Your bedroom is your haven: a place to relax and release stress after a long day. But are there any toxins lurking in your sleep space that could be making you ill?
Each item you bring into your bedroom, whether it be the mattress you sleep on or the paint on the walls, could also bring in harmful air pollutants. Not only are these toxins unhealthy for you, but they are also dangerous for the environment. This guide will help you easily transition to a toxin-free, eco-friendly sleep space.
We spend about a third of our lives in bed. So, the surface we rest on plays a significant role in our health and well-being. If you are sleeping on a surface full of chemicals, it could contribute to serious health complications over time. Additionally, a broken down mattress with signs of sagging or indentations could be causing those aches and pains you experience upon waking. A bed that is supportive and non-toxic will provide a peaceful respite for you at the end of the day.
Memory foam and hybrid mattresses with a foam comfort layer can provide pressure-free support to relieve pain. Foam contours to the body and gives you a truly weightless feeling. But not all foams are created equally. Cheaper mattresses will use poly-foam (polyurethane foam), which is made with 100 percent petroleum-based oils. Petroleum-based products often give off VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions when brought into your home. This issue is called “off-gassing” and happens when polyurethane foams that contain toluene, benzene, and formaldehyde release gasses stored in the mattress.
To avoid bringing toxic VOCs into your bedroom, you can opt for a plant-based foam mattress. Plant-based foam manufacturers remove a portion of the petroleum in the bed and replace it with plant-based oils. This process creates a cleaner, safer bed that is also more breathable.
In addition to plant-based foams, you can also look for mattresses with a low VOC rating. Certifications from CertiPUR-US and GreenGuard Gold indicate that a bed has gone through third-party testing and is low in VOC emissions.
Flame Retardants can also contribute to VOCs. Chemical flame retardants such as PBDEs, TBBPA, HBCD, and PBBs can cause lung irritation, as well as liver and thyroid complications. As you shop, look for a mattress that uses a natural flame retardant such as silica or kevlar fibres.
To avoid bringing toxic pesticides into your bedroom, look for organic sheets and bedding. A GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification will guarantee these materials were not grown with the use of pesticides. You can also opt for natural, sustainable fabrics such as cotton, linen, and Tencel. Bamboo sheets are another good choice as they can be made using a mechanical rather than chemical process.
Paint made with toxic chemicals can also cause air pollution when brought indoors. The fumes from traditional paint can cause headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Before you paint your bedroom, look for toxin-free brands with low VOC certifications. Many brands are creating high-quality, eco-friendly paint made with natural pigments, soy, milk casein, bamboo cellulose, and food emulsifiers.
Natural Bed Frame
Bed frames and furniture made with plywood, pressboard, particleboard, or synthetic plastics can have the same chemical off-gassing issue as some mattresses and paints. Furniture manufacturers often use industrial glues containing formaldehyde to construct their pieces.
As you shop for a bed frame, look for one made of natural materials such as solid wood, bamboo, or rattan. If you are considering a wood frame, look for pieces certified by FSC (Forest Steward Council). This certification guarantees harvesting did not contribute to deforestation or disrupt the eco-system of the forest. Also, be sure the wood doesn’t contain toxic varnishes or stains. A low VOC certification from GreenGuard will also let you know if the piece has gone through testing.
Safe Laundry Detergent
To keep your bedding and clothes toxin-free, be sure to wash them with chemical-free and fragrance-free laundry soap. Traditional soaps contain fragrances that leave behind a harmful residue. This residue is then absorbed by the skin and can cause skin and eye irritation, plus disruptions to our endocrine system.
Plants can create a soothing, natural aesthetic in any space, plus they can help purify the air. Some plants absorb airborne toxins and release clean oxygen. Below is a list of common houseplants and the toxins they absorb.
- Spider Plant: Xylene and Formaldehyde
- English Ivy: Tricholorethylene, Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Xylene
- Boston Fern: Benzene and Xylene
- Chinese Evergreen: Formaldehyde and Xylene
- LilyTurf: Trichloroethylene, Ammonia, and Xylene
- Peace Lily: Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde, Benzene, Xylene, and Ammonia
Doing your best to remove the toxins in your bedroom will help you create a true sanctuary for sleep, and ultimately help you get better rest. Be sure to keep in mind the certifications mentioned here, this will ensure that you only bring home items safe for both you and the planet.
What’s your top tip for making your home toxin-free?