Why You Need To Stop Using Furniture Polish And Stains Immediately

A good piece of quality wood furniture is something to treasure for years to come. Making sure it maintains its luster and beauty begins by keeping it clean and free from dirt and stains. Beyond that, there is nothing that makes a piece of furniture stand out more than a glossy shine that highlights the wood grain and undertones. One of the quickest ways to restore a faded or weathered piece is to grab a bottle of furniture polish or stain to revitalize a dull finish.

Though these strategies to keep your furniture looking its best have been used for generations, they may actually pose some underlying risks. There are a number of chemicals included in these formulas that can cause harm ranging from skin and eye irritation to serious damage to your lungs, according to Lima Memorial Health System. Even if you avoid direct contact with the formulas, the fumes and vapors can still result in permanent health damage, especially when used over a long period of time. Here is why you should consider stopping the use of furniture polishes and stains.

They can trigger adverse health effects

Just as you have to routinely clean other features of your home such as the carpet and walls, refreshing your wood furniture may also be on your household to-do list. Before you proceed, however, you should be aware that the main ingredients found in most furniture polishes have the potential to make you sick. According to Mount Sinai, the primary culprits include hydrocarbons that consist of organic solvents, oils, and various waxes. Depending on the polish brand and type, a person can become sick from inhaling fumes, ingestion, or direct skin contact with the chemical ingredients.

There are, however, certain precautions you can take to keep yourself safe and protect your health. When using aerosols, be sure the area is well-ventilated, and wear protective equipment such as eyewear, gloves, and a respirator. According to EWG, chemical vapors can build up in the lungs and result in trouble breathing, headache, dizziness, and a hacking cough. Fumes from spraying in a non-ventilated area can also lead to more serious respiratory problems with prolonged use. The EWG has also reported that many furniture sprays contain Cyclopentasiloxane, an ingredient that increases the risk of reproductive harm, endocrine issues, and developmental delays. Mineral spirits, also found in popular polishes, can contribute to DNA damage and pose an increased cancer risk. Furthermore, if polish or stain spills on your skin or gets in your eyes, it can cause itching, redness, burning, and significant skin irritation.

Negative environmental impact

In addition to potentially harming your health, furniture polishes and stains can also cause harm to the environment. Not only do many of the aerosol cans and plastic containers end up in nearby bodies of water, those that don't accumulate in landfills. The EWG reports that the chemicals found in most furniture polishes can lead to acute aquatic toxicity, which can harm the aquatic plants and animals living in and around the water. Furthermore, these formulas contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds. This means that when vapors are released into the air, they can react with other chemicals and affect the Earth's ozone layer.

Fortunately, there are natural alternatives available, such as this polish from Root & Revel. These options can help you reduce your carbon footprint, and create a safer cleaning experience. You can also make your own furniture polish using items like lemon or orange essential oils, olive oil, beeswax, or vinegar, as detailed in this recipe from Nourished Essentials. Switching out harmful VOC-based furniture stains and polishes can help you live a cleaner, safer lifestyle, and protect Mother Earth too!