How to Remove Varnish Smell From New Furniture

By Mego Kimani •  Updated: 05/14/24 •  2 min read

To remove the varnish smell from new furniture, it’s crucial to understand the nature of the smell, which is usually due to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in the varnish. Here are steps and tips based on expert guidance to effectively remove or reduce this smell:

how to get rid of that funny varnish smell (1)
  1. Ventilation: This is the most straightforward and essential step. Increase air circulation around the furniture by opening windows and doors. Use fans to push out the indoor air and pull in fresh outdoor air. This helps to dissipate the concentration of VOCs and accelerates their evaporation.
  2. Baking Soda: Utilize the odor-absorbing properties of baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the surfaces of the furniture and leave it to sit overnight or for a few days if possible. Vacuum it off thoroughly. You can also place open containers of baking soda inside drawers or cabinets.
  3. Activated Charcoal: Place bowls of activated charcoal inside and around the furniture. Activated charcoal is highly effective at absorbing odors and chemicals from the air. Read about how it works here
  4. White Vinegar: Though it has its own strong smell, vinegar is a potent odor neutralizer. Place bowls of white vinegar inside and near the furniture. The vinegar smell will dissipate along with the varnish smell.
  5. Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds can absorb odors effectively. Place bowls of fresh or used coffee grounds inside drawers or on shelves.
  6. Zeolite: Natural volcanic minerals like zeolite can absorb odors without emitting any harmful by-products. Place bags or bowls of zeolite around the furniture.
  7. Natural Air Fresheners: Use lemon or essential oils. Place lemon slices in bowls around the furniture or use essential oil diffusers to mask the odor as it fades.
  8. Commercial Products: If natural methods do not suffice, consider using commercial odor eliminators designed for removing VOCs.
  9. Heat and Humidity: Increasing the temperature and humidity can speed up the release of VOCs from the varnish. If it’s safe to do so, use a space heater and a humidifier. However, this method should be used with caution as it may potentially cause the varnish to soften or become sticky.
  10. Time: Lastly, giving it time is sometimes the best approach. The odor will naturally decrease as the VOCs evaporate.
fighting home odors

Implementing several of these methods together can be more effective in reducing or eliminating the varnish smell from new furniture.

Mego Kimani

Hi there, my name is Mego Kimani, and I am the owner of Woodmeter, a website dedicated to wood finishing. At Woodmeter, we offer a comprehensive resource for woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts, providing information on everything from achieving the perfect finish to product recommendations and technique guides. Our goal is to empower our community with the knowledge they need to create beautiful, long-lasting finishes on their projects, no matter their skill level or experience.