How do I get rid of the formaldehyde smell in my camper? (7+ tips)

In this article, we will discuss: How do I get rid of the formaldehyde smell in my camper? We will explain where the smell of formaldehyde comes from, whether it is dangerous for one’s health and how to get rid of it. 

How do I get rid of the formaldehyde smell in my camper?

If you got a new camper, you must be wondering how to get rid of the formaldehyde smell! The good news is that there are a few tips that you can try for quick results: 

  • Open windows every few minutes to days to let in the fresh air – unless you have asthma caused by outdoor air pollution or pollen or are concerned about safety.
  • Install and use exhaust fans whenever possible.
  • Keep the temperature and humidity inside your camper at the lowest possible comfort level.
  • Make your camper smoke-free. Do not allow anyone to smoke in your camper.
  • Choose low-formaldehyde or formaldehyde-free products for your future purchases. Such as furniture, wood cabinets or floor coverings made without urea-formaldehyde (UF) glues and choose insulation without UF foam.
  • Wash clothes and curtains with permanent ironing before using them.
  • Allow new products to release formaldehyde outside your living space before installing or using them indoors. If possible, keep them out of your living space until you can no longer smell a chemical odour.
  • Install depolluting or purifying plants such as gerbera or ivy which neutralize emissions and indoor pollution.

Note: The levels decrease over time. Most of the formaldehyde is released after two years.

How can formaldehyde in my camper affect my health?

Most people don’t have health problems caused by small amounts of formaldehyde in their living space. As the levels rise, some people experience respiratory problems or eye, nose, throat, headache, or skin irritation from exposure to formaldehyde in their home.

These health effects can happen in anyone, but children, the elderly, and people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses are more likely to have these symptoms. If you or someone in your camper has these symptoms, follow the steps to reduce indoor formaldehyde levels. If symptoms persist, talk to a doctor.

Inhaling very high levels of formaldehyde over many years has been linked to rare cancers of the nose and throat in workers. Exposure to formaldehyde from new products or new construction in the home would generally be much lower if the ventilation system and air renewal in your home are correct. Confined spaces with high humidity are more likely to have an impact on your health.

Does a room smell like new several months after buying a new piece of furniture? You may suspect a strong presence of formaldehyde.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colourless gas (one of the many volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) obtained from petrochemicals and which is present in particular in the manufacture of glues, resins and varnishes.

Materials and furniture are the main sources of exposure to formaldehyde. Specifically, we find it in:

  • Particleboard, medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and hardwood plywood used in the manufacture of furniture, countertops and kitchen cabinets;
  • Certain paints, stains, glues, certain varnishes and cleaning products;
  • Laminate floors;
  • Textiles (curtains, rugs, etc.);
  • Smoke from combustion appliances, etc.

Found in the air we breathe, long-term exposure to formaldehyde is the problem. Fortunately, their fumes subside over the years, but no home is exempt from these toxic smells. You must therefore remain vigilant and ensure good ventilation. Otherwise, breathing problems and allergies can develop, especially in children and people with hypersensitivity.

A high (and potentially harmful) concentration corresponds, for example, to VOCs emitted when repainting a wall. As long as the exposure is short-term, people in the room should not experience any irritation; children should be kept away, however.

How to prevent high concentrations of formaldehyde in my camper?

It is not very complicated, to avoid a too high concentration of formaldehyde emanations, you must, at all times, make sure to have good ventilation of the rooms by using the range hood, the ventilation fan and a bathroom and air exchanger.

Also check the temperature and humidity of the premises: the hotter and humid the air, the more the furniture diffuses its formaldehyde.

You can also take action, at the source, by reducing as much as possible the number of chipboard and furniture, curtains and synthetic rugs, especially if there are children on board.

Note: If you own furniture that has a strong smell of formaldehyde, apply a water-based sealer to the uncovered edges of the chipboard furniture, this will eliminate potential emissions.

Need new furniture or rugs? Choose furniture made from materials that are low in formaldehyde. Look for the following approvals:

The mention of “No added formaldehyde” means that the adhesive used in the panels does not emit any, but that the wood that composes them naturally releases it. We then speak of low or very low content. 

You can also:

  • Choose low-toxicity, water-based paints, stains, varnishes, caulking and glues. Store these products in a place away from the house if possible and drop them off in an eco-centre when they are no longer needed;
  • Favour removable rugs instead of glued rugs.
  • Install wood, ceramic or linoleum floors. If you opt for a laminate coating, look for those with low VOCs, recognized by European E0 and E1 or American standards.

The bottom line

If your new camper smells like formaldehyde, follow the above tips to get rid of the unpleasant and unhealthy odour. In any case, you could always take your camper to a professional cleaner (yes, they exist) and obtain good results quickly and effortlessly. 

Do you have any tips on how to get rid of the formaldehyde smell in your camper? Let us know!

FAQ on How do I get rid of the formaldehyde smell in my camper?

How to remove formaldehyde odour?

To remove the formaldehyde odour from new products, keep them out of your living space until you can no longer smell a chemical odour. If it is not possible, then install depolluting or purifying plants such as gerbera or ivy that neutralize emissions and indoor pollution 

Where is formaldehyde found?

Formaldehyde is often found in textiles and clothing where it can irritate the skin and trigger allergic reactions, eczema and contact dermatitis (inflammation of the skin). It is also found in household linen (sheets, pillows, curtains …), cosmetics or furniture.

How to remove the smell from a new cabinet?

To remove the smell from a new cabinet [put a bowl filled with baking soda to fight bad odours. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill a bowl with baking soda;
  2. Place it in your dresser drawers, kitchen furniture, etc. …
  3. Leave to air for a day then close the cabinet;
  4. Remove the bowl a few days later.

How to get rid of the smell of glue?

To get rid of the smell of glue use baking soda, it absorbs odours! So you just have to place bowls filled with baking soda all over the rooms that have been painted. Pour several drops of lemon into a large bowl of boiling water and place it on the floor. 


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