Don’t we all want to breathe in clean, non-toxic air in our homes?
I doubt that anyone walks into their home and says “I don’t give an eff if I’m being slowly poisoned by toxins. Whatevs!”. My brother recently asked me “Why do you have so many houseplants, a year ago you had almost none”! Correct, because a year ago is when I got a wake up call…in the form of a hospital visit and two days worth of testing to determine why I was having troubles breathing. The results – Indoor air quality! The hardcore nerdy girl came out in me and I started reading anything I could get my hands on.
I had no idea how many toxins are present in our homes until I started doing my research. Did you know that toxins such as Formaldehyde, Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Ammonia, Xylene, and Toluene are found in almost every home in America? These Carcinogens and VOCs leach out of the plastic we use, our laundry detergents, the paint on our walls, particle board in our furniture…they’re everywhere! The good news is that while we may not be able to 100% eliminate the sources from our homes, we can do our part to clean the air and make our homes safer for our families and ourselves.
In 1989, NASA published the Clean Air Study, and part of this study was a scientific examination of certain houseplants in an effort to naturally clean the air in space stations. This is the report that I came across while researching how to cleanse the air in my home and I really took it to heart. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, as all plants do, these plants also eliminate significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, and other plants focus on removal of specific chemicals.The most common and notable plants on the list are the following:
Aloe Vera cleans Benzene, which is commonly found in paint and certain chemical cleaners, and Formaldehyde from the air, and is my favorite plant! I use this plant to help with burns and sunburn, minor abrasions, and a slew of other skincare aids. I also use Aloe in smoothies and when I juice fruits and veggies. Bonus, it’s easy to grow and care for.
The Rubber Plant leans Formaldehyde from the air, and is a very attractive and easy to care for house plant. This houseplant is very tolerant of neglect, as noted in my last post, and can thrive in dim light and direct light alike. I love this plant for it’s beauty and it’s resiliency, because it’s definitely been through some shit…my kids have not been kind to this plant, let’s leave it at that. She’s still kicking though!
So I’m told that shade and weekly watering are all this beauty really needs to thrive, but I’m calling BS. And I SO want this plant to thrive in my home because it tops NASA’s list for removing all three of the most common VOCs (volatile organic compounds) Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Trichloroethylene, and it can combat Toluene and Xylene. That’s all 5 bad news bears on the NASA list folks. This one is a MUST for the home, and I’m determined to bring my poor lily back to health!
This plant has required an absolute minimum effort on my part for it to thrive and grow, God bless it for that! This bad boy cleans 4 of the 5 toxins from the list (excluding Ammonia) and is one of the best for removing Formaldehyde which can be found in products like toilet paper and tissue of all things! This plant also follows the opposite carbon dioxide to oxygen schedule in that it absorbs carbon dioxide and converts to oxygen at night rather than day, so having this plant in your room may boost oxygen intake while you sleep!
There are many more plants on this list, and I encourage you to look into which ones would work for your home and lifestyle! Adding houseplants to your home is such a no-brainer when it comes to ensuring cleaner air for you and your family to breathe.