Removing the Odor From Lacquer on New Furniture

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Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup baking soda

  • Bowl

  • 1 cup vinegar

  • Activated charcoal


Try a product designed to eliminate odors from the air. Look for odor eliminators that neutralize the odors rather than cover them up. Try products made with plant enzymes or essential oils for a natural, safe remedy.

Ask the furniture store to hold the furniture in its warehouse for a week or so to allow toxic fumes to evaporate. Buying floor models can also reduce outgassing because gases will have evaporated in the store.

Nausea, headaches, skin irritation and respiratory problems are related to outgassing chemicals. Move the furniture to the garage if you experience these problems or consider returning it if the problem lingers. Look for furniture made from hardwoods instead of plywood and seek out natural varnishes. Used furniture may be a better option if you experience severe symptoms to outgassing chemicals.

Store new furniture in the garage for at least a week before bringing it indoors.

The smell coming from your new furniture may be caused by the lacquer, or by a cocktail of nasty chemicals. As chemicals evaporate from the furniture, they give off a strong, unpleasant odor, known as outgassing. Formaldehyde, used to cure all types of composite wood, is a common suspect, although glues and varnishes may also contain odor-emitting chemicals. Not only do these chemicals stink up the house, but they can cause serious health concerns, as well. Take a few steps to eliminate or reduce the odors emitted from your new furniture.


Step 1

Place baking soda in a bowl and set the bowl in the drawers or on top of the furniture to absorb and neutralize the odors. Replace the baking soda every few days.

Step 2

Place a bowl of vinegar in the drawers, as well, but don't allow the wood furniture to get wet. Although vinegar has a strong smell of its own, it has been used for many years to neutralize foul odors.

Step 3

Place two to three chunks of activated charcoal in the drawers or in a bowl on top of the furniture. Activated charcoal, available at hardware and aquarium stores, is the big gun when it comes to removing odors. After a few days, the charcoal loses its ability to absorb odors. Place it on a baking sheet and bake it at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour to restore it.


references & resources

Julie Christensen

Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."