Can You Sleep in House After Polyurethane – Detailed Overview

can you sleep in house after polyurethane

Polyurethane is a chemical that can be sprayed on the floor of your home to make it more durable. This material is very problematic because if you are exposed to this for even an hour, you will not sleep in your house for at least three days afterward. The fumes from polyurethane seep into your skin and cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting.

If there is enough exposure, these effects may include coma or death. That’s why it’s essential to wear protective gear when working with polyurethane; because without protection, you’re risking many health problems that can affect you for days after the initial spraying process has ended.

Can I stay in my house while the floors are refinished?

There are many reasons to leave your house while the floors are being refinished. For example, you may need to find a place where pets can go for walks and eat meals. You might also want to avoid having logistics like where they sleep or how they will get there complicated matters.

Finally, you might be concerned about the smell of the chemicals used in refinishing hardwood floors; it can be challenging to breathe in fumes with asthma or sensitive sinuses. 

However, staying out of your home is not always necessary when the wood flooring company comes by to estimate what they plan on doing during that period. It’s safe to say that most people who have their floors redone would prefer not to have guests over until after everything.

How long do polyurethane fumes last

Polyurethane fumes can be harmful to your health, so it’s essential to understand how long they last and what you can do about them. The polyurethane smell can be powerful, especially when handling it in large quantities or living in a small area. 

The good news is that the smell should dissipate within 24-48 hours after application and once it’s thoroughly dried. However, polyurethane fumes are hazardous because they contain many chemicals that aren’t good for our lungs or brain cells.

Is polyurethane toxic after it dries

Polyurethane is not toxic when dry because the active ingredients are no longer present in its final state. Polyurethane paints are very durable with a high gloss finish that resists wear and tear while also adding UV protection for your furniture pieces or other surfaces that many can see of people at once.

Polyurethane is a water-based substance, so there are no fumes or smells while you’re applying it. But once it has dried completely, your workspace is filled with solid odors and harmful fumes. It means you should perform all of your tasks outside after the drying process has taken place. 

When can you walk on polyurethane wood floors?

When the polyurethane has dried and hardened, you should wait at least 24 hours before walking on it, but 48 to 72 hours is preferred for best results. If you want a smooth finish without any imperfections or bubbles, let it dry longer. 

However, if your floor still feels sticky after 48-72 hours, give it another day or two (or however long it takes) until the stickiness goes away completely. Once your wood flooring has reached its maximum hardness and no longer sticks to anything in your house.

When can I put furniture on refinished hardwood floors?

Refinished hardwood floors look great, but when can you put furniture on them? If the floor is not yet dry, it is best to wait 24 hours before putting anything heavy on it. It will prevent any possible indentations in the floor that might occur from a sofa or chair leg. 

So if your floors are still wet, do not worry about moving around light items like books and lamps while they dry. Once the floor has dried completely, then you can place heavier pieces of furniture back onto it without fear of damaging your newly finished wood.

Steps on how to get rid of polyurethane smell:

Polyurethane smells like a strong chemical and can be challenging to get rid of. Luckily, it is possible to remove the smell by following these steps:  

1) Open windows in the room where you are working.

2) Place a bowl filled with white vinegar on an oscillating fan.

3) Leave for one hour.

4) Repeat until the smell is gone.

5) If the smell remains, use baking soda instead of vinegar.

Another Method

Polyurethane is a chemical commonly found in wood varnishes and paints. The fumes that come off of polyurethane are potent, so it’s essential to know how to get rid of the smell before they start affecting your health. Here are some steps on how to remove polyurethane smell from wood furniture: 

1) Open windows for ventilation.

2) Mix 1/4 cup salt with 1-quart warm water.

3) Dip a cloth into the solution and wipe down the surface.

4) Wipe dry with a clean cloth or let air dry.


People have been using polyurethane for years. The material has become widely used because it is versatile and easy to use, but the process does have some cons that are often overlooked. 

Many factors can affect the quality of a polyurethane finish product, including humidity levels during application or drying time. After you’ve finished your project with this material, there are several things you need to do before being able to sleep in your house again. 

If these steps aren’t taken correctly, mold could start growing on any surfaces affected by the polyurethane product causing health issues for anyone living in your home.


Can Polyurethane Fumes Kill You?

Yes, in the case of in-person exposure to polyurethane fumes, in very high concentrations and without proper ventilation, indeed, there is a chance of death caused by less air intake. However, such outcomes are rare if adequate ventilation and safety measures are applied.

How To Air Out House After Floor Refinishing?

To air circulation in your house after floor refinishing, use the window as a fresh air source, use fans to push out the house’s indoor air, Run the HVAC system on the vent setting, and think about staying elsewhere for the first 48 hours.

Does Polyurethane Cause Cancer?

Polyurethane has isocyanates included that are suspected to be carcinogens, increasing the risk of cancer, especially with long-term inhalation or in high concentrations.

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