I use plastic containers to store my clothes and bedding. Should I be concerned about VOC emissions?

Asked by Chris
Schenectady, NY

Some of my containers have ventilation holes, and some do not. I am from Australia but I don't think this should matter.


Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Answered by Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Bainbridge Island, WA

A Kitchen That Works LLC

May 18, 2011

Dear Chris,

Preserving your indoor air quality is always a good goal, so the short answer is yes, if the boxes are relatively new.

  • Chances are, if you have had them for a while, the offgassing process is probably near complete.
  • If they are new-ish, consider placing them outside for a day or two where the heat from the sun can accelerate the offgassing process.
  • Do not raise the interior temperature of your house to try and achieve this as is sometimes done to accelerate the offgassing process for new paint or carpeting.

For the future, consider purchasing baskets or wooden boxes/crates from garage sales or reputable retailers that offer natural, chemical-free goods for storing items throughout your home.

These containers can be recycled or will biodegrade at the end of their useful lives, unlike nonrecyclable plastic tubs.

Tagged In: home air quality

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