Is it safe to sleep in an apartment whose outside hallway has freshly been carpeted today?
September 17, 2009 5:37 PM   Subscribe

I came home today to find that the hallways in my apartment building have suddenly been re-carpeted. This was much overdue and will be a nice improvement. But it smells terrible right now. Is it safe to sleep here tonight? How long until it goes back to normal again?

Other info: my mother lives nearby and I could probably go sleep there if I had to. But on a weeknight, with work tomorrow, I am reluctant. If it's going to be a few days though, I might think again...
posted by JoannaC to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
When I had carpets refitted, it stank of chemicals, etc, and I was told just to avoid the room and keep it well ventilated for an hour (but even that wasn't strictly necessary). I suspect if it's worth you asking this question, your guys have used something somewhat more industrial but I'd say if you're not sleeping in one of the affected rooms and you have reasonable ventilation anyway, there's nothing to worry about. If your ventilation is poor and the smell is strong in your bedroom, then you might want to play it safe.
posted by wackybrit at 5:52 PM on September 17, 2009

Best answer: Depends on who you ask.
Some people say it's totally fine.
Others say it's completely toxic.

Do a search for "new carpet outgassing" and you'll get loads of completely contradictory opinions. Personally, I think your biggest danger is getting a headache from the fumes.
posted by bpm140 at 6:03 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

if you have a window in your bedroom, open in wide and let the breeze in. put a fan on. toss on an extra blanket if necessary for the night. you'll be fine.

for lols, you can check out one of my past questions on new carpet and offgassing.

basically, i got bad headaches from it, but didn't die.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:29 PM on September 17, 2009

Best answer: If it's just the hallway outside your apartment, it would probably help to stuff a towel under your front door.
posted by smackfu at 6:32 PM on September 17, 2009

Towel under the door and an open window.

Same thing in my building a few years back. No big whoop, unless you're seriously environmentally sensitive.

You're probably going to smell it for a very long time, but the reek should weaken to tolerable levels after a few months.

Yeah. Months.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:21 PM on September 17, 2009

You're probably going to smell it for a very long time, but the reek should weaken to tolerable levels after a few months.

What? We recarpeted our bedroom, slept there that very night, and the smell faded after a week.

OP, you're not gonna die. Open some windows and get some air freshener.
posted by desjardins at 7:05 AM on September 18, 2009

desjardins, there's a difference between lush natural fiber carpet that is put into bedrooms, and nasty artificial carpet meant for the high-traffic abuses of an apartment building hallway. That, and the bedroom probably gets a lot better airflow and circulation than the hallway does.

The hallway will reek for quite a while, but sealing the doorway will keep the smell from entering the unit.
posted by explosion at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2009

You can get a rubber door sweep from any hardware store that even has an adhesive strip so it can be attached to your door semi-permanently.

Is there a window in the hallway that you could sneak open on a nice day? That would help.

It has also been my experience that different people have different sensitivities to these chemicals. I tend to dislike the smell but otherwise barely notice them. It's not that different from the new car smell that some people actually like (they sell air "fresheners" in that scent). This may account for one's perception of days, weeks, or months of smelling it.
posted by dhartung at 2:16 PM on September 18, 2009

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