Replace Your Pillow
“If your bed pillows are yellow, lumpy, or flattened out, it’s time to replace them,” says Michelle Fishberg co-founder and CEO of Slumbr. (Here's more on what you need to know about changing your pillows.) Without proper care, pillows can accumulate dirt, oil, dust mites, bacteria, mold, and even fungi. Yeeesh. We don’t need another reason to be face to face with illness this fall. When on the hunt for your next pillow, make sure it provides neutral support, meaning your head, neck, and spine remain in alignment, that it can be easily washed or cleaned, and that it’s hypoallergenic or all natural, says Fishberg. “We’ve all had experiences sleeping on various pillows we’ve bought or ones in friends’ homes and hotels. Think about what you did or didn’t like about those pillows,” she advises. With the proper care, a quality pillow with a natural fill material, like down, buckwheat, or natural latex, can last you years, even a decade. So recycle that old lump by donating to a local charity, composting natural fills, or turning it into a pet cushion, and invest in dozing off.
Change Your Bed Sheets
We know the story all to well. Conventionally processed cotton, which makes up 30-40% of the market, is genetically modified and sprayed with pesticides to yield a higher harvest, explains Danielle Dorn, Creative Director of the organic textile company Under the Canopy. “In production, the treatment of the cotton incorporates toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, chlorines, and known endocrine-disruptors,” she says. These toxins run into water systems, expose village and factory workers, and end up in our sheets, which we cozy up with every night. (Here are 10 other mistakes you might be making every time you go to bed.)
A better alternative would be buying organic cotton sheets, as they do not have GMOs, pesticides, or chemicals. And always opt out of the ‘wrinkle-free’ option, as they are chemically processed. Here are some of the best organic sheets you can buy. Dorn recommends paying more attention to the fiber than the thread count of your next set. “Organic fibers are generally shorter in staple, giving it lower thread count, but the fiber is far superior, making a higher quality, longer lasting sheet,” she explains. If you sleep cool at night, look for a sateen weave. Warmer? Check out a Percale sheet. And give them a good wash every 1-2 weeks.
Clean Up Your Cleaning Products
Before you start any of the below projects, consider what you’re using to do so. Does it contain chemicals? Smell harsh? It’s inevitable: we’ll be spending considerably more time indoors, and this increase affects how our indoor ecosystem works. “Our bodies foster a microbiome to live indoors, which supports our mood, biology, and physiology,” says Aunt Fannie’s CEO, Mat Franken. Chemicals challenge that supportive environment by killing off healthy bugs and, more obviously, harming our endocrine system. Look for cleaning products that are food-based and free from perchloroethylene (PERC), fragrance or perfume, Triclosan, Quarternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS), and Chlorine. For a deeper look into detoxing your cleaning supplies, check out Super Natural Homes.
Make Your Own Natural Ones Instead
If you’re the DIY type, you may fall in love with making your own cleaning products from essential oils. “Peppermint is cool, invigorating, and antibacterial, making it the perfect air freshener,” says Rupinder Mangat, CEO of luxury essential oils brand MEVEI. In a spray bottle, mix 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil with one cup of water. Shake well and spray. (Here are 8 more natural cleaning products you can DIY.) “It’s a surprisingly effective deterrent for ants and spiders as well,” she offers. Lavender is a beautiful antibacterial that pairs well with vinegar. Just add 4-5 drops for scent and a cleaning oomph. Eucalyptus is a powerful germicide and dust mite buster, so a few drops with baking soda makes an all-natural mattress cleanser. “Is there anything tea tree oil can’t do?,” kids Mangat. From fighting germs, bacteria, and viruses, this is must in your home-cleaning arsenal.