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How to Purify Indoor Air Using Only Houseplants


indoor-aloe-resizedHouseplants bring that little zing of life in every room, brightening up even the gloomiest day. But besides looking pretty, houseplants can actually serve a much bigger purpose, which even the biggest indoor green lovers might not be aware of. Plants can remove dangerous chemical toxins from the indoor air, allowing us to enjoy that new sofa, or freshly painted wall, or even our pets a lot more.

Just because we cannot see what is in the air, it really does not mean that it is completely toxin-free. Having wooden furniture fitted, or a new flooring, or even using household cleaners can introduce invisible chemicals that can affect our health in both long and short-term, which is especially the case in closed spaces or in winter when windows are not so regularly opened.

Research at NASA, and other lead scientific institutes, has shown that besides greening up spaces, bringing up the mood and stimulating creativity, certain houseplants can actually remove toxic chemicals from air leaving fresh and healthy clean. The list of the so-called air-filtering plants and their miracle properties is really huge, but here is a small compilation (in alphabetical order) of the most popular houseplants that can really boost your well-being.

1. Aloe

This is really a miracle plant. Not only that it can cleanse your body inside out as it is used in various cosmetic products and medicines, it can also heal wounds and burns, and, it turns out, it can clean up the air too. In particular, it is brilliant in removing chemicals released from paints and cleaning products. In the house, it needs sunlight, but besides that it is really easy to maintain. It grows slowly, but provided with love, light and a bit of water it can grow very large.

2. Bamboo Palm

This relatively tall plant brings a very elegant look to every room. It is quite impressive, it does not require direct light, and it effectively removes chemicals such as formaldehydes released from wooden furniture and couches. This palm is also the plant to have especially in winter, as it releases the ever-so-needed moisture to the dry air in the room.

3. Chrysanthemum

This is a very common plant found in many households, although I am pretty sure not many of its owners know about all the great benefits that come along with its beautiful flowers. This plant that often makes up beautiful bouquets and it is also seen as a great housewarming gift, is brilliant in removing chemicals released from glues, detergents, paints and plastics. Keep in mind that it needs a lot of light in order to give you its best colours.

4. Dracaena

This colorful plant can easily grow up to your ceiling in height. But do not be fooled by its magnificent looks, it is actually very easy to maintain. It removes chemicals released in the air by lacquers, varnishes and even gasoline.

5. English Ivy

This pretty evergreen plant is truly remarkable. Not only it is not too fussy about lighting conditions, and it looks beautiful no matter where it is placed, but it is also incredible when it comes to removing chemicals from air. It takes up benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehydes, trichloroethylene as well as mold and airborne fecal matter coming out of your fluffy pet’s litter box. Its only problem is that its leaves are poisonous, so make sure it is not within reach of kids and animals.

6. Ficus

This plant has a unique tropical look and very bright green color. It is evergreen, guaranteeing fresh look all year round, and it is brilliant in removing pollutants from furniture and carpets. It takes a bit of effort to look after it though- make sure you water it moderately and you always clean its leaves from dust.

7. Golden Pothos

If you are a big fan of having a beautiful manicure done at home, make sure you have this plant around. The Golden Photos is one of the most effective filters for formaldehyde compounds commonly found in and released during the use of nail hardeners and nail varnish. It is also found as an ingredient in various disinfectants and used to preserve biological specimens. The plant stays green even in the darkest of spaces, and it looks beautiful when hanging down from a pot.

8. Peace Lily

This plant is probably the most widely studied one in NASA’s lab. It has beautiful white flowers and green leaves, which effectively remove chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. If it has sufficient light, then it blooms, otherwise it can still survive and function but it might not give the flowers. If kept clean from dust, it is one of the most powerful tools against air pollutants. Just as with the English Ivy, keep away from kids and pets because it has poisonous leaves.

9. Snake Plant

This is one for the bathroom. It is great in removing chemicals from toilet paper, tissues or other toiletry products. It does not need much light, and it loves humid environment. A small caution here, be careful who you give it as a present to, as the pretty blade-like plant is referred to as “mother-in-law’s-tongue” and might send the wrong message.

10. Spider Plant

Spider plant is one of the easiest plants to transplant and also to look after. It constantly produces little runners that can be picked and placed in a new pot. It can go on for weeks without water, and actually gives you a little sign when it is time to give it a drop or two. The plant is brilliant in filtering chemicals released from rubber and leather, making it perfectly suitable for garages or small workshops. No wonder it is known as the best “gift plant” around.

Happy breathing, everyone!

Image (c) Getty

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