Hi, I’m Candice and I’m delighted to be a guest contributor for The Well Blog! Over the next few weeks, I’ll take you into five keys areas of your home (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living and laundry room) and provide you with tips and tricks to transform your home into a thoughtful place, one that not only takes care of the people inside, but the world around it too. Oh, and we’ll save some money along the way as well!
The transition to a more eco-friendly lifestyle can be daunting, but I don’t want it to be for you. You’ve got to start small and do what you can. All good things take time, right? If I have learned anything over the last 20 years it’s that patience is key, trial and error is important and being aware of our impact make travelling the green mile an easier one.
I hope you will take a moment to check out my blog, The Eco Hub, you’ll find DIY recipes for the home and the skin.
So let’s get started on your resolution to make 2017 the year that you go green!
In my experience, the bedroom often gets overlooked but is probably one of the most important areas in your home to make the green transition. Since we spend about a third of our lives in bed, getting a good night’s sleep is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
I could write a book on eco pillows – seriously – there is so much to consider. First off, almost all the pillows in your home are most likely made from synthetic materials that give off gases when you sleep. Yep, you heard that right! Off-gassing refers to the Volatile Organic Compounds found in a lot of bedding and furniture we use in the home and nooooo one wants to sleep on that, right? These little airborne particles float around and cause asthma and allergies and in some extreme cases, cancer. It’s pretty scary stuff, but there’s lots you can do to prevent this from happening.
Get used reading labels when you shop for anything! And when choosing pillows, try to opt for natural fibers instead of synthesis ones. This handy guide will help:
Buckwheat pillows are environmentally friendly, hypoallergenic and won’t attract dust mites. I always prefer to support “made in Canada” small business.
Organic wool are environmentally friendly, resistant to dust mites and grown without harmful pesticides. Make sure if they are claiming to be organic they have a third party certification to prove it.
Organic cotton pillows: Cotton is the MOST pesticide laden crop on the planet. It has an enormous impact on the environment and the health of the people who work on cotton fields. If you are buying organic cotton, again make sure there is a third party certification and that the factories that are producing the products are not using formaldehyde in the process of wrinkle-proofing fabrics.
Natural Rubber is biodegradable, renewable, antibacterial, hypoallergenic and dust mite repellent. Make sure no herbicides are used in the rubber tree operation.
Down. Like fur, this is a contentious and controversial material. I’ll just say that a lot of down and feathers used to make everything from jackets to pillows come from live birds and to make matter worse, some of the feathers are sterilized with formaldehyde. There are groups like the Down Association of Canada that randomly tests down products for quality, cleanliness and labeling. For me though, if you want to have a mindful home, pick one of the options mentions above.
The Big Guy
A good mattress is a BIG investment. But for me, it’s the most important green investment you can make. Remember those VOCs I referred to? A synthetic mattress will have you breathing in a toxic concoction of nasties:
Like pillows, always opt for natural fibers like wool, hemp, organic cotton or natural latex and rubber. And always opt out of mattresses that are treated with stain-guard and fire resistant chemicals, known as PBDEs. Good news, these are not produced in Canada but may be lurking in imported consumer items.
If you are worried about your bed catching fire, then go with wool. It’s a natural fire retardant and also repels dust mites. There are a ton of certifications for mattress too, for this head over to this post on my blog for a more in-depth guide.
Between the sheets
I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but natural fibers are always better and the same tips apply for the fabrics.
Plant good seeds
In the 80’s NASA discovered that house plants can absorb harmful toxins from the air and since indoor air pollution can be five times higher than outdoor air pollution (those dreaded VOCs again) they are an excellent addition to the home. Plants can also increase mood and productivity, enhance concentration and memory, reduce stress and fatigue. If you have pets, make sure the plant is safe for them too.
Say NO to fragrance
I know you want your abode to smell beautiful, but at what cost? Conventional candles and air-fresheners contain phthalates, allergens and wait for it…VOCs. A diffuser is a much healthier alternative and this one is one of my faves. I don’t like to recommend placing candles in the bedroom. An air purifier work well and for the furnace, always use a HEPA filter.
Don’t use harmful chemicals cleaning agents to clean any room in your home. Take a peek at my Smart Swaps Series for more tips. Ecover and Biovert are two of my top picks and a good addition to any home.
A few additional tips:
- For paint always go with low or no VOCs.
- Pick formaldehyde free furnishings
- Try upcyled or vintage bed frames
- Banish carpets
- Get rid of the clutter
- Keep tech out for a restful sleep
Do you have any tips for going green in the bedroom? I’d love to read them so share in the comments!