Detox your home. Our homes are suffering the ‘envelope effect’. It comes as a result of improvements in insulation, that are great for banishing drafts and reducing our heating bills, but also trap air inside preventing regular circulation. Shockingly indoor air can be ten times more polluted than the outdoor stuff.
Why? Unsuspecting culprits such as upholstery, curtains, plywood, paper towels, carpets, and electrical equipment release harmful chemicals like trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene into our homes. Some of the common symptoms of these nasty substances include allergies, asthma, eye irritation , headaches and sinus congestion, which aren’t fun at all. Being poisoned by our homes has become so widespread it has been labeled Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and has been listed as one of the top five threats to public health. Scary!
So what is the solution? Buy an expensive air-purifier and then pay more to run it? Nope, simply stock up on some house plants. They look great and clean the air naturally. Studies by NASA have shown that plants in the home can reduce indoor air pollutants by up to 85%. Some plants are more effective than others, here are my top three recommendations.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
The ideal plant for the living room or office. It produces more oxygen than the average plant, which helps to keep you alert and focussed. It also removes xylene and toluene from the air.
The ideal bedroom plant. It is very unique in that it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night. Studies shave shown that higher oxygen levels promote deeper sleep. It also removes formaldehyde from the air. Please note that Snake Plants are toxic to cats and dogs when eaten and should be kept out of reach of children.
Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum)
Is an all-round air-purifer. It can remove formaldehyde and a host of other volatile chemicals with its special filtering powers. It is also believed that it will bring the owner good luck, good fortune and good health. However as with the Snake Plant they are toxic to cats and dogs when eaten and should be kept out of reach of children.
The number of house plants required depends on many factors such as how much time you spend in your home, if you live in an urban or rural environment, the number of people living in your home, how often the windows are open etc.. NASA recommends than on average a 1800 sq ft house should have 15-18 large house plants.
An interesting fact for you: when detoxing your body, approximately 70% of it occurs through breathing, 20% through perspiration, 8% through urination and 2% through the bowels. Therefore the cleaner the air the more efficient the detoxification process.
So there you have it, house plants, an easy way to improve your health, alertness and sleep as well as brighten up your home or office. Have you brought the outside in? Did it enhance your well-being?
After writing this post I discovered a TED talk by Kamal Meattle, an Indian environmental activist, who recommends the same three plants as being the most effective at improving air quality check it out here.