column by Cheryl Hahn – Virginian Pilot, June 13, 2009
Want a Cleaner Bedroom? Make it Naked.
Industrial chemicals are everywhere… in our business workplace, shopping centers, park benches, and especially in our homes. In fact, indoor air pollution is now rated worse than outdoors. Since the 1950’s our dependency on producing almost everything we use is created with man-made synthetic materials from chemicals: appliances, electronics, home decor, plastics, paints, cleaners, clothing, and more than likely… even the pillow under your head.
It’s almost impossible to escape this chemical soup, unless you live in a bubble, which isn’t very realistic. So how can you reduce your exposure to industrial chemical overload? The easiest place to start is also the one area of your home which makes the most sense: your bedroom. Strip it down and make it naked.
For window treatments choose natural fiber curtains, shades, wood blinds or shutters and stay away from heavy draperies which are usually treated with chemicals and also harbor dust mites. New carpet and adhesives can outgas a vast array of toxic chemicals. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission the most frequently-reported symptoms were watery eyes, runny nose, burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, rashes, and fatigue. If possible, strip your floors down to their natural bare beauty and use area rugs made from untreated wool.
Introduce a few plants to naturally filter the air in your bedroom. Plants add beauty, produce oxygen and absorb chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde. Good choices are English Ivy and Spider Plant; both species are hardy, easy to care for and rated the best for air filtration. When painting your walls, many brands now offer low-emission alternatives that are safer for indoor air.
Select furniture crafted from real solid wood; avoid pressboard and plywood which contain chemicals and offer low-quality durability. Your mattress and bedding should be made from natural and organic materials which breathe to help keep your sleep system dry and clean. Avoid synthetic fabrics and foams made from petroleum-based elements which outgas chemicals and also have a tendency to harbor heat and moisture which is conducive for dust mites.
Every night you retreat to your bedroom to shut down and restore your mind and body for the day ahead. You’re most vulnerable to the elements during sleep, so it makes sense to have an environment that is clean, pure and natural. Eliminating or reducing toxins in your bedroom can start you on your way to creating a nighttime healing space to escape the everyday exposure to industrial chemicals. This is your sanctuary. Breathe deep, breathe easy and sleep well.