Are Wood Stain Fumes Harmful

Are Wood Stain Fumes Harmful?


Wood stain can give wood depth, enhanced color, tone, and grain appearance. However, are wood stain fumes harmful?

Staining wood is a method practiced for hundreds of years.

In the past, wood stains were made from simple things such as letting rusty nails soak in vinegar just to make a beautiful brown stain.

Today, the ingredients of wood stains are more complicated. However, they also include toxic chemicals that pose harm to human health.

Getting to Know Wood Stains

Wood stains have 3 main components including pigment or dye, binders, and solvents. Dyes can penetrate the wood and pigments sit on top of the wood like paints. Solvents maintain the binder and colorants in liquid form. The solvents evaporate once they’re applied and the binder works by holding the colorant.

Petroleum-derived solvents are damaging, including the extraction of petroleum, shipping, and manufacturing into chemicals and solvents, requiring a large amount of energy. Urethane and acrylic stains contain the greatest amounts of petroleum-based solvents. Natural oil stains and water-based stains contain the least amounts of solvents.

As the wood stain dries, the solvents evaporate, releasing volatile organic compounds or VOCs, contributing to air pollution and causing health problems.

Look for environmentally friendly wood stains without odor. Special formulations are now available, specifically designed for those people suffering from asthma, chemical sensitivities, and allergies.

How to Get Rid of Wood Stain Smells

While most wood stains are safe for minor or interior applications, they have a very strong smell that is irritating. They give off a very strong smell. Adequate ventilation on your work area is important to reduce wood stain odors. Here are the things you need to get rid of very strong wood stain odors:

The things you will need to eliminate wood stain smells include a respirator, exhaust fan, air purifier, small containers, window fan, baking soda, and activated charcoal.

To ventilate, place the main source of the strong stain smell outside during the day. The exhaust fan should be turned on exhaust if the smell originates from a bathroom or kitchen.

Open all doors and windows in order to cross-ventilate fresh air in and keep the smelly air out. In an opened window, place a fan to blow out the strong smell, and a second fan is placed in another window, just near the room’s entrance for fresh air to be drawn into the room, boosting fumes outward. If you have an air purifier, turn it on.

You can purchase one from a home appliance or home improvement store. Choose one with HEPA or charcoal filter to purify odors and air contaminants. Ceiling fans should also be turned on, most especially in a room containing the odor source.

Let the air circulate for at least 8 hours. Turn the fans and purifier off if the odor has faded diminished. Just keep your home properly ventilated until the wood stain cures. The smell of wood stain will persist as it dries or cures. Proper ventilation reduces the intensity of wood stain odors.

Guide in Absorbing Strong Wood Stain Odors

Firstly, fill small containers with activated charcoal or baking soda and place them around the room which contains the main source of the stain odor. Leave these containers in the room for several hours for the smell to absorbed.

Baking soda is usually used to absorb smells or odors in refrigerators, while activated charcoal is usually used in air filtration, absorbing odors quickly. Activated charcoal is available in drug stores and also pet supply stores. If the smell or odor still persists, replace the containers with charcoal or fresh baking soda after several days.


Wood stain fumes are harmful to human health, but there are things you can do to prevent risking your health and safety. Proper ventilation is very important until the strong smell of wood stains fade. You can use activated charcoal or baking soda to help eliminate odor. Do you find this article very helpful? We appreciate you reading this article, and you can also share it and comment below for any questions.