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Friday, January 9, 2015

Farmgirl Friday: Home Safe Home: How Your Carpets May Be Making You Sick

Thanks The Graphics Fairy for the vintage farmhouse image. 
There is nothing like staying home for real comfort. 
Jane Austen 

Welcome Home!  Are there any sweeter words after a long day at the office or in the field?  I am a total homebody.  I absolutely love being home and I have had the good fortune of finding a great place to work that has telecommuting available.  I've been Work-At-Home for six years and I love it! 

I love everything about making a home for my family and learning how to do more things ourselves.  I'm also recently learning about some things in the home  are not exactly healthy - like cleaners that are heavy with chemicals, or candles that have lead in the wicks or even the vinyl in your shower curtain.  When you count up the potential hazards in the normal home, it can become quite a load of toxins in the place we spend so much time together.  

If you regularly read my posts on Fridays, you know that this is when I discuss my work on my MaryJanesFarm merit badges and I've been working on my  Cleaning Up:  Going Green badge.  Previous posts have been on making your own cleaners like these:  Castile Soap Floor CleanerHomemade Window Cleaner and Homemade Dishwasher Tablets.  I have been very happy with the switch. 

And then I saw the tasks for the expert level of that badge.  Oh my, one of the tasks is to get your carpets sealed against out-gassing.  What in the world is out-gassing?  Hold on to your aprons ladies, this is BIG! 

Out-gassing happens when chemicals evaporate from the materials used to make the product.  It happens in all kinds of things in our households:  furniture, paint, carpet and mattresses all can have these issues.  You know that new carpet smell, or that new car smell, of the smell of a new vinyl shower curtain?  Yep, all are out-gassing things called volatile organic compounds (also called VOCs).  

I can remember when my parents remodeled the attic to have more bedrooms because our two bedroom home was getting pretty crowded with four growing daughters.  We were thrilled to each have our "own" bedroom delineated by well placed partitions in the new part of the house that was finished with paneling and particle board flooring.  That whole summer was spent dealing with burning, watery eyes every time we were in our new rooms.  Now I know it was out-gassing.      

Usual immediate reactions to VOCs include headache, nausea, dizziness and respiratory issues.  Longer term exposure has been linked to leukemia and lymphomas.  None of these things are good are they?  

Carpets also have other issues such as dust mites and mold.  So, we made the big step to remove our carpets.  We are about half-way there and haven't exactly agreed yet on what kind of flooring to put down.  That cement has been rather cold on the feet this winter.  It has been easy to become paralyzed in deciding on the most safe alternative for our family but we continue in our research.  

One thing I have learned from MaryJane Butters (founder MaryJanesFarm)  is that you can seal your carpets against out-gassing.  Nester Noe developed a three-step process to seal carpets to keep the harmful chemicals from being released.  The process involves using a carpet shampooer, a hand-held garden sprayer and a garage broom.  You can see the products here.   

I had never heard of this process before I became a Farmgirl.  If you haven't visited, I really encourage you to do so.  There is a chatroom where you can get good discussion on many topics.  There is also a magazine that is full of wonderful information and beautiful photos - you can subscribe here or buy it at your favorite magazine stand.  If you are a book lover like me, read the books which you can see here.  

If you love what you find there, I hope you consider joining here. You do not need to be a member to participate in the chatroom but you do need to be one to apply for merit badges.  

I thoroughly enjoy the company of other farmgirls through these forums and I hope you consider joining too.  Tell MaryJane that star-schipp Sister #1927 sent you!  

Thanks for reading today.  Tomorrow is Skills Saturday and our lesson will be on baking bread with yeast and with sourdough starter.  I hope to see you then! 

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp  

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of those links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  It is a great way to support your favorite hobby farm blogger.  Thank you!   

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