According to this fun, but somewhat concerning fact-filled article on Distractify, we spend 90 percent of our time indoors. The National Human Activity Survey (NHAPS), a two-year phone U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-sponsored survey conducted between 1992 and 1994 showed that this number has remained pretty consistent. The survey, mentioned in this article, showed that we spend 87 percent of our time indoors, and another 6 percent in our cars.
That is a lot of time indoors!
The EPA notes that indoor air quality can often be far worse than outdoor air quality. Besides minimizing the impact in your home of pollutants by doing things like cleaning your heating and cooling ducts, improving ventilation, removing carpets, using air purifiers, and keeping dust down with regular cleaning, a study conducted by NASA with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America showed that having plants in your home can improve indoor air quality.
In this post, I want to highlight eight plants that improve air quality in the home, and where in the home these plants can do the most good.
1. Living Room: Ficus Tree (a.k.a. Weeping Fig or Benjamin's Fig)
This type of indoor tree grows very quickly, but only if you have it in a location that meets specific watering and light conditions. Once you’ve figured out the ideal conditions, a weeping fig will last a long time, humidifying the air in your room and neutralizing formaldehyde vapors, toluene, xylene and ammonia.
2. Kitchen: Azalea
The azalea plant is not only beautiful with its flowering, but is also tireless at absorbing formaldehyde and benzene, which are contained in furniture, cabinets, and structures made of particleboard. To help ward off disease, remove any dead leaves or blooms that fall into the soil. According to flowershopnetwork.com this type of plant requires a more humid environment, so it might appreciate a good misting from time to time.
3. Children’s Room: Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera Daisies absorb benzene, which plastics, synthetic fibers, rubber, ink, and other materials of the chemical industry release. Unfortunately, many of these materials are found in children’s toys, clothing, and furniture. Placing a Gerbera plant, with one of its many possible colorful flowers, can not only brighten up a room, but can help clean the air that your child breathes.
4. Bedroom: Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is used as an effective tool for the treatment of skin diseases, wounds and burns. It cleans formaldehyde and benzene from the air, and at night produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide. Many people also keep a pot of this in the kitchen for those times when you accidentally pick up something that you forgot was hot or accidentally splash something hot on your skin!
5. Office: Cactus
Cactus is your best choice of plant for the office; it absorbs electromagnetic radiation of a computer. If your office is not in your home, a cactus can go a long time without being watered. That means that when you leave for a two-week vacation, it will still be happy and healthy when you return and realize that you forgot to have someone water it!
6. Closets: Chlorophytum (a.k.a. Spider Plant)
You can grow this type of plant in almost any type of soil, and like cacti, you could probably get away without watering it for a week or two. It actively fights the off-gassing of painted surfaces, wallpaper, and printed products. As a bonus, if you have a pet that likes to eat plants, Chlorophytum is pet-friendly.
7. Hallway: Peace Lily
If you don’t have much of sunlight or a green thumb, this is the plant for you. It doesn’t require regular fertilizing or direct sun light, and if you forget about it for a few weeks, it may look near death, but by adding water, within a day it will perk up within a day. In addition, it helps filter poisonous substances from the air like formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. The peace lily will also help reduce toluene and xylene in the air.
8. For Older Homes: Geranium (a.k.a. Pelargonium)
Geraniums disinfect and deodorize the air, cleaning it from bacteria. They even repel mosquitoes! This plant adds a delicate fragrance to the air in your home, but also helps you sleep better and soothes the nervous system.
Given that we spend so much of our lives indoors, I hope that this post gives you some ideas for improving the quality of the air that you, your family, and even your pets breathe while adding a splash of green and color to your home. Speaking of a splash of green and color, don’t miss out on my beautiful (and crunchy) Bell Pepper and Cucumber Salad recipe.