Seal in gases from furniture / particle boardOne of the culprits in poor indoor climate is furniture made from particle board. Particle board is made by gluing wood chips together under pressure, using formaldehyde-based glues. The formaldehyde will then slowly gas off over many year - I have some 11-year old kitchen cabinets I can smell when I open the doors!
A lot of cabinets and furniture made from "wood" are really made from particle board with a veneer over it. Most kitchen cabinets are made this way, and so is a lot of furniture. A good way to tell if they are made from particle board is to look at the ends of the plates.
The only way to get rid of the formaldehyde is the seal it off. This can be done with a sealer that is applied to the entire surface. According to an EPA report, sealing is only effective if all sides are completely sealed, gases can travel through the material and exit where the coating is missing. This probably means you will have to disassemble the cabinet or furniture, to be sure to reach all sides of it.
If you possibly can, do the painting outside, and let it stay out there for a few weeks to gas off the paint itself. At least do the painting in the summer, so you can air out the house for several days.
Give it two good layers of sealer, and make sure the air temperature is above 50 F.
One good mainstream product is Carver Tripp Super Poly Satin that gives a nice finish. If you do not tolerate paint fumes well, opt for a low-VOC product. I have successfully used Safecoat Hard Seal for kitchen cabinets. Even this low-VOC gives me problems, I kept the finished cabinets outside for a couple of weeks before reinstalling them, but that is much less than the months it takes for other sealers to gas off.
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