Introduction: Keep the couch you love while saying goodbye to toxics
An estimated 80-100% of the flame retardants in upholstered furniture are found in the foam inside removable cushions. If you have inspected the label on your furniture and believe it likely contains flame retardants, it is possible to replace the cushions with new filling that does not contain flame retardants.
How to swap out your foam
To find out more about swapping out your foam cushions, contact a local foam supplier. We have a list of participating suppliers here. You can also take this flier in to your local upholstery shop and talk with them about swapping out your cushions.
Here are some local participating locations in the San Francisco Bay Area:
- FOAM ORDER Factory
- FOAM ORDER Showroom
The Foam Store of Marin
- Foam and Cushion
- Famous Foam Factory
- Cushion Works
When you contact a foam supplier, make sure to specify that the new foam should not contain added flame retardant chemicals.
You should also be prepared to answer the following questions if asked:
- In what type of furniture would you like to replace your foam?
- Do cushions have zippers, or will re-stitching be required?
- What kind of replacement material are you interested in? (foam, latex etc.)
If the seat and back cushions are not removable, you will need to contact an upholstery specialist.
For questions, please contact SaferSofa@GreenSciencePolicy.org.
What to do with the old foam that contains flame retardants
Currently, the landfill is the available method for disposing of furniture and foams that contain flame retardants. Donating or reselling cushions that contain flame retardants can result in prolonged exposures for the next owner (often low-income families and students). We continue to facilitate research towards more responsible methods of disposal.
Contact your city or waste management facility to arrange for a pick-up or find out where the drop-off location is for bulk items in your region
Please visit our FAQ page for more information.
What else can I do to reduce flame retardants in my home?
If you decide to purchase a new sofa or chair rather than swapping out your foam, please refer to our Consumer Resources page
You can decrease exposure to some toxics by washing hands frequently and reducing house dust through wet mopping, dusting with a damp cloth, and vacuuming with a HEPA filter. View our flier: Tips to Reduce Toxics in Your Home.
- CBS5 ConsumerWatch: Chemical-free couch foam now available (video)
- Houston Chronicle: Chem-free beds are doctor’s orders (mention)
- SF Chronicle: Leah Garchik social column (mention)
On our blog: