Plastic Blinds – When the sun hits plastic blinds and heats them up, they begin to release gasses. Of course you want your child’s room to be filled with healthy, clean air! You can opt for the less-expensive metal blinds or go for fabric light-blocking curtains instead.
New Carpet – One of the biggest outgassing culprits, new carpet will outgas formaldehyde for years and years because of the glue used to hold it all together. That “new house” smell is often a combination of carpet outgassing. Instead of recarpeting your child’s room, try hardwood floors with area rugs. Real wool rugs are natural and can be easily cleaned. They also last for generations!
New Paint – Another smell often associated with a new home, new paint can be quite an outgassing hazard. Fortunately, it’s getting easier to find house paint that contains no VOC’s. I’ve even found it in the chain stores. It still has a smell, but it’s much less harmful and will dissipate quicker.
Plastic Lampshades – For the same reason plastic blinds aren’t very desirable, so is the plastic lampshade. As the lightbulb heats up, the shade begins to outgas. It can be hard to find a fabric lampshade that isn’t lined with plastic, but there are some fun alternatives. Try a salt lamp! They’re fun, educational, and actually help the air. These are said to be especially helpful for asthma. I’ve also found they’re great for eliminating excess humidity in the air. Most have dimmer switches, so you can use them as a nightlight as well.
New Furniture – The varnishes, glues, and finishes of new furniture are definite outgassers. Especially when furniture contains particle board, it can outgas for a few years after purchase. If you can, try and purchase furniture that is made of solid hardwoods (sustainable of course) like this bed from Ramblin Wood, which has been finished using only linseed oil. Or try purchasing antique or vintage furniture. (Note: Cribs shouldn’t be used if they’re old. Remember, the standards have changed over the years so old cribs aren’t always very safe. If you must buy a new crib, try and get it at least several months ahead of time and let it air out in a garage or other well-ventilated location. Try and wait until it no longer smells of new furniture.)
Other tips: Try adding plants to your child’s room. There are several that are great air cleaners, and they’ll also add some life and beauty to the room. Just make sure the plants you choose are nontoxic and up out of reach. Good air cleaners are English Ivy, the peace lily, gerbera daisies, and rubber plants.