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Improving Your Indoor Air Quality with Plants

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When the weather is like this, most of us want to stay indoors. We aren’t getting as much fresh air as we’re less inclined to open windows when it’s so cold outside. Did you know that the air quality indoors can be up to ten times worse than the outdoors? This is due to the chemicals found in common household (and workplace) cleaners, furniture and more. These objects emit toxins that pollute the air, and with nowhere to go, the levels of indoor pollution rise.

Don’t panic, just get yourself a houseplant. These plants help filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Their foliage purifies the air and helps remove the toxins found in common household chemicals. Some of the biggest indoor pollutants are formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, ammonia and VOCs.

We found a list on Mother Nature Network of houseplants that improve indoor air quality. You can call your local garden center to see which of these plants they have available, and add some greenery to your indoor landscape. Here’s a short list of some plants that caught our eye.

The first plant on our list is aloe. This plant is easy to grow, and loves the sun. It helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which are byproducts of chemical-based cleaners and paints. Aloe is also great for healing cuts and burns, which makes it an ideal plant for a sunny kitchen window.

Next up is the spider plant. If you lack a green thumb, this is the plant for you. Hard to kill, it has lots of foliage and tiny white flowers. The spider plant helps reduce the levels of benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. It’s lovely AND resilient, making it one of the most popular houseplants.

If you’re feeling like you want an indoor plant with a lot of color, try the gerber daisy. This bright, flowering plant is effective at removing trichloroethylene, a toxin commonly associated with dry cleaning. The daisy is also good at filtering out benzene that is found in inks. This plant loves sun, so keep it in a bright bedroom window.

Or if you’re looking for a conversation starter, try the mother-in-law’s tongue (how can you not be interested in a plant with a name like that?) This plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. You can put one in your bathroom, as it will thrive in low light and steamy humid conditions.

Our last plant is the chrysanthemum. This popular plant does more than add color to your living room, the bloom also helps filter out benzene. The plant thrives in bright light, and if you want the buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.

For the complete list of indoor house plants, visit Mother Nature Network, and check out the image below for additional air purifying houseplants.

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Written by cscdavis

January 15, 2013 at 5:48 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Thank you for this! Great TED Talk on plants and indoor air quality to add to the discussion: http://www.ted.com/talks/kamal_meattle_on_how_to_grow_your_own_fresh_air.html

  2. Plants are fantastic, but you should always keep a windows partially open to bring fresh air, even in the winter

    If I can give a recommendation, limit the usage of chemical. Get back to basic, clean with vinegar, baking soda…

    Also, think of what you stock in your basement. (paint, chemical, fuel …)

    Be safe,

    Jean Nichols
    Furnace Filters Canada

    Jean Nichols

    February 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm


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