Applying varnish to your wood furniture or wood flooring will improve its appeal while protecting the natural properties, therefore prolonging its life. As a home improvement specialist, I spend most of my time helping individuals and families make their homes the best they can be. You might be planning to refinish your wood floor with varnish or getting varnished furniture. The only thing holding you back is probably the lingering smell you would have to endure.
The good news is that the smell usually fades away on its own. While it lasts you might experience dizziness, shortness of breath, and headaches. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. I have found several ways to lessen the offensive smell and hasten how quickly it disappears. Here are some easy steps for how to get rid of the varnish smell.
1. Keep newly stained furniture in a separate room
You can set aside a separate room like the garage to store your furniture until it loses the pungent varnish smell. Ensure that the room is well sealed so that the harsh stain smell doesn’t leak into the rest of the house. On the other hand, if you are applying the varnish stain to your wood floor, it’s best to go room by room rather than doing the whole house at once.
This way, you can contain the varnish smell in one room and keep using the rest of the house. Contrary to popular opinion, moving out of your home isn’t necessary when refinishing your wood floor. You can also use the separate room to refinish your furniture with stain if you can’t do it outdoors.
2. Maximize air circulation within the room/house
Before you start refinishing your floor, you should go ahead and maximize airflow within the room. This includes opening up windows and turning on the fans. As a result, the moving air can carry away the harsh smell of varnish, and you won’t have to worry about it concentrating within the house. The smell is usually the most brutal the first few days after applying the varnish. Thus, it is best to increase the airflow circulation for a couple of days.
Leaving your windows open at night to push out the smell might not be ideal, especially in the winter. If you are going to open the windows, make sure it is in a room you are not using, such as the garage or a spare bedroom. Close the window at nighttime to prevent unwanted insects or intruders.
3. Use a bowl of baking soda
You probably have a good amount of baking soda in your kitchen. Baking soda can be very helpful in getting rid of the varnish smell. To complete this task, fill several bowls with baking soda and set them around the room, close to the furniture. This has been an old technique used for decades, to get rid of foul odors and neutralize the air. You can also use a bowl of baking soda if you are struggling with a stuffy refrigerator. Let the bowls sit in place for about three days for the best results.
4. Use white distilled vinegar
Pour 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar into bowls and set them around the room beside the stained furniture. The vinegar will remove the foul varnish odor from the air, leaving the room smelling pleasant. You should leave the vinegar bowls sitting in place for a couple of days.
5. Try activated charcoal
Activated charcoal has become very popular over the last couple of years thanks to its numerous benefits. Top among these benefits is getting rid of nasty odors. Not too long ago, I bought a large dining table that had a harsh stain smell. It was too big to fit into any other room in the house, so I had to put it in the living room. Luckily, I had a couple of bags of activated charcoal, which I placed in containers and set them next to the table. After a couple of hours, the air in my living room was fresher. If you don’t have any activated charcoal laying around, here is what I recommend.
- Activated charcoal (Our pick – Anthony’s Goods Activated Charcoal, 1 lb)
Now that you understand how to deal with the harsh varnish smell, you can get all the furniture you desire with the elegant stain you have always wanted. You can also feel comfortable refinishing your floors if you wish. The best part is you no longer have to worry about leaving your home or suffering because of a simple bad odor.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is it harmful to inhale varnish fumes?
I have come across many people who avoid getting stained furniture because they believe it’s harmful to their health. Varnish can only have severe health effects if you breathe its fumes before it dries up. It can cause problems such as respiratory distress, unconsciousness, and pulmonary edema . Once dried, you can expect mild effects like drowsiness, headaches, and dizziness for a short period.
Which is the best method for removing varnish smell?
In my experience, they all work the same way with a negligible difference in the result. Keep in mind that there might be a cost difference depending on the option you go for. I like to keep the furniture in a separate room, sealed off, and open a couple of windows.
How often should you refinish your stained wood floor and furniture?
There is no straight answer to this question as each manufacturer will have their specific requirements for their products depending on quality. Therefore, it’s best you consult the manufacturer’s guide. You can also do it as soon as you notice the wood surface quality deteriorating. Some common signs of deterioration include discoloration, excessive scratches, and dullness in certain areas.
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