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Old 08-07-2013, 03:33 PM   #1
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Chemical Odor in New RVs

Hi, Hope this is the right forum for my question.

We are shopping for our first RV and have it narrowed down. I realize any new car/RV has the "new car" smell but some of these coaches are so strong I get a headache. Is this going to subside and quickly? I can't imagine traveling with the chemical odors much less think about what it does to someone's health. It's not good obviously to breathe this. Is there any manufactures that try to use "better" materials that don't have such strong odors? Is there anyone out there that hasn't had this in their particular coach? We are looking at 27-30 ft Class C.

Thank you kindly
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:47 PM   #2
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With the plastic, vinyl, fabric carpet, and manufactured wood products used in an RV, I'm not surprised they have an odor when new. I expect ventilation would soon bring it down to tolerable levels. Step into a used unit and smell the difference.
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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It does go away in time but on RV sales lots and private party sales they are closed up for long periods and that makes it seem worse. Even your car shut up for periods can smell of materials .
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:32 PM   #4
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You're probably smelling formaldehyde which is used in making the paneling. That stuff is really strong in a new unit that has not been allowed to air out long! I think the carpets have a strong odor also, not sure it's the same thing.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:15 AM   #5
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Thank you everyone, appreciate the feedback. Have a great night!!
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSHappyCampers View Post
You're probably smelling formaldehyde which is used in making the paneling. That stuff is really strong in a new unit that has not been allowed to air out long! I think the carpets have a strong odor also, not sure it's the same thing.
Yep, FEMA got sued over it after they set up the ones for Katrina. The units were thrown together, lots of them didn't even have holding tanks since they were to be hooked up directly to sewers. Anyway, it does go away but people can still have reactions to it.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:39 AM   #7
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With the plastic, vinyl, fabric carpet, and manufactured wood products used in an RV, I'm not surprised they have an odor when new. I expect ventilation would soon bring it down to tolerable levels. Step into a used unit and smell the difference.
No, ventilation doesn't dissipate it quickly. Our TT is 2 years old and still smells "new." No formaldehyde, just those other odors mentioned.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:41 AM   #8
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Chemicals..?

I became concerned about this many years back, we bought a Sunnybrook TT, our 3rd trailer and second Sunny, was not new but only about 1 1/2 years old hardly used. First time we went camping in it my daughter began to sneeze a few minutes after entering. This occurred every time we used it. Our solution was Benadryl and tissues, and did not bother anyone else. Our next trailer and subsequent MH did not have the same effect on her. Made me wonder what it was about that TT that caused this.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:33 AM   #9
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Strange! When we were looking for a MH and found one it was also new and on the lot. It smelled of the formaldehyde. The salesperson said that when we picked it up most of the smell would be gone. When I asked a technician how they removed the smell he said they closed it up and ran the AC on full blast for the 3 days before pickup.

When we picked it up the smell was minimal and was a short time thereafter that it was dissipated entirely. I believe ventilation does do the trick.

For used cars that have had smokers they use something called a "smoke bomb" and it rids the majority of smell out of the vehicle. You may want to talk to a car dealer and see if that same product, or similar product, would work in the MH.


Edited: Did a Google search on, riding formaldehyde smell, and got a lot of hits.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:35 PM   #10
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Wow!! Considering Formaldehyde is known as a carcinogen, you think they would come up with a different substance to use. Who wants to breathe a cancer causing substance?

I did a little research and found that Coachmen RV is now "Green Certified" and are using more healthy materials, one of their videos on YouTube for the Freelander says you will not get the strong odors like other brands. He continues that some people who have breathing problems or asthma can be effected by chemicals being used in other RV brands. That just says right there how bad the chemicals are. Yikes!!!!

I appreciate everyone's feedback!! Thank you
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Old 08-13-2013, 04:22 PM   #11
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This site lists certified green RV manufacturers. TRA | Eco-RVs | Vendor Lists
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:02 PM   #12
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When you pick it up fry up a big batch of live and onions for supper, then make a big pot of bean soup. If that doesn't do the trick try the boiled cabbage route, that should change the smell for a while. Jim
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:39 AM   #13
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Our 2012 model year Keystone Passport has just now pretty much stopped smelling new unless we leave it closed up in hot weather. We took delivery of it in March 2012 and have used it for about 50 nights. I found after replacing the mattresses with more comfortable models that most of the smell was actually the upholstery foam. Ours does not have carpet other than a little bit covering the wheel wells, it has a vinyl floor. There is also not much particle board other than the table top. The cabinets are all plywood or veneered thicker pieces of wood. I leave the top vents cracked open most of the time as well as one of the bunk windows when the weather is decent- I have vent covers and the gutter keeps the rain out of the window.
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