IMG_5787New carpets are known for off-gassing formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzene, toluene and perchloroethylene which are all toxic chemicals known to negatively impact your health, especially your liver. New mattresses, new carpets and new cars off-gass toxic gasses continually potentially causing damaging conditions for people and especially children.

Volatile organic compounds are known as VOCs and can cause problems for babies, children, pets and adults. If you are planning to buy new furniture there is one simple easy solution that can help absorb some of your toxic VOCs.

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Environmental Science & Technology analyzed 20 different mattresses from 10 different manufacturing companies. They found, “More than 30 VOCs, including phenol neodecanoic acid and linalool. Limonene, a compound that provides a lemon scent to some products, was abundant in the mattresses.”

Most surprisingly was the impact from crib mattresses. “The research team reported that VOC levels were significantly higher in the sleeping infant’s breathing zone when compared with bulk room air.  In other words, an infant is exposed to about twice the VOC levels as individuals standing in the same room.  Moreover, because infants take in higher air volumes per body weight than adults and sleep longer, they experience about 10 times more inhalation exposure.”

The new car smell is comprised scientifically of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

There are over 60 VOCs detected in a new car. Compound Interest is an organization run by a chemistry teacher that analyzes chemical compounds and reports his findings for educational use. They say 20% of the VOCs dissipate each week from a new car however, some factors amplify the off-gassing.

To read more on the dangers of a new car smell click here.

Air & Waste Management Association says, “The carpet with a polyvinyl chloride backing emitted formaldehyde, vinyl acetate, isooctane, 1,2-propanediol, and 2-ethyl- 1-hexanol. Of these, vinyl acetate and propanediol had the highest concentrations and emission rates. The carpet with a polyurethane backing primarily emitted butylated hydroxytoluene.”

They go on to say, “The most is known about the toxicity and irritancy of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a strong sensory irritant. A recent epidemiology study of mobile-home occupants showed that significant irritant effects (burning/tearing eyes) occurred at exposure levels as low as 7 ppm-hour.”

For situations like these, specifically with the carpet VOCs, two-thirds of all the health complaints were experienced immediately or began within a few days of installation. The greatest emissions were found from latex adhesives as well as fire retardant.

The most effective method in eradicating VOCs is a quality air cleaner. This one is ranked the highest, however, remember when the VOC content is high filters need to be replaced more frequently. This air cleaner is ranked second highest in quality, yet is half the cost.

Removing these smells, toxic chemicals and VOCs is a challenge indeed. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is using sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, sodium hydrogen carbonate, or sodium acid carbonate.

Baking soda is amphoteric which means it reacts with a strong acid or a base pH. Baking soda absorbs to hydrogen ions. There are no current studies showing the benefits of using baking soda to absorb VOCs, yet, those sensitive can attest to some relief. says, “Sodium bicarbonate is a base that reacts when it comes into contact with acids. This reaction produces carbon dioxide

photo courtesy of by jk1991

photo courtesy of by jk1991

(CO2). When baking soda comes into contact with an acid, it pretty much reacts immediately.”

How Products Are Made says, “Its crystalline structure provides a gentle abrasion that helps to remove dirt. Its mild alkalinity works to turn up fatty acids contained in dirt and grease into a form of soap that can be dissolved in water.”

They further say, “Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, comes from soda ash obtained either through the Solvay process or from trona ore, a hard, crystalline material. Trona dates back 50 million years, to when the land surrounding Green River, Wyoming, was covered by a 600-square-mile (1,554-square-kilometer) lake. As it evaporated over time, this lake left a 200-billion-ton deposit of pure trona between layers of sandstone and shale. The deposit at the Green River Basin is large enough to meet the entire world’s needs for soda ash and sodium bicarbonate for thousands of years.”

Wise Geek says, “Its neutralizing action on acidic scent molecules makes it an effective deodorizer.”

photo courtesy of stockimages @

photo courtesy of stockimages @

Using baking soda to remove potential harmful toxins is most effective by sprinkling the powder liberally on the carpet or mattress. Set the vacuum to use the  hose so that the suction of the machine is redirected but the beater brush works the baking soda into the carpet or mattress. Not all vacuums do this – another option is brushing the baking soda into the fibers with a dry brush. Allow the product to sit, the longer the better. Vacuum the mattress or carpet to sweep up the baking soda and repeat to process if you have time.

Click here for the baking soda most frequently used. 

Houseplants have been found highly effective in absorbing VOCs. A study at The University of Georgia found, “To reduce the VOC levels in your home, UGA researchers recommend adding a cross-section of plants, one per 100 square feet of living space.”

Researchers found,”Purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata) best removed VOCs from the air. Other species with superior filtering abilities were English ivy (like this one), purple heart (like this one), foxtail fern (like this one) and wax plant.”

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.”  




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4 Responses to 3 Easy Steps To Removing VOCs From New Furniture And Mattresses Naturally

  1. Melissa Jaggears says:

    found your blog helpful….
    just finished renovating an old beach house in FL panhandle and now can’t sleep there
    because of the heavy VOC smells….my skin feels like its burning….
    it’s going to take me a while to make it livable….

  2. alyssareid2016 says:

    I was given a mattress to trial for pain…We ended up giving away our extremely has-been old mattress (read, given away, to the dump!). I cannot get the toxic smell out of the new mattress and have been sleeping on the couch! My husband can’t smell it, which makes it even worse (as he thinks I am being overly sensitive and making a big deal out of it!). I have just sprinkled a ton of baking soda on it and I am airing it. Again. Can’t afford an organic mattress…and have no other mattress to use! Aaarrrggghh!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      I actually fear I will be in the same position some day. My husband isn’t sensitive either. Best of luck to you! Baking soda is a powerful tool!

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