Your bedroom should be an oasis in which you retreat from the world in peace, comfort, and tranquility. It should not be a space in which toxic fumes, harmful chemicals, and health-destroying microbes bombard your body. To keep your bedroom a safe haven, you can invest in an air purifier, bring in some plants, and keep up with vacuuming and dusting. Furthermore, you may want to inspect your sleeping space and remove any of the following items that may be damaging to your health.
12. Air Fresheners
You may enjoy the scent of lilac, apples and cinnamon, or an ocean breeze over the odor of dirty socks and sweat. However, using an air freshener does more than cover up annoying odors. Air fresheners can deliver toxic chemicals into the air you breathe. According to Science Direct, air fresheners emit chemicals that include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene. They also emit semi-volatile compounds such as phthalates. Unfortunately, even products that claim to be all-natural can contain these ingredients. An air purifier may be a better choice than an air freshener.
The carpeting that feels so soft and warm to your toes on a cold winter morning may be harboring dust, dirt, and germs. Despite frequent vacuuming, the fibers in your carpeting can trap illness-causing dust and contribute to respiratory problems. Furthermore, the carpeting, carpet pad, glue, and chemicals used to treat them can contribute to headaches, breathing problems, and fatigue. If you desire wall-to-wall carpeting, seek out products made from natural fibers. Avoid wearing shoes in your bedroom and vacuum frequently using an appliance with a HEPA filter. Alternatives to carpeting include hardwood floors with washable rugs.
10. Dust-Laden Pillows
It is easy to overlook your pillows when performing your cleaning chores. Unfortunately, dust and germs may inhabit the pillow that cradles your head each night. Spending the night sleeping on a dusty, dirty pillow doesn’t make for a healthful night of slumber. Martha Stewart advises using zippered pillow protectors to keep dirt, oil, dust, and allergens out of your pillows. Wash and dry your pillows twice a year to keep them clean and hygienic. Depending on the quality of your pillows, you may need to replace them every two years. High-quality pillows may last as long as 10 to 15 years.
9. Formaldehyde-Infused Furniture
Cheap furniture may be held together with formaldehyde-containing glue. The Agency for Toxic Substances warns that furniture made from particleboard, fiberboard, and plywood may contain formaldehyde as well. Furthermore, some of the paints that manufactures use on wooden furniture may contain this volatile compound. To decrease your exposure to formaldehyde, choose furniture made without urea-formaldehyde glues. Look for labels that state a product contains no VOCs or is low in VOCs. If you have purchased a product with a strong odor, allow it to sit outside to air out and release fumes before placing it in your bedroom.
8. Furniture Treated with Flame Retardants
While it is important to protect yourself against fire while sleeping, furniture treated with flame retardants can give off noxious fumes. The National Institutes of Health warns that flame retardants may be linked to thyroid problems, reproductive issues, cancer, and learning disorders. Flame retardants contain compounds such as bromine, chlorine, phosphorus, nitrogen, and boron. Children are particularly susceptible to the damaging effects of these chemicals. Check the labels before purchasing upholstered furniture and avoid products that contain flame retardants. Keep upholstered furniture treated with flame retardants out of your bedrooms.
7. Household Cleaning Products
Cleanliness may be next to godliness. However, the American Lung Association warns that the chemicals in many household cleaning products may be hurting your health. Many commercial cleaning products contain VOCs or other noxious substances such as ammonia or bleach. There are safe alternatives to harsh chemical cleaning products. You can clean the mirror over your dresser with a solution of vinegar and water. Freshen your carpet by sprinkling it with baking soda before vacuuming. Use a paste of baking soda and water to scrub away stains. Skip the furniture polish and use a microfiber cloth to dust your bedroom furniture.
6. Laundry Products
The chemicals in laundry products can remain in your clothing, bed linens, and towels. Laundry detergents may contain bleach, phthalates, formaldehyde, and ammonium sulfate. If you are sensitive to chemicals and fragrances in laundry detergents, seek out products with fewer chemical ingredients. Seventh Generation makes a laundry detergent from plant-based ingredients. This lavender-scented product has no dyes, optical brighteners, or synthetic fragrances.
Do people still use mothballs? In the past, mothballs were used to keep pesky insects from damaging clothing. Unfortunately, the strong odor of mothballs could take over the house. Furthermore, it clung to clothing beyond the confines of the closet. Naphthalene is the active component of mothballs. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, naphthalene may cause kidney damage, liver damage, hemolytic anemia, and cancer. If moths are a problem in your area, you can try natural alternatives to repelling these pests. Cedar chips, lavender sachets, and cinnamon sticks are natural items that may help to repel pesky insects.
4. Paint Fumes
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to brighten up your bedroom. Be sure to keep windows and doors open while painting in order to allow proper ventilation. Purchase paints that are free from VOCs when painting the interior of your home. Furthermore, avoid sleeping in a freshly painted bedroom. Wait until the fumes have dissipated before hanging out or settling in for a snooze.
3. Polyurethane Foam Mattresses and Pillows
Memory foam mattresses and pillows can be super comfy. However, these products are composed of polyurethane foam, which can give off VOCs. Furthermore, the flame retardants in these mattresses and pillows can emit VOCs. When shopping for a new mattress, Consumer Reports offers advice on choosing between memory foam, traditional innerspring, and adjustable air mattresses.
2. Scented Candles
If you choose scented candles to create an atmosphere of relaxation in your bedroom, you may be infusing the air with VOCs. Breathing in these chemical fumes can cause headaches, coughing, wheezing, and fatigue. Meanwhile, beeswax candles may help purify the air without giving off the smoke and fumes that can irritate your lungs and cause headaches.
1. Blue-Light Emitting Electronics
Your bedroom should be a place of rest, relaxation, and slumber. Therefore, you will want to reduce the adverse effects of blue-light emitting electronics on your sleep cycle. According to Harvard Medical School, the blue light given off by computer screens and cell phones can interrupt your natural circadian rhythms. Blue light can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone critical for controlling your sleep-wake cycle. Refrain from spending time on bright screens within two hours of heading to bed. You can also purchase blue-light filtering lenses or screen protectors.