As you know, I am currently undertaking the mass redecoration of my house. With painting comes those delightful Volatile Organic Compounds. You know, that paint smell? The one that goes right to my head and makes it ache. Did you also know that there are indoor plants that can clean air and remove toxins from your home? I must admit that this was a new one on me, but I have read a really interesting article on it, and think it could benefit my readers too.
The article was on http://www.healthextremist.com, and the author lists 6 house plants which are great for clearing the air. Plants increase the oxygen in the air due to their method of respiration, and as well as taking in carbon dioxide, they can also clear the air of all kinds of air pollutants, including VOCs. Apparently for really clear air you need to have 15-18 of them covering about 1800 square feet.
The first houseplant of choice had to be an aloe. Aloe is great for all kinds of medicinal uses (so ought to be in the house for that purpose alone) but it is also excellent for increasing oxygen levels. It has been found to absorb formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. Apparently having 1 pot of aloe is like having 9 other biological air cleaners.
What about the spider plant? These plants are amazing and can perform photosynthesis under minimal lighting. 1 plant can effectively filter the air in a room of 200 square feet. It is also really easy to grow and they reproduce by producing runners (a bit like strawberries) so if you have one, you will definitely be able to increase your population over time.
English Ivy is another great air filter. It also looks great draping down from a high shelf. It has been shown to reduce 60% of all airborne moulds and 58% of airborne faeces within just 6 hours of being placed in a room. With that kind of record, it seems to be a bathroom essential, along with the shampoo and soap.
Peace lilies make great house plants with their elegant horn shaped flowers, and they also filter out benzine, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Or you could try Mother in Law’s tongue (also known as the snake plant). This one is pretty indestructible and requires little or no light so that is good for those dark and dingy parts of the house.
And what about a rubber plant? Another plant which has minimal lighting requirements and are easy to care for. You do need to be careful with the rubber plant though as the leaves can be toxic to pets.
I am usually pretty dreadful at keeping houseplants alive, so I am glad to hear that some of these plants need very little looking after. As I have cats (who delight on chewing any sort of greenery) I would need to make sure they are all non-toxic to felines, and I would encourage you to do the same. There are also other plants which can be used to clean your air, including the Red Edged Dracaena. I have had particular success with these – I had two of them when I was at University. They were called Portia and Perry after my favourite fictional lawyers. What? I was studying law. And I ALWAYS name my plants. Think of Audrey in the Little Shop of Horrors! 🙂