Why Does My New Online Sofa Purchase Stink?

The smell of some brand- new products can be like aphrodisiacs that make us feel good about being consumers. Others make us think twice about what we bought. One of those iffy purchases can have us asking, ” Why does my brand new sofa smell so bad?”. ” Is it going to smell like this forever?”.

These are the questions that some online sofa buyers ask themselves. There are times when some assembly- required furniture items can not only come with free decorative pillows, but a free foul smell as well. This smell can be quite strong and permeate the entire room. Those of us who are more sensitive to strong odors might have to go outside to get away from it.

There are many reasons behind unpleasant new-sofa smells but luckily, there are just a handful of complaints about this problem as I read more and more customer reviews.  Some seating products tend to be more odoriferous than others.  Bonded leather, vinyl and leather-like upholstery can carry a chemical scent that lingers for a while. Treated fabrics can also have a stronger smell.

On Amazon.com you can sometimes find people complaining of  chemical- like odors coming from the sofa they have recently purchased.   This can happen because of the way a sofa is shipped to your home. To protect the furniture from damage it is sealed in plastic at the factory. Any factory scents that are trapped inside this barrier have nowhere to go. When the customer finally receives the sofa and removes the plastic, the odors that were trapped inside expand and fill the room with a less than pleasant smell.

Some Odors Come From Normal Furniture Manufacturing Processes

Wood_glueDuring the manufacturing process when a couch is being partly assembled many different kinds of solvents and wood glues are used. These chemical compounds are strong so they  tend to hang around for awhile.  They may give sensitive folks a  headache, so getting rid of the fumes as fast as possible is the only way to make your room livable again.

Some people become upset if their new piece of furniture smells like chemicals, but luckily there are things they can do to get rid of the odors.  Stinky sofas are temporary, thank goodness.

Below are some suggestions for getting  your new sofa to smell better faster:

Living room suite
24-48 hours and lots of air circulation works to remove most unpleasant new-sofa smells for the average product.

When fabric sits in a sealed environment it can absorb the odors around it.   A great way to get rid of this problem is to spray the fabric with a refresher like Febreeze. Febreeze only works well on fabric. Faux leather products need to air out naturally, or follow the manufacturers guide for removing any unpleasant smells from the upholstery without damaging it.

 If a fan is available, turn it on. This will help air out the room and get rid of any lingering odors. Open doors and windows to help speed up the process.

Herbal incense and candles are a great way to make a home smell better. Lighting a few in the area affected can help

Odor eliminating air purifiers are another great way to rid an enclosed area of distasteful . If you have one in your home bring it in the affected room and allow it to run for a few hours.

If it is possible open your new furniture outside. This will allow odors to escape before bringing your new sofa in the house.

After opening your new furniture, take the packaging out to the trash. Leaving it in the room may make the smell linger and cause your whole house to stink.


The good news is that few online sofa purchases have such bad fumes that people can’t deal with them. Most of these odors are simply sealed-in from the manufacturer and air out quickly; most within 24-48 hours. Unless you have serious allergies, lung problems or are highly sensitive to certain types of solvents, glues and plastics, these products should not be hazardous to your  health in any way.



Image Credits: Valsalva Maneuver by U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kate Thornton, slight modification,  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, “Wood glue” by Cjp24 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wood_glue.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Wood_glue.jpg, Living Room, Pixabay public domain