Is there a non-toxic padding I can use for dining room chairs?

Asked by marsea
Clinton, WA

We have refinished a thrift store table & chairs and wish the padding under the new fabric to be chemical free. We have found padding made by Dacron & NuFoam, as well as Airtex, (polyurethane). But still looking for a safe option. Something without flame retardants. Any suggestions?


Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Answered by Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Bainbridge Island, WA

A Kitchen That Works LLC

July 12, 2012

Dear Marsea,

Your two best options for non-toxic and non-flame retardant paddings are:

  1. Wool, which is in ample supply on Whidbey Island. Contact your local 4-H group, and just make sure you wash it well before stuffing your chairs; and
  2. Natural latex (foam rubber).

It can be a bit challenging to purchase natural latex in small quantities so you might try purchasing some ready-made natural latex pillows from an online retailer such as

  • Make sure you speak to a sales representative to verify that the product has not been treated with flame retardant.
  • Alternatively, contact a local professional upholsterer and inquire as to whether they might have some natural latex in stock that they would be willing to sell.

Good luck and enjoy your new dining set!


For more information:

Read "How can I reupholster furniture sustainably?" a Q&A answered by Kirsten Flynn.

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