Your bedroom is a place that should offer you comfort, serenity, and a peaceful night’s sleep. It’s definitely not a place that you want littered with toxic chemicals and solvents. There are ways to keep your bedroom free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), toxic adhesives, and solvents often found in bed frames, mattresses, and furniture as well as synthetic products that could be triggering an allergic reaction or illness. It is best to keep toxins out of your bedroom and home altogether, but there are also ways to eliminate toxins that might remain. The items that can make the biggest difference include your mattress, bed frame, and bedding you sleep on each night, bedroom furniture, carpet or flooring, and the paint on your walls. Each of these items have a natural alternative that will help to keep the air you breathe clean and the life you live a lot healthier.
Many bed frames that are on the market are made out of particle board or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Both particle board and MDF are engineered woods that are comprised of wood chips, shavings or even sawdust. MDF is different than particle board in that it has a higher density, but both use hazardous adhesives and solvents to hold the wood matter together. These solvents are releasing VOCs into the air for a long time after being manufactured. Thus, it is very important that when searching for a bed frame or furniture that you seek products made from solid wood. If you are interested in being environmentally friendly as well, choose sustainably harvested materials such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified hardwoods. Another important component to a bed frame is the paint or varnish used on the wood. Paint and varnish can also release VOCs into the air until the varnish or paint is fully cured. Be sure to find a product with a low VOC finish or a product that uses natural oils or wax to protect the wood. By choosing a sustainable, healthy bed frame you will reduce the amount of toxins in the air and in your lungs.
One of the most chemically ridden items in a bedroom is often the mattress you sleep on every night. Most people spend approximately a third of their lifetime in bed, so it is important to sleep on an organic, natural mattress. Most conventional mattresses contain synthetic materials that are made with petroleum (such as polyurethane foam or visco memory foam). Aside from these foams releasing carcinogenic VOCs into the air that you would be breathing for 8 hours a day, they can also trigger allergies and even respiratory illness. We’ve heard many first hand reports from customers who previously slept on a memory foam mattress getting headaches and waking up with seasonal allergy symptoms. Petroleum based mattresses can also make you much warmer during the night causing some people to overheat. There are many different healthy mattress options to choose from including natural or organic innerspring, latex, and even some all wool futon mattress options. By sleeping on an organic mattress you will have a much cooler, sounder sleep than on a conventional mattress.
Choosing an organic mattress is a great decision, but make sure the bedding items you put on your mattress to cover it are also natural and organic. These items include mattress pads, sheets, pillows, blankets, and comforters. After purchasing a pristine organic mattress it is very important to protect it with an organic cotton mattress pad. An organic mattress pad can be machine washed and dried like sheets and can absorb perspiration and any dust or dirt that makes it through the sheets. Since cleaning a mattress is not a simple thing, an organic mattress pad is the perfect solution to keep your mattress in new condition.
Organic sheets are a good choice to place on top of your organic cotton mattress pad because no toxic dies or finishes will rub onto your skin while you are asleep. They are also very breathable and will help your body stay a comfortable temperature.
Each night when you go to sleep you rest your head on your pillow. Every breath you take is from the air surrounding your pillow. In addition to an organic mattress, natural pillows are an important purchase. There are many natural pillow option including wool, kapok, cotton and natural rubber. Each have slightly different qualities and there are enough options that you can definitely find a good fit to replace a conventional pillow you may be used to. Please refer to my blog Choosing the Perfect Organic Pillow.
There are also beautiful options for organic cotton blankets to keep you warm, but if you are looking for something heavier wool comforters will keep you very warm on cool winter nights. To protect your comforter you may want to use a machine washable organic duvet cover. Blankets and comforters made from natural cotton and wool, opposed to a polyester counterpart, will keep you warmer and drier. Wool will naturally absorb moisture throughout the night leaving you feeling dry and warm. Polyester tends to get damp when exposed to sweat and then cause you to get cold and clammy.
Now that you have a clean, non-toxic sleep surface it is important that you don’t forget about your floor and walls. Be sure to choose low or no VOC paint. Some popular brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams now offer low and no VOC paint. Also choose low or no-VOC for your carpet and flooring. If you choose to put carpet in your bedroom it is wise to choose a sustainably grown and harvested, natural option such as natural wool. Make sure the carpet you choose has no toxic dies, glues, or chemicals added whatsoever. Our favorite is Earthweave. If choosing a wood floor make sure you look for a solid wood, cork or bamboo that have no toxic adhesives and a low VOC finish, or a finish that has completely cured. Natural flooring can be quite expensive. If choosing natural flooring is not currently an option for you, there are ways to clean the air of harmful toxins that may be in your home.
After you have taken measures to clean up your bedroom from toxic chemicals or unnatural substances it is still important that you take measures to keep the air quality in tip top shape as the materials in the very structure of houses, cabinets, and doors may be emitting VOCs. Here are a few suggestions to clean the air. You can purchase an air purifier that has High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration. We prefer Austin Air. Always replace the filters as directed to ensure your product is working at its highest efficiency. You also want to make sure to keep your bedroom and home ventilated, by opening windows if possible, so that fresh outside air can circulate through your home.
After making a conscience choice to make your bedroom healthy also make sure you use natural cleaning products to go along with your new healthy bedroom and lifestyle.