Generally speaking, the bedroom is a place intended for restful and relaxing activities. It’s a spot to unwind after a long day, to debrief and to re-connect. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a place to get some good sleep.
Keeping chemicals and other toxins out of the bedroom is essential to staying healthy and getting quality sleep. Manufactured products, like paint, furniture and even bedding, can be made with chemicals that release toxins into the air. Choosing organic and all-natural items for your bedroom will not only benefit the environment but will help reduce your risk of potential health issues.
Below are six ways you can help rid your bedroom of toxins and potential health hazards while benefitting the environment in the process.
Invest in an organic mattress.
It’s no secret that some mattresses are made with a slew of synthetic materials. This includes fire retardants, formaldehyde, and polyurethane foam – a petroleum-based material that emits something called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. This can sometimes be referred to as off-gassing, and while there is no proven health risk connected to the substances in mattresses, some VOCs are suspected carcinogens.
Those who want to be safe – and more eco-friendly – should consider more natural organic mattresses. Look for ones that say they’re made with all-natural latex (even plant-based foam fillings could have synthetic material in them) like this certified organic mattress by Bio Sleep Concept.
Choose a non-toxic interior paint.
Like mattresses, paint (both exterior and interior) also releases VOCs into the air and are believed to be responsible for a good share of indoor air pollution.
This has been an area of growing concern for homeowners, and has resulted in a slew of newer low-VOC or zero-VOC interior paints (say goodbye to that new paint smell!). Companies like Benjamin Moore and Milk Paint now offer zero-VOC paints that can be used to keep your bedroom -and your whole house – healthier.
Read the labels on your bed sheets.
Before purchasing cotton or bamboo bed sheets, make sure to look at their labels carefully. Cotton is said to be the world’s dirtiest crop because of the high level of pesticides needed to grow the plant. Not only is it harmful to the environment to grow, but textiles – like sheets and clothing – require the use of numerous chemicals in their production.
Choosing organic bedding options means you’re not only sparing yourself from the chemicals needed to produce your sheets, but you’re helping the environment. Organic cotton is produced with natural pesticides and fertilizers, which will keep groundwater and our rivers safe and chemical-free.
When buying organic cotton sheets, choose ones that are certified organic. There are two independent certifiers: Organic Content Standards (OCS) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Bamboo sheets will often be labeled as 100% Viscose from Bamboo or 100% Rayon from Bamboo. This can be a little confusing, but essentially you get viscose or rayon fibers from the bamboo plant once you put bamboo through a chemical manufacturing process. There is some debate as to whether your bamboo sheets retain any of the healthy properties and benefits of the natural bamboo plant.
If you have your heart set on bamboo bed sheets, look for companies that are transparent about their manufacturing process. There are many brands of bamboo sheets on the market, so doing a little due diligence can go a long way in making an eco-friendly and healthy decision for you and your family.
Pick a natural pillow.
Just like mattresses, pillows can be made with all sorts of materials, some of which are better for the environment than others. Even memory foam pillows, made with polyurethane foam, release volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that we can inhale. While the Polyurethane Foam Association says that these VOC’s are not emitted in concentrations enough to affect our health, some people choose to avoid them altogether.
Luckily, there is a wide range of comfortable and natural pillows on the market. There’s organic cotton, millet and buckwheat pillows. There are even some that are filled with 50% natural latex ribbons and 50% Kapok fibers. The non-toxic and hypoallergenic Kapok fiber is actually the seed pop fluff from the Kapok tree, which can be found in the rainforest.
Use plants as natural air purifiers.
We know that everyday common household objects, including furniture and textiles, can release chemicals – like ammonia and formaldehyde – into the air that may be toxic to our health. But did you know that there are plants that will absorb toxins like and clean the air for us?
Before grabbing any plant, do your research. Some plants are toxic to pets like cats and dogs, so be sure to keep them in a safe place and out of reach. Also consider what type of care you can provide a plant and choose one accordingly.
NASA even conducted a Clean Air Study and produced a list of air-filtering plants, like the Spider Plant and Bamboo plants, that will boost both your bedroom aesthetic and your health.
Related Post: 8 Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants for Your Office
Choose vinyl-free mattress protectors.
Plenty of people choose to protect their mattress from damage with a protector. Because mattress warranties can be made void if the mattress is damaged by liquid/fluid stains or spills, people often choose a protector that has waterproof capabilities.
In the past, many waterproof products – including mattress protectors- were made with vinyl. Vinyl is a synthetic resin- or type of plastic. The biggest health warnings are centered around a hazardous type of vinyl called Polyvinyl chloride or (PVC). PVC can release toxins into the air and have been linked to serious health issues like cancer and birth defects, among other other serious chronic diseases.
As a result, many mattress protector brands have chosen to make their products vinyl-free. There is a good selection of vinyl-free waterproof mattress protectors on the market today that are made with thermoplastic polyurethane film (TPU) instead of vinyl. While the toxicity of polyurethane foam in memory foam products is a hot topic, many agree that TPU is a safer waterproof alternative for mattress protectors than vinyl.