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Houseplants Help Keep Air Clean

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 your home.

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

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