What is off-gassing on a floor?

Having a new carpet or vinyl flooring is exciting, given that you’re able to provide your home a new look and reap all benefits either type of flooring offers. Carpet adds warmth underfoot, dampens noise, and cushions slips and falls. On the other hand, vinyl is durable, water-resistant, and easier to maintain.

While you may quickly feel these advantages after installing them, soon, you will also realize the odd aroma that comes with them. You may be familiar with it as the scent also goes along with a new car, mattress, or paint.

What you may not be aware of is that smell is actually a sign of off-gassing. You may ask, what is off-gassing? Don’t worry, as we’re here to answer that question! Continue reading below and discover what’s with your new flooring’s odor, its risks, and how to eliminate it. Thus, ensuring what you’ll only have is a beautiful, protected home.


What is off-gassing on a floor?

To put it simply, off-gassing, also called outgassing, is the release of chemicals called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air. Such chemicals are used in the manufacturing or production process of many household items like vinyl flooring, carpet flooring, and floor finishes. These VOCs evaporate quickly at room temperature, and when the floor materials that contain them release or off-gas these chemicals, we smell them.

Off-gassing may continue to occur even after many days, months, or years after installation, though the scent will just get milder and milder until there are no longer any noticeable fumes. These VOCs are not only limited to flooring materials, as they may also come from everyday items available in your home.

Furniture, couches, and mattresses are known to be huge offenders of off-gassing. Plywood and particleboard also emit VOCs, as the glue used to attach them usually contains formaldehyde. Other products that emit VOCs include nail polish remover, air fresheners, dryer sheets, wood-burning stoves, household cleaners, gasoline, paint, varnishes, cabinetry, adhesives, cosmetics, and toys.

Apart from making your smell stale, prolonged exposure to these chemicals may cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, and dizziness. People with asthma and allergies may also find the smell annoying and may aggravate their condition.

That is why it’s vital to be extra cautious of off-gassing, especially during carpet and vinyl flooring installations, home renovations, and other home improvement endeavors. One good way to avoid VOCs is by choosing more natural products or ones labeled as low-VOC and no-VOC.

gassing on a floor

How long will the smell of the new flooring last?

Truth to be told, there’s no exact timeframe on how long the actual off-gassing lasts. It depends on various factors like your home’s ventilation, the location where the floor installation was done, and the amount of VOCs used in the production of the flooring material. 

In general, the strong scent from off-gassing peaks during the first two weeks for new vinyl flooring. The odor from a new carpet tends to dissipate quicker, with the smell being at its strongest during the first 24 to 48 hours. In the worst cases, it may take 4 or 5 days.

The smell lingers longer in an indoor setting compared to an outdoor one. Nevertheless, the off-gassing process may persist subtly for months or sometimes years, depending on the same conditions listed above.


What are the ways to get rid of the smell and speed up off-gassing?

Fortunately, there are various steps you can do to eliminate the smell, speed up the off-gassing process, and remove these dangerous chemicals from the air inside your home. 

Improve ventilation

One of the best strategies to combat off-gassing and getting rid of the strong scent is improving the ventilation inside your home. Keep all the doors and windows open following the installation of your new carpet or vinyl flooring. Do this for a few days, even if you notice that the smell has started to wear off. You can also turn your fans or HVAC system on to circulate fresh air as much as possible.

Vacuum your new carpet

Apart from being a part of carpet maintenance and cleanliness, running the vacuum can help eliminate the nasty smell of your carpet. In addition, you get to collect all leftover debris, fuzz, and dust particles, which can add up to the foul odor. Do this on your newly-installed carpet, even if it doesn’t look dirty.

Purchase an air purifier

It may entail an extra cost, but buying an air purifier can also aid in getting rid of the smell in the air. Find one with an activated carbon filter. It has the special properties to eliminate VOCs, gaseous pollutants, and unwanted odors from the air – things that a HEPA filter won’t touch. Thus, making a worthy investment in the long run. Alternatively, you may install carbon air filters to your central AC system if you want to save up on the cost.

Have plants in the room

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly solution for the smell caused by off-gassing, you may simply add potted plants to your room. Some good VOC-absorbing plants include bamboo palm, areca palm, peace lily, rubber plant, dracaena, spider plant, and bromeliad. Not only will these plants filter VOCs, but they will also be stunning decorations and help provide oxygen enhancing the overall air quality inside your home.

Use vinegar

Vinegar has been a renowned cleaning agent and deodorizer of tough smells. For another all-natural approach, you can fill small cups or bowls and vinegar and place them on various sturdy locations around the room. Just leave them overnight to allow the vinegar to absorb the odor from your new carpet and vinyl flooring.

Place onions or apples

While it may seem odd, onion is actually a good deodorizer. Cut onion into halves and place them in a small bowl with water. Though it may smell like onion initially, it will lose its smell and absorb the surrounding odors, keeping your room odor-free. The same property goes with apples, but they rather give a cleaner, fresher aroma than vinegar or onions.

Final Thoughts

We hope all this information helped you to discover about off-gassing on floors. Just follow the listed tips above, and you can significantly reduce the scent and duration of its process, allowing you to enjoy a reinvented, more comfortable, and safer home the soonest.