Are Upholstered Beds Toxic | choose the right material

wooden nontoxic upholstered bed with painted with nontoxic paint
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The answer to this question is a little tricky, but the short answer is no, not all upholstered beds are considered toxic. To break it down further into a definition, any piece of furniture that has fabric or stuffing can be considered upholstered. This means that the answer to whether or not upholstered beds are toxic depends on the materials that were used in the construction of the bed.

Nontoxic upholstery fabrics (without formaldehide)
More durable options
Toxic upholsteredn bed materials (can include formaldehide)

Are fabric headboards safe?

This falls in line with the question above, which is, yes, they are safe. However, it all depends on the type of fabric the headboard cloth is composed of, and if it contains any harmful chemicals or glues.


One common material that is often used in the construction of upholstered furniture is Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical that is used in the manufacturing process of many different types of materials. It is often used to make products more durable and can be found in things like particleboard, glues, and fabrics.

Formaldehyde has been linked to several health problems, including asthma, respiratory problems, and skin allergies. It can also cause cancer in some cases. Because of this, it is important to be aware of the presence of Formaldehyde in any furniture that you may be considering purchasing.

Harmful Chemicals/Fabrics to be Aware of

There are a few things you should watch out for when buying an upholstered bed. Formaldehyde is often used in foam and fabric and, as mentioned above, can be toxic. If you’re looking for a safe option, steer clear of any bed with foam or fabrics that list formaldehyde as an ingredient.

Another potentially harmful chemical found in some upholstered beds is PBDEs or polybrominated diphenyl ethers. This chemical has been linked to health problems like cancer and infertility, so it’s best to avoid it if possible.

Finally, if you’re worried about the fire safety of your upholstered bed, look for one with a fire-resistant label. Some fabrics, like wool, are naturally flame-resistant, but most fabrics will need to be treated with a flame retardant. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are also toxic and can be harmful to your health. So, if you’re looking for a safe and healthy option, choose an upholstered bed with a fire-resistant label and avoid foam and fabrics with toxic chemicals.

Commonly Found Toxic Upholstered Bed Fabrics

There are a few fabrics that are known to emit harmful toxins, such as formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is used in the production of many fabrics, so it’s important to be aware of which ones contain this chemical. Some common fabrics that may contain formaldehyde include:

– Polyester

– Rayon

– Acrylic

– Wool

– Silk

If you are concerned about the toxins your bed may be emitting, and wondering are fabric headboards safe, it is best to opt for a natural fabric headboard, such as wood or bamboo. These materials will not emit any harmful chemicals, and they also look great in any bedroom!

There are several toxic upholstered beds on the market that can expose you to harmful chemicals. Formaldehyde is often used in furniture foam and mattress padding, and it can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and headaches. 

Other harmful chemicals that may be found in upholstered beds include flame retardants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you’re concerned about the toxicity of your upholstered bed, again, be sure to choose one made from natural materials like cotton or wool. You can also look for furniture that has been certified by an independent organization like the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute.

Commonly Found Nontoxic Upholstered Bed Fabrics

bedroom with nontoxic upholstered bed
Our bedroom with nontoxic upholstered bed

Now that we’ve outlined what not to get, now we will dive into the safe options to consider when selecting upholstery fabric for your bed.

Some good options for nontoxic upholstery fabrics include cotton, wool, silk, and bamboo. These fabrics are all-natural and relatively safe. They may not be as durable as some of the synthetic fabrics, but they are healthier for you and your family.

If you’re looking for a more durable option, there are a few synthetic fabrics that can also be considered safe. Polyester and acrylic are two of the most commonly used nontoxic fabrics. They are both durable and relatively affordable.

If you’re looking for a nontoxic fabric for an upholstered bed, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

First, try to choose a natural fiber as mentioned above, such as cotton, linen, wool, or silk. These fabrics are all breathable and won’t cause any skin irritation. Additionally, they are biodegradable and won’t release harmful toxins into the environment. If you can’t find a natural fiber, try to choose a synthetic fabric that is made from safe materials like Ultrasuede or Crypton. There are a number of polyester and acrylic fabrics that are certified as non-toxic, so be sure to look for this certificate when shopping.

How Can I Reduce My Exposure to Formaldehyde

There are a few things that you can do to help reduce your exposure to Formaldehyde in upholstered furniture. First, try to avoid buying furniture that is made from particleboard. If you do purchase furniture made from particleboard, make sure that it is sealed well and has a low Formaldehyde emissions rating. That information can be found here on this list of recognized ABs.

Also, be aware of the Formaldehyde content of any glues that are used in the construction of furniture. Formaldehyde-free glues are available, so be sure to ask about the contents of any glue before purchasing furniture. This may sound like a strange question to ask your local furniture salesperson, but it is certainly one worth asking.

Finally, and perhaps the most obvious, try to avoid buying upholstered furniture that contains fabrics with a high Formaldehyde content. As we have outlined above, there are several Formaldehyde-free fabric options available, so you should have no trouble finding something that will suit your needs. Just be personable with whom you are buying your furniture, or be willing to do the research yourself if that doesn’t prove to be fruitful.

You can always visit the manufacturer’s website, or give them a call on the telephone number listed on their main website. Most manufacturers will be more than happy to answer any specific questions you may have about the process of a piece of furniture’s creation and can prove to be a knowledgeable source.


In conclusion, while upholstered beds may not be inherently toxic, many beds are made with fabrics that contain toxic and potentially harmful chemicals. Luckily, there are several things that you can do to reduce your exposure to formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals. By being aware of the dangers associated with Formaldehyde and taking a few simple precautions, you can rest assured that your upholstered furniture is safe for you and your family.

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