mainly from vehicle exhaust smoke.
Is there formaldehyde in my house?
Yes there is, if you have new furniture, new clothing and bedding, if the house itself is new and if you use aerosols and body care products.
If you have a wood or gas stove/lamp, there is formaldehyde in yourself. If you can smell a strong, irritating smell, it is most probably this VOC.
Conclusion for formaldehyde removal solution
Unless you embark on how to remove formaldehyde smell from your home, the amounts of this VOC will increase. They will taint your indoor air.
With the simple solutions that we have brought you here, formaldehyde removal should be simple for you.
Start immediately and make a habit of allowing fresh air from outdoors into your room. Also, get an air purifier that has activated carbon because that can remove VOCs.