3 ways to get a fresh and environmentally-friendly bedroom

Wouldn't you sleep better at night knowing that your bedroom is as green as it can be? Get a great night's sleep by preparing your bedroom with these tips.

3 ways to get a fresh and environmentally-friendly bedroom

1. Make an environmentally-friendly bed

Buying a second-hand wooden bed base makes economic and environmental sense.

  • Second-hand bases are usually cheaper than new ones, and older bases are often made of high-quality timbers that are no longer available.
  • If chemicals were used during production, any emissions will have fallen to a harmless level. Just make sure the bed isn't coated with lead-based paint.
  • Latex mattresses are natural, light, supportive and antibacterial, do not harbour dust mites, and can last up to 25 years.

2. Choose greener bedding

  • Choose sheets made of natural fibres derived from environmentally friendly sources.
  • Consider wool blankets instead of a duvet. Wool is particularly good at trapping heat, and using three or four blankets allows you to adjust the covering to suit the temperature.
  • Select pillows containing natural materials such as down, wool, cotton or latex.
  • Place a mattress cover made of natural fibres, such as wool or cotton, around or on top of your mattress. This will help absorb sweat, protect you from dust mites in the mattress and can make an old mattress more comfortable.

3. Air it all out

  • Keep furniture to a minimum so that you can dust and vacuum easily and regularly.
  • Choose furniture made with wood from a sustainable source. Check that varnishes and stains are low in toxicity and biodegradable.
  • Refresh the air in the bedroom by opening windows every day.
  • Pull back the covers every morning to air the sheets for a few hours. This will help evaporate perspiration and get rid of dust mites.
  • When you change the sheets, let the mattress air for a while. Vacuuming the mattress and spraying it with a solution of eucalyptus oil will minimize dust mites.
  • Hang your bedding in the sun for three hours to eliminate dust mites, mould and mildew.
  • If dust or dust mites continue to be a problem, remove carpets, heavy curtains, padded headboards and cushions. Consider storing clothes in another room.

How green is your bedding?

Cotton: Inexpensive, comfortable, lets air circulate, wears well. Conventional production uses large amounts of water as well as fertilizers, pesticides and bleaches. Requires large doses of chemicals to absorb dyes. Avoid dark cotton sheets – the darker the colour, the more chemicals are used to fix the dye.

Duck and goose down: Natural, soft, light. Effective heat and moisture regulator. Usually a by-product of breeding ducks for food. Moderately expensive.

Hemp: Strong, breathes well, naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Production requires relatively little water and few or no pesticides. Absorbs dyes easily without chemical additives. Not yet widely available; moderately expensive.

Organic cotton: Same qualities as conventional cotton, but produced without chemicals and dyes. End product is therefore safer, but more expensive.

Polyester: Inexpensive, easy to maintain, but doesn't breathe well. Derived from non-renewable petroleum; production yields toxic waste. Can contain volatile organic compounds.

Wool: Renewable, plentiful. Effective heat and moisture regulator, naturally flame retardant. May contain pesticide residues, and dyed and treated wool may contain chemicals. Moderately expensive.

A good night's sleep starts with clean and comfortable bedding. Think about the choices you're making to be sure your bedroom is as green as you want it to be.

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