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How do I reduce off-gassing in hardwood blinds?

QUESTION:
I special ordered white American Hardwood blinds. I got them in September and although there is no longer a strong smell, my nose burns when I sit near them and I've been getting headaches. My husband and two toddlers don't seem bothered by these blinds, but because these are in my kid's bedrooms I'm concerned about the effects of the paint.

The company I bought them from told me that I could cure in the smell by washing the blinds with Murphy's oil or Lemon Pledge. My concern is that this will smell worse.

I'm wondering if they could still be off-gassing? Do you think they may need more time to completely off-gas?

ANSWER:
It can take quite a while for wood finishes to completely cure, especially in colder weather. Finishes can cause symptoms, even if you can't smell the finish. Even though finishes can be "dry to the touch," they are still curing and still releasing chemicals.

I suggest heat, as heat makes the chemicals outgas faster. I would take down the blinds and hang them in a small room, like the bathroom, if you have a second bathroom. Then place a couple of space heaters in the bathroom, and "bake out" the finish.

Personally, I wouldn't wash them with Murphy's or Lemon Pledge. These could add additional odors and wouldn't actually contribute to drying out the finish, which is what is required to end the out-gassing.

Debra :)


This answer was provided by our friend, Debra Lynn Dadd. Hailed as "The Queen of Green" by the New York Times, Debra Lynn Dadd has been a pioneering consumer advocate since 1982, specializing in products and lifestyle choices that are safer for human health and the environment. She is the author of Home Safe Home.

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