Is your home space working for you and how about your mattress?
When moving into my Brisbane apartment last November I was keen to set up my new home, a sanctuary, and brought my fave French pieces from Sydney.
Here I am six months later and I am reviewing my space – it just isn’t me anymore and what I want for my future. Having just had a meaningful overseas trip and a significant birthday might have added to this… a shift, a refocusing, repurposing of my environment. Part of this process is letting go of my beautiful things that represent my past family life, which is not an easy process, but the best is yet to come!
I am eager to generate/establish a creative environment, productive, exciting, individual to what switches me on for my purpose. I had signs of this change earlier this year when I felt prompted to wave goodbye to my TV! Ahhhh my distraction device, escape vehicle, exit strategy is now gone. I am not advocating television is bad but it should be serving you not you it, it certainly has it’s place and purpose.
Gumtree has been my bestie this week, helping me let go of the treasures from my past and encouraging me with prospects of the new.
Sleepless jetlagged nights have been absorbed in hours and hours and hours cruising ideas on the web – what did we ever do before the internet, my gosh!
The first principle in my ‘Detox Your Home in 7 Days’ is reVIEW – page 25:
Look and see, focus:
- Take some time to ensure the area reflects what you want. Focus on what is important to you in the room.
- Do you need to declutter, minimise, discard?
- How do you use this space?
- What do you love?
- What do you dislike/find unsettling?
- What is your intent for this room?
Is it time for you to have a fresh look at your environment, the rooms in your home. Do they express you now, do they speak of the purposes you have for the spaces in your home?
My new bed was delivered yesterday as was my new mattress. I did some painstaking research on buying a mattress which was not going to be full of chemicals and thought I did okay BUT this morning woke early amidst the toxic fumes of chemicals – VOCs (volatile organic compounds). I might as well have ordered the bottle of wine at dinner last night instead of a wee glass! My head feels like a brick and my chest is super scratchy. So the adventure today is getting rid of the very toxic chemical smells in my mattress.
Today I am using bicarbonate of soda to help eliminate unpleasant smells.
I have dusted (liberally) bi-carb over the mattress, rubbed it in and will leave it for a few hours. It will then need vacuuming, a turn of the mattress and a repeat of the entire surface. If any nasty odours remain, I will repeat the process tomorrow. I’m off to purchase a full organic cotton mattress protector today, one that wraps around the mattress.
Tonight I will place bowls of bicarb under the bed to continue the odour absorption process. Windows are open and fresh air is flowing.
There are other methods to investigate, see below, and the last resort is the purchase of a new, chemical free mattress – available but more expensive. Something to write about in another newsfeed.
Some things I found out:
- Imported mattresses are fumigated upon entry to Australia
- Just like new cars, mattresses emit VOCs which are at their most intense when first opening the packaging. These do recede after a few days but are still present long term in low doses. The question is ‘Will they cause harm?’ I would not knowingly expose children to these toxic fumes even in such low doses.
- Foam used in the interior packing of a mattress is gassed and the fumes are an out-gassing of the materials.
Memory Foam – a not so green mattress option.
“Many of the bedding foams used in both memory foam and inner spring beds are imported from China and are very cheap and can be quite nasty. All foams “off gas” which is a release of chemicals into the air that normally dissipate in a few days (i.e. New Car Smell) but in small quantities can off gas for years. Therefore if foams are made with chemicals such as Methylene Chloride and Formaldehyde this is what you breathe in. Most inexpensive Chinese imported foam is made with these nasty chemical ingredients which are banned in the manufacture of foam in most Western countries. This foam however can end up in many “Australian Made” inner spring mattresses.”
Toxic flame retardants are now mandatory in the US – you need a Dr’s prescription to purchase a fire retardant-free mattress. One website I reported that flame retardants have been found in the umbilical cord.
Toxic glues (some containing formaldyhyde) are used in the manufacture process
Latex mattresses – basically, there are 2 main types of latex: natural latex derived from the rubber tree and synthetic latex made similar to other foams with petrochemicals’. Natural latex can also be processed with either the Dunlop (more natural) or Talalay method (involves more chemicals).
The big benefit of natural latex is that it does not “off gas”. Synthetic latex and all other bedding foams do.
- Ventilate – take the plastic wrap off right away and air the mattress in a room with open windows and plenty of fresh air.
- Releasing the Gasses – put on a pair of clean socks and walk all over that mattress, jumping is also encouraged to release the fumes – this sounds like fun for all! Keep those windows open. The idea is to release the gasses and allow for fresh air to be drawn back into the foam.
- No Sun – a new mattress should not be put in the sun at risk of the chemicals becoming more volatile.
- Plants plants plants. Bring in all your plants and more into the room where the mattress is as plants purify the air (NASA uses them in space shuttles).
- Purchase an organic mattress protector that wraps the sides. Use this after an effective fumigation process.
- Fumigate with an odour-absorbing non toxic substance:
Bicarbonate of soda – dust liberally, rub in, leave for a few hours, vacuum. Repeat as necessary on both side of the mattress.
Activated charcoal – charcoal has incredible absorption capabilities. Each particle of charcoal contains millions of tiny air spaces allowing it to absorb many times it’s own weight of chemicals, toxins and poisons. Somehow, these millions of air spaces have an electrostatic drawing effect on poisons and toxins. Use the charcoal in bowls strategically placed or if you can find sachets put these directly under the mattress.
White vinegar – Mix a solution of white vinegar and warm water in equal parts and pour into 3-5 bowls. Place these bowls around and under the bed keeping them in place for 3-5 days. This solution works to slowly neutralise the chemical odour as the vinegar evaporates.
- Buy a chemical free mattress made of natural materials from a reputable company in your home country.
Even though written in 2008 I recommend reading this US article: