One of the most frustrating areas in the home for avoiding toxins is your furniture! When you start doing your research about safer choices, parents realize that in order to get a truly safe couch or foam chair, you have to spend upwards of $5000 or more! Ouch! Now if you can do this then we say go for it! Some companies that sell chemical free couches are Q Collection, Dalla Terra, and If Green. The chemicals in traditional couches and chairs are super toxic! Traditional couches and foam chairs contain a long list of chemicals such as:
And more! A LOT more!
So if you are frustrated with sitting on a toxic couch (chair, glider, etc) and not being able to do anything about it…this is the blog for you! It has been driving me nuts to have toxic furniture in my house since I am so careful with the products I purchase. In fact, my cat recently died and had blood work done the day she died. It came back that she had a major thyroid issue. Well, low and behold, my cat isn’t the only one. It seems there is an epidemic of thyroid issues in cats and it is strongly suspected it is due to the flame retardants (PBDEs) found in many foam furniture. Cats lay around on them all day…and are getting high levels of exposure. So if it does it to your cat, how does that make you feel while you are nursing your baby in that glider, or snuggling with your child on the couch?
So I had to figure something out. And here it is.
I can’t afford to start from complete scratch, but I can make a nearly non-toxic couch! I found this amazing company called White Lotus Home. They sell natural latex, something called evergreen foam, bundles of organic cotton, wool and more! So this is what I did:
I have my old couch (loaded with flame retardants and all the nasties) and am having it redone with non-toxic and less toxic material for a fraction of the cost of a new completely non-toxic couch! I don’t recommend doing this yourself as you will expose yourself to tons of toxins…have a professional do it.
First is going on Yelp or Citysearch and find an upholsterer in your area. Find a good one and shop around for pricing. You will want to talk to the person and let them know that you are trying to have a non-toxic couch made. They will think you have lost your mind. I have moved to GA and they literally had no idea what I was talking about….I finally found a guy who really “got” the idea of what I was trying to do and priced the job at $600. It is critical that you find someone who “gets” what you are trying to do…if not, they will likely use toxic glues and other chemicals while making it, undoing much of what you are trying to do. It helped a lot to let them know that I had a daughter with eczema and allergies to certain chemicals so I was trying to avoid these in my home.
Talk to them about your couch and the size and find out what you will need. How much foam (or latex if you can afford it…but you probably should just buy another couch at that point), cotton and/ or wool batting. I bought:
- A 6 inch Queen sized Evergreen foam mattress to use for the foam replacement in the couch
- 10 Lbs of Organic Cotton for the pillow stuffing (this is probably WAY too much but I am planning on getting to my chairs next and it was on sale!)
- 1 Large Roll of Wool Batting
Is the evergreen foam perfect? No. It is still foam. But it doesn’t contain flame retardants which is one of my biggest concerns. Actually my BIGGEST concern! And it is tested to be virtually free of chemicals. I have no clue how well it will “wear” over time but will keep all of you in the loop. All of this on sale was about $700 or so. Make sure to call the company when you order to talk to them about what you really need and confirm with your upholsterer. *I have contacted White Lotus about this blog and they have agreed to give a discount to you guys!!! See the bottom of the page!!!
Then I went to my local fabric store and purchased chemical free fabric. I did research and went to one of the nicer places that sell fancy upholstery. It wasn’t organic since this was hard to find what I needed but close. Free of azo dyes, pesticides, chemicals,etc. I had to buy 25 yards. This was about $500
Once all of your materials arrive, you have your furniture person come and pick it up and redo it for you! I am still waiting on my fabric but am SO excited to have a less toxic couch! There will still be some flame retardants on the wood on the inside. I have asked my furniture guy to hose it down once he takes it apart to reduce this.
So my total will be around $1700! Not too bad! You have to have a couch to start with in order to make this work. You can buy a couch on Craiglist.org for maybe $50.
It is perfect? No. I would LOVE to have one of those completely non-toxic couches from companies doing the right thing! But, for now it is not in the budget. Hopefully on the coming years the prices will come down. But until then, I am going to have a couch that I can snuggle with my kids and not be worried about toxic flame retardants and other chemicals seeping into their bodies, doing all sorts of damage to their health…and that is worth it to me!
*By the way, don’t be fooled by all the greenwashing from companies using “eco-friendly” foams like Soy or other claims of non-toxic…it is still coated in toxic flame retardants and then you are just supporting GMO soy from Monsanto. Unless they are using UNTREATED CHEMICAL FREE wool or another product that is naturally flame retardant and can pass the fire retardancy tests, it will be treated with toxic FR. This is a HUGE arena with falsehoods and misleading info by companies!!
*White Lotus Home*
*US Manufacturer & Wholesaler of **Natural & Organic Bedding since 1981. *
Is offering 20% off to all friends of:
Organic Baby University
Please enter TC20% @ check out at this link
*All NEW ORDERS* only!
SALE Expires *August 1, 2012 *@ Midnight EST.
Enjoy the coupon code TC20% and stock up on organic
bedding and winter season staples for
you and yours.
If you have any questions or would like to place an order over the phone,
please call 732.828.2111, or email our Sales Department,
firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you mention this note.
Learn more about these toxic chemicals:
UPDATE!!! Here is a photo of our nearly non-toxic couch!! Yay!!! Looks GREAT!
I HIGHLY recommend the upholsterer I used if you are in Atlanta or anywhere near enough to get your furniture here!!! He can build from scratch using frames from a local store too so you don’t even have to have a piece of furniture!!! His name is Ron from G & R Upholstery….brilliant!!!