Plants that Clean the Indoor Air

I LOVE a statistic! Maybe because most of the time they totally take me by surprise, and who doesn’t love surprises?!? A recent statistic that caught my attention is that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. Yes, there are people who work in the great outdoors and benefit from all that fresh air, but most people go from their home to work and back. Given all this “indoor” time, it is of vital importance that the air in our homes, schools and offices be of good quality. Sadly, this is not always the case and indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the Top 5 environmental risks to public health! This is serious!! Poor air quality can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, ear nose and eye issues and can lead to various health issues including asthma, allergies and inflammation. Inflammation in the body is a risk factor for many diseases. Everything from the building materials used, the glue that holds things together, the furniture, rugs and upholstery, to the cleaning products we use can all give off a variety of toxins including formaldehyde – yuk! Other contaminants like pollen, bacteria and mold also find their way in. Don’t panic – there’s a simple, affordable solution to the problem. In the late 1980’s NASA scientists conducted a study to find ways to improve air quality and what they discovered is that houseplants do the job perfectly! Don’t you just love when the solution is a simple one! The plants filter out the toxins so we can breathe in good, clean, healthy air. 6 Houseplants that purify the air – aah!!

Aloe Vera

IMG_4914 REMOVES: Formaldehyde, Benzene This succulent loves a sunny spot and requires little water. It’s ideal for those who really want low maintenance and a plant they can forget about and find it alive when they do remember! It might be small but it is a powerful air filter. We typically think of aloe for it’s precious gel which is known for healing burns and cuts but it does so much more!

Spider Plant

Wonderful information for care and growing! REMOVES: Formaldehyde, Xylene The spider plant is one of the easiest to grow and a great choice for those who’ve never grown plants or tend to forget they have plants. They thrive in indirect sunlight and before you know it, will produce flowers that turn into baby spider plants (spiderettes), and you’ll have enough for every room in the house.

Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)

IMG_4964 REMOVES: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Xylene This is a popular plant in offices, hotels and restaurants because they’re attractive, easy to care for, like dry soil (excellent for those who don’t like to water plants often or forget) and need little sunlight. I can vouch for this as a low-maintenance plant and have two that seem to have doubled in size in just two years.

Peace Lily

REMOVES: Formaldehyde, Ammonia, Benzene, Trichloroethylene The pretty peace lily will work hard to improve your air quality. They prefer a shady spot and moist soil to thrive. More fabulous info: NOTE: Toxic to pets and young children, so keep out of reach or choose an alternative.

Boston Fern

REMOVES: Formaldehyde, Xylene The Boston fern is a star when it comes to removing formaldehyde, however, it can be tricky to maintain. They like a cool location with high humidity and indirect light. Depending on the humidity levels in your home or office you may need to mist them daily. More information: 

English Ivy

REMOVES: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Reduces airborne fecal matter Outdoors, this plant can wreak havoc on the exterior of your home, but indoors it’s a highly effective air cleaner. For those with pets, English ivy has been shown to reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter (an icky thought, I know…however, it’s nice to know there’s a solution!). It likes part sun and part shade, so you might have to experiment to find the perfect spot for it. For more information: I have to admit, that I used to be very “anti” indoor plants. I never seemed to be able to keep them healthy and happy and so they inevitably ended up looking sad and being thrown away :( It was about two years ago that I first read about all the amazing things that plants could do for our indoor air and I decided to try to add them back into my life. I can now say that I LOVE my plants. The key for me was to find ones that a) I love stylistically and b) ones that are a wee bit forgiving of a perfect watering schedule. Success! I now have many beautiful, thriving plants in every room in the house. I particularly LOVE aloe vera and have them in every room! So, if you’re like me and think you don’t like plants or you can’t keep them alive, I’m going to encourage you to give it a try. Start small. Buy (or get a cutting from a friend) of just one! It’s a simple, inexpensive way to improve the health of your home or workplace, remove toxins and improve your concentration! If they’re good enough for NASA, they’re good enough for me!   email_signoff1 Formaldehyde is a colorless strong smelling gas used in making building materials and household items. It is used in pressed wood products like particleboard, plywood and fiberboard. It’s also found in glues and adhesives, permanent press fabrics and paper product coatings Benzene is a chemical that is colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. OUTDOOR sources of benzene would be from gas stations, motor vehicle exhausts, tobacco smoke, and industrial emissions. INDOORS it comes from products containing benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. A major source of benzene is tobacco smoke. Xylene is a chemical product that is colorless but with a distinct odor and is found in many household and industrial items. Products that contain xylene include paint, varnishes, fingernail polish, adhesives, rubber cement and gasoline. Ammonia is one of the most widely produced chemicals in the US. It is colorless with a sharp odor. The majority of the ammonia produced in industry is used in agriculture as fertilizer. It is also used as a refrigerant gas, to manufacture plastics, explosives, fabrics, pesticides, dyes and other chemicals. It can be found in many household cleaners. Trichloroethylene is a colorless volatile liquid with a sweet odor. Trichloroethylene is used in consumer products such as paint removers/strippers, adhesives, spot removers, dry cleaning fluids (and dry cleaned clothes) and rug cleaning fluids.