Why Wood Stain Fumes Can Be Harmful

ECOS Paints 03/30/2021
Why Wood Stain Fumes Can Be Harmful

Wood stain can transform old wood, flooring, and furniture, making it look like new. But if the stain is not applied carefully, that new furniture look can come at a steep cost—your health. Wood stain fumes are well known to be toxic. But many people are still unaware as to why wood stain fumes can be harmful to one’s health.

Ingredients in Oil-Based Wood Stains

Oil-based wood stains contain ingredients such as petroleum, alcohol, formaldehyde, sodium hydroxide, and glycol ether. These are all harmful, whether because they are toxic, corrosive, or carcinogenic. As these ingredients evaporate, they become harmful volatile organic compounds or VOCs that linger in the air for days or even months.

How Wood Stain Fumes Impact Health

These fumes have a harsh smell that can be irritating. But this isn’t the only way wood stain fumes impact our health. Along with degrading indoor air quality, they can potentially cause:

  • Breathing issues
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Irritation of the eyes and throat
  • Headaches

Prolonged exposure can also result in wood stain poisoning. This more serious level of exposure may result in a burning sensation, blurred vision, and collapse. In this case, seek medical attention immediately.

How To Handle Wood Stain Fumes

Ventilation and Protection

When working with oil-based wood stains, ventilation is key. It’s best to use oil-based wood stain outdoors. If you are not able to work outdoors, however, be sure that air can circulate in the room you are working by opening the windows. This is even more important when the stain is drying because VOCs can enter the air as the stain evaporates. If you are staining the floor of a room, avoid having anyone occupy the room.

Zero-VOC* Wood Stain

The biggest defense against wood stain fumes is avoiding them completely. You can do this by choosing water-based wood stains and varnishes. These don’t have the harsh smell of traditional wood stains and do not use the same toxic ingredients, making them valuable for every area of your house. Here at ECOS Paints, we have top-quality no odor* wood stains in a variety of colors for use on your furniture, floor, or other woodwork.

*Zero VOC - Conforms to CDPH 01350 (VOC emissions test taken at 11, 12, & 14 days for classroom and office use).

*No odor - no traditional paint or polyurethane odors, which can cause headaches, nausea, and respiratory issues.