What's a Chemical Free Sofa?




A Safer Sofa doesn't contain unnecessary chemicals like flame retardants and added urea formaldehyde.




Many things go into making the objects we use every day, and parts come from all over the world to build something as seemingly simple as furniture. To make things affordable, mass production of some parts can lead to the use of ingredients that may serve the purposes of the makers and sellers of furniture more than it does the end user.


We found out about the existence of unwanted chemicals in the furniture we were selling in our small furniture store in Maine back in 2007 or so, and that led us to make some pretty tough decisions.


kdb and Maia hanging out in the store



When it comes to furniture, we all want a comfortable sofa. We don't expect it to slowly kill us with carcinogens. OK, I should have turned the cushions more often, but do I deserved to be quietly poisoned? Of course not!

 Free eBook on Downsizing

The Three F's

We could get into detail about lots of littler things, but a few really stand out. Here are my three F's to be mindful of when purchasing ANY upholstered furniture these days:




Flame retardants:

Though Maine passed a comprehensive ban on the sale of new upholstered furniture containing chemical flame retardants starting in January of 2019, consumers are still able to purchase -- online and elsewhere -- furniture that still contains these unhelpful, potentially very dangerous chemical compounds. Pounds of it.



plywwod sofa frames and glues for frames may contain urea formaldehyde



We were already aware of the dangers of formaldehyde in composite wood products that started to show up in more and more wood furniture - stuff that was once made of real wood was coming in as pressed chip board, medium density fiberboard (MDF) or veneered plywood.


make sure nothing toxic has been applied to the fabrics you sit on every day


Fabric Treatments:

It used to be that furniture stores would offer a stain protection on top of selling the furniture. It would be a topical application done at the store, after receiving the furniture from the factory and before delivering it to your home. Those were pretty much all bad for us or the environment in one way or another (that's a whole blog post right there). There are some great new options for fabrics to put on sofas and chairs now, and they come with fewer chemicals that are harmful to the environment, or no added chemicals at all. We refer to these as Performance Fabrics.

 read more