Safer Sofa Foam Exchange

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:

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.

Press coverage

The Safer Sofa Foam Exchange made the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle after its official launch on June 17, 2014.

Other coverage:

On our blog: