Archive | Toxic Bed Information

Norwex Mattress Cleaner

A few months ago I purchased the Norwex Mattress Cleaner. I first learned about this dust mite ‘warrior’ a few years ago from attending a Norwex party and who wouldn’t like the sound of a product that feeds off dust mites? With the recent articles on toxic beds, I thought it would be great timing to introduce those concerned about dust mites to this spray.

What have I learned about dust mites?  For my family, they have the potential to cause health problems because I have 1 child with eczema and another recently diagnosed with asthma. If you allow dust mites to accumulate, members of your family might have a sensitivity or allergic reaction (cold symptoms or asthma symptoms) to the feces that collect from the mites.  Even organic mattresses, duvets and bedding can accumulate dust mites – they can attach themselves to all fibres, although a wool environment isn’t as conducive for them.  Actually, it’s pretty interesting if you ask around about dust mites, many people have heard very creepy stats about what percentage your pillows or mattress weigh soley from the fecal matter left from the mites. One of those things if you over think ~ you’ll go a little nutty.  Well for people that can’t afford to replace bedding, pillows, mattresses with new or organic – here is an aid to help fight the war on dust mites ~ Norwex Mattress Cleaner.

This mattress cleaner is environmentally friendly and contains a unique enzyme that eliminates and removes all organic waste found inside a mattress (or pillow, duvets, etc.).  What does this mean? The enzyme in this spray will feed on dust mites, feces, pet dander, organic matter and dead skin cells until they are gone.  When there isn’t anything left to feed on, they disintegrate into carbon dioxide and water.

My question to Sandra who has sold Norwex products for years, is how do you know it’s worked?  It isn’t a product where you can visually see the results. I did use the product on my mattresses and pillows a few months ago and I did notice I was breathing better, but that is the tough sell for greener cleaning products because ‘natural’ solutions are harder to see for proven results until they are used over a longer course of time.

The mattress spray is safe for children and pets, but I’d really hold off from using on crib mattresses or crib bedding. If you over-spray the product (directions are included regarding how many squirts per pillow or different sized mattresses), an allergy-sensitive person may react. A regular regiment for the mattress spray is every 3 months for a home with allergies and asthma or 5 months for a home without these problems. Other places this spray can help is with favourite stuffed animals, duvet covers, pet beds, RVs, carpet, and pillows. For $35.99, this mattress spray is a great price to purchase some peace of mind with getting rid of unwanted dust mites in your bed.

I did ask Sandra if the mattress spray would attack mold within a mattress, but the answer was no.  Good news with the spray is there is no vacuuming involved – simply squirt it on the mattress and let it dry. Vacuuming your mattresses with a traditional vacuum can make dust mites worse because you bring them to the mattress surface and depending on your vacuum, might make them air born. Convenient and very easy to apply – a great idea for people that are concerned about sleeping on hotel mattresses or hospital…pack your spray, use on the mattress and bedding, leave to dry and rest easier.

Related Articles:

Is Your Child’s Bed or Crib Toxic?

Tips To Immediately Reduce Toxins Your Bedroom

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Tips To Immediately Reduce Toxins Your Bedroom

In researching ways to remove toxins from your bedding, mattresses, and bedrooms, I received tips from the co-founder at Sleepy Sheep and  Saplings that I wanted to share. These tips are things you can do immediately that will ease your anxiety level with dust mites, bacteria, mold, and chemicals. I appreciate that these two solid business owners would pass along product knowledge and freebies that can improve the health of our homes. Here are some tips you can implement tomorrow from the experts!

Chelsea from Sleepy Sheep told me that sunlight is a natural virus killer. To immediately de-tox your bed, pull your duvet down and expose pillows and sheets to sun light.  Open your curtains in your bedroom during the day as this allows moisture to evaporate from your mattress and allows sunlight into your bedroom, which helps prevent mold and fungus from growing.

Wash your pillows monthly to keep dust mites and other allergens at bay. A clean pillow improves your sleep by helping you breath properly while you sleep.

When taking your bedding (or clothes for that matter) to the dry cleaner, try to find a cleaner that markets themselves as green. Why? Many dry cleaners will use a chemical cocktail to finish your items called sizing. Ask that this step not be used to finish your bedding so that sizing or Teflon agents aren’t being added to your ‘cleaned’ bedding.

Chris from Saplings Sustainable Kids Decor offered some great tips for removing common toxins from your bedroom starting with wall decals. These popular wall stickers are the hot decorating choice with parents because of their convenience and versatility, but most on the market are made from PVC (poison plastic that off-gasses chemicals). Look for decals that are stamped vinyl-free or PVC-free and are made from polypropylene or fabric.

One of the easiest ways to improve the air quality in your child’s bedroom is to use VOC free paint. Chris recommends the new Natura line from Benjamin Moore and Yolo Colorhouse in rooms they have done….both brands have great quality and are a safer paint choice.

Smell your room! Basically, your sense of smell is one of the best things you can rely on when safeguarding your room. If you are using anything that has a strong smell, be it your paint, bedding, decor ~ be cautious. Anything you put in your child’s room should be odour free straight out of the package (** great tip **)!

The last tip from Chris can be read in it’s entirety from this article and the great thing about it is you probably have most of the ingredients at home! A recipe to decrease chemical residues and smells from dyeing process and use of conventional scented detergents &/or fabric softeners:

Wash several times or soak overnight in a tub of water with one of the following:

1/2 cup of vinegar
1/2 – 1 cup of pickling salt (don’t use in an enameled tub as it will cause it to rust)
1/4 – 1 cup of baking soda (will have to rewash several times to remove residue).

For any and all organic bedding & decor requirements, the owners at Saplings are ready to answer your questions. They’ve done the research and put together their site to keep the confusing nature of shopping for organic bedding simplified.  Two of my favorite rooms from their site are below.

George Room to Grow


Pink Inspiration In Full Bloom

Looking for more information on PVC? Check out the category on Mommy Footprint called PVC Info. Discover why this plastic doesn’t belong in your bedroom or anywhere near children.

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Is Your Child’s Bed or Crib Toxic?

A disturbing subject and confusing topic for parents is the toxic sleep environment their children’s mattress or pillows might be creating. I’ve avoided writing this article for many months because I wanted to properly research and frankly, my head couldn’t take any more surprises. I regret procrastinating for so long because once you read this article, you’ll want to make changes.  After spending hours talking with Chelsea, the co-founder of Sleepy Sheep, I have valuable information that can help you determine, rectify, and shop for healthy alternatives if you want your beds to become a truly healthy place where your children, babies, and family can get a restful sleep.

If you are purchasing duvets, mattresses, pillows or simply checking labels on current products in your home, 3 main categories need to be looked at – especially with researching mattresses and pillows! Questions to ask include what materials are used in the production of the ‘outside’ of the product, ‘inside’ of the product and ‘treatment’ of the product – and I don’t mean asking it how they are feeling… <grin>  I mean if the product has been chemically treated.

Outside:

The slippery coating on the outside of a crib mattress could be PVC, otherwise known as vinyl. This coating will off-gas because phthalates and plasticizers have been added to the PVC to make it bendy.  Phthalates are problematic within your baby or child’s bed because they are toxic to human health, can cause reproductive complications (developmentally in boys and fertility in both genders), and cause life-long allergies or asthma problems that begin as babies.

Inside:

What is your mattress, duvet, or pillows filled with? A popular material inside all mattresses, including crib mattresses is polyurethane foam.  Don’t let another long ‘p’ word from the plastics world confuse you. Just think of polyurethane foam as plastic, made with petroleum that is highly flammable. I was having a hard time picturing this material and then I knew how to explain it to parents.  Most or you have received or purchased a Disney licensed foam chair or fold out couch. We’ve had a Pooh Bear chair for years and once had a Sesame Street foldout couch. The foam chairs are fuzzy on the outside, and then you notice the breakdown of yellow chunks coming out the bottom as the foam breaks down… this is polyurethane foam and it’s really disgusting. Not only highly flammable, polyurethane foam off gasses VOCs (volatile organic compounds), especially toluene, formaldehyde which are toxic chemicals found in stinky nail polish.  And with the flammability issue being a problem with fire regulations and the government – question number 3 comes along about what the filling is treated with.

Treatment:

Now that we’ve determined that the filling is flammable, what is it treated with? Besides the chemicals that are already in the filler (polyester, polyurethane foam, etc.) it is now also treated with flame retardants. We are protecting our children from a flammability issue by adding very toxic chemicals to our bed. Our mattresses and pillows are off-gassing us while we sleep. Exposure to flame retardants are so toxic they are a known cause of cancer – just Google brominated flame retardants and ask yourself if these chemicals should be anywhere near a child – especially a baby.  I was shocked to find out from Chelsea that wool is naturally flame retardant and therefore is not subject to chemical flame retardant treatments when it’s used to create mattresses, etc.

I know, I’ve stressed out every parent reading this. If it makes you feel better, I flipped over the queen mattress my younger son has slept on for the last 4 years and everything I’ve just written about was confirmed with reading the mattress tag…polyurethane foam as the only material listed. I also rounded up pillows until I found one with the tag still on it and saw 100% polyester. My nemesis of late – polyester!  Meaning we’ve all had our heads on plastic that has flame retardants in my house!  So trust me that I feel your pain and have equally stressed myself as well.

But all is not doom and gloom since I had several light-bulb moments while talking with Sleepy Sheep’s co-founder yesterday.  Chelsea gave me two very easy and low-cost steps you can make right away that will assist every bed in your home to become a healthier place….without having to budget for a wool mattress (not yet anyway).

Did you know that wool is naturally anti-bacterial, naturally flame resistant (!!), naturally breathable, and a natural allergen prohibitor because it’s a bad host to irritants such as dust mites?  Wool is the superior material used in organic or natural bedding, mattresses, and pillows because of these wonderfully natural properties. I find it so hard to believe that chemical flame retardants could be eliminated in our beds if they simply contained wool, rather than synthetic materials. I loved learning that if Chelsea could recommend one change for a family to improve the ‘health’ of their bed it would be to replace your pillows with wool batting interior. And really, that makes a lot of sense. Think of the hours you spend with your nose and mouth inhaling the material of whatever your pillow is made from. Most pillows are made with polyester fill (plastic) which is not healthy and Sleepy Sheep sells pillows made with wool balls called knops. These are little balls of wool and you can choose your level of fullness and voila ~ you’ve made a very inexpensive change to creating a healthier sleep environment.

Another great insight from Chelsea was that their number one selling product are organic mattress toppers for crib mattresses and adult size mattresses. That tells me that people at some level know how disgusting the inside of a mattress is and want a barrier between their bodies and a traditional mattress.  Check out this awesome tidbit from Chelsea – organic mattress toppers allow airflow around your body and because the interior of the topper contains wool, it’s fibers wick away a person’s sweat, and this moisture actually absorbs toxins that are off-gassing from a traditional mattress and causes the toxins to evaporate. I thought this was cool! The seal between your body and the traditional mattress is not 100% of course, but this alternative is obviously better than continuing to sleep on a mattress that is toxic to your heath. These toppers are a great alternative for parents just not ready to commit to the financial investment of an organic mattress.

When talking about a crib or child’s mattress, I really believe there is no financial compromise with their health. When new parents are spending $500 easily on strollers, I don’t think $250 is expensive for a healthy crib mattress where your baby will spend most of it’s time. Especially for a first baby – I think an organic mattress needs to be at the top of the list for people having baby showers. What better gift for a baby than the gift of health and a truly restful place to sleep.

I have more information that I will save for Part II and III of this series of toxic beds. There is a lot to learn and I encourage you to post comments to this article and share what you discovered once you started reading mattress, pillow, and duvet tags.  Let’s try to get through the information together.

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