If the air in your home seems stagnant and in need of cleansing, forget
electric room cleaners that are expensive to purchase and cost money every
month to run. Think back to your grade school science class, and rediscover
how plants can help to clean the air in your home naturally.
Common household items like carpeting, cleansers or paint give off hundreds
of complex organic chemicals. Often our climate-controlled houses are
sealed tight, keeping these chemicals locked inside the home. Sometimes the
only effect of tightly sealed homes is stale smelling air. Other times the
build up of complex organic chemicals can cause sneezing, headaches, fatigue
or burning in the eyes and nose. If you notice these symptoms, it is best
to consult a physician to determine the cause and the appropriate solution.
In either case, using houseplants as air filters can keep the air in your
home fresh and keep chemicals from accumulating.
Plants convert organic chemicals into food for themselves through their
leaves and through microorganisms at the root of the plant. They also give
off moisture, which may reduce or eliminate the need to run a humidifier in
A variety of plants in your home will ensure that a broad range of chemical
pollutants is cleansed from the air. Boston ferns cleanse formaldehyde from
the air, while peace lilies combat benzene, and parlor palms dispel
trichloroethylene. Also look for the hardier strains of orchids and
bromeliads which grow with less attention than their high-maintenance
cousins do. These plants have leaf pores that open in the dark for
nighttime air purification.
Purifying planters are also available. These planters aid air purification
with a small fan built into the base of the pot. Air is drawn down, through
a charcoal filter for odor, than through an air manifold to a clay growing
media near the roots and out to the room. The fan and the filter pull air
by the microorganisms at the root of the plant and speed up the naturally
occurring purification process.
While good, albeit expensive, technology is available to clean the air in
our homes, we often abandon the basic principles of science in light of new,
flashy technology. Sometimes the lessons of our grade school science class
are all we need to solve simple problems.
Source: James Dulley, Use Houseplants to Purify Air Naturally