What Do You Wear To Bed?

What Do You Wear To Bed? by Rumbi Serima

Someone asked me the other day if I was already in my “sexy lingerie” when I mentioned that
I was ready for bed.

“No, I am a nudist!” I jokingly replied.

That statement could be construed in several ways, but it got me thinking about my reasons for opting not to smother my body in polyester, synthetic and nylon fabrics and how significant that choice was to my health generally.

I decided to ditch all bed wear with exception of my 100% cotton or linen body wraps, (Zambia) as they were referred to in my mother tongue Shona. These were (and still are for the most part) garb worn by mothers and housewives around the home traditionally a practice I witnessed growing up. They were made of natural cotton fabrics. I frequently wear one around the house as I find them cool and comfortable especially given the unprecedented warm weather we are experiencing lately.

This begs a bigger question about the fabrics we choose to wear in general, our bedding and under garments etc. As we strive to live cleaner, healthier and greener by limiting our exposure to toxins; we need to be mindful of the effects of the choices we make when it come to clothing and fabrics in our environment for the following reasons:

Fabrics may contain:


Lead, mercury, chromium and other heavy metals

Phthalates and other endocrine disruptors

PFOA, PFOS and other stain resistant finishes

PBDE’s and other fire retardants

Toxins can be absorbed through the skin.

Our skin is the body’s biggest organ. The permeable (top) layer of your skin readily absorbs toxic chemicals every time it comes into contact with a fabric that is of concern. Tests found that dioxins leached from clothing onto and through the skin of test subjects during wearing. [i]


Toxic chemicals like heavy metals in dyes, polymers and substances also manmade toxins ( like PVC ) and phthalates are used in the manufacturing process.

These chemicals do not evaporate, but each time you come into contact with them; for example every time you use a towel, walk on a carpet or even sit on a chair microscopic particles break off.

They fall into the dust in our homes meaning that we can breathe them in or ingest them. This is a particularly big problem for crawling babies and pets.[ii]

Breathing evaporating chemicals.

Numerous chemicals used in textile processing evaporate at room temperature, and we breath them in. These include formaldehyde, methyl chloride and many other chlorinated organic compounds with extreme ecological and health impacts.

Tests at Ground Zero after the World Trade Centre attacks on September 2011 found some of the highest readings two months after the attack continuing “well into 2002”.[iii]

This goes to show that evaporation is not an instantaneous event.

The danger is that these chemicals react to other factors such as light, oxygen, heat. Other chemicals also have an effect on these particular chemicals. This results in the evaporating chemicals transforming into a new compound as they volatilise. This has been seen through the study of Ground Zero where the chemical (1,3-DPP), never detected in ambient air sampling before, was found to be present, leaving scientists with the task of figuring out what combination of factors produced it. [iv]

Personally, I would recommend buying clothing made of organic and natural fabrics that you wash with environmentally friendly, nontoxic detergents and fabric softeners.

Please note that if you are not allergic to something do not assume that it is harmless to you.

We are constantly exposed to toxins therefore a regular body cleanse or detox is vital to ensure that we are doing as much as we can to reduce our toxic load.
#nontoxicbeauty #toxinsinfabrics #naturalfabrics #organicfabrics

[i] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24234141

[ii] https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2015/05/222-scientists-call-reduced-use-stain-and-waterproofing-chemicals-common-clothing

[iii] http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/gases.html

[iv] Ibid

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