How Long Does It Take Vinyl to Outgas?

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Chemical fumes from outgassing can turn your home into a stinky mess.
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The use of volatile organic compounds in the manufacturing process of vinyl can actually fill your home with dangerous fumes and odors. Called outgassing, these fumes are emitted from vinyl over time and are just one cause of indoor pollutants. Indoor pollutants inside the home are likely to be five times higher than levels found outside, according to studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency.


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During the production of materials such as vinyl, various chemicals are used. These chemicals slowly release themselves from the vinyl and into the surrounding air. This process is outgassing -- also called offgassing -- and can cause a wide array of health complications including headaches, fatigue and nausea. Offgassing is a common process and occurs in a wide array of common household items including furniture, carpet, clothing, flooring and wood products.


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How it Affects You

Over exposure of these volatile organic compounds will aggravate allergies and asthma conditions as well as irritate eyes, nose and throats. Even after the vinyl has emitted all the volatile organic compounds, household surfaces can absorb the fumes and re-emit them into the air, creating a vicious cycle. You can take several steps to help eliminate the outgas process and keep your family safe.


What to Do

The time it takes for vinyl to outgas differs on a number of factors and can range from a few days to several weeks. However, you can speed up the process with a few tips that also help eliminate the dangerous chemicals from your home's air. Ventilating the room by opening windows and running fans where the vinyl is present helps keep the area filled with fresh air. Alternatively, keep the vinyl material outside in a covered area for several days to a few weeks to allow the outgas process to occur.


Consider the Alternatives

If possible, ask the manufacturer to store the vinyl flooring or furniture in its warehouse for several days to allow the volatile organic compounds to dissipate before bringing them into your home. Instead of vinyl that contains various chemicals, consider purchasing natural products for your home. For example, bamboo flooring is an economical choice that is safe for both the environment and your home.



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