How’s your indoor air?

With the hint of spring around the corner, it is time to consider airing out the house.. For me, I like to open a window or two and let in the fresh air. I also like to hang my bedding outdoors, weather permitting. Nothing like fresh air to help uplift and freshen our indoors.

However, depending upon where we live and the potential of outdoor air pollution, a sunny, warm day may not always provide the best indoor air cleansing. And, you may need more than “freshening up”, especially if you have experienced recent home renovations. Indoor air pollution can be caused by synthetic building materials, finishes and furnishings those off-gas pollutants (paint, carpet, glue) as well as second hand smoke, mold, carbon monoxide, etc. So what are your options?

Depending on your HVAC system and/or vaccum system, there may be some add-ons that you can research. There are also stand-alone options such as ionic machines, air purifiers and air ventilators depending upon your needs.

For me, in addition to my opening the windows, I have elected to use indoor house plants to help offset or neutralize the indoor air pollutants.

Indoor plants provide “green” color all year long. I occasionally will dress them up with some artificial or silk flowers or ribbons for holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day. However, their “green” is also helping my indoor air quality.

Which plants are best? Aside from the indoor air pollutants, there are two other are two considerations – light requirement and possible toxicity to pets. What follows is a listing of some indoor plants that have been known to help with indoor air quality. Take a look, evaluate your needs and home environment and then look to add to your indoor environment.

Plant Sun/Shade Description
English Ivy full either Helps filter airborne such as: benzene,
formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air.
It may evenn help to reduce mold.
Can be poisonous if ingested(people, pets)
Regular watering about 1” per week; avoid foliage
when watering
Can be used in hanging basket, pot or at base of
another plant; will spread
Bamboo Palm part either Lkes to be moist; but don’t over water. Limit water
fall/winter
Supposedly not toxic to animals
Can help filter indoor air toxins: formaldehyde,
xylene and toluene
Chinese evergreen low – med light Pet toxic
Gerbera Daisy full sun Prefers room temp 75+ but can withstand a range
( Barberton Daisy ) of temperatures
Helps to filter: formaldehyde, benzene and
trichloroethylene
Plenty of water and well-drained- moist soil
Dragon Tree tolerates low light Slow growing; can reach 6’
Can reduce indoor toxins such as: benzene,
formaldehyde, xylene and toluene
Toxic to pets
Mother-in-law Tongue tolerates low/prefers One of the best houseplants for absorbing airborne
Snake Plant more light toxins, including: formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide,
benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene

Florist Chrysanthemum direct sun Medium water Cleanses indoor air of: formaldehyde, xylene,
ammonia, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene.
Poisonous to animals
Peace Lily not direct/ Very little water; can sprinkle occasional coffee
can be in dark corner grounds before watering
Mildly toxic to pets/human hands
Helps to remove formaldehyde, trichloroethylene
and benzene

Spider Plant bright or indirect Helps to filter out harmful benzene,
like humidity trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde toxins.
Will help add more oxygen
Not toxic
Occasional watering with diluted coffee
Soil should be moist; not soggy

Mass Cane/Corn Plant bright & indirect Water 7-10 days, moist but not overwatered
air not too dry Poisonous to pets but not humans
Effective in the removal of formaldehyde

I hope that this provides you with some direction as to bringing the “green” to your indoors.

Resources for this article include:
learn.allergyandair.com/houseplants-indoor-air-quality/
hgtv.com.design/remodel/interior-rfemodel/10-best-plants-for-cleaning-indoor-air
www.houseplantsexpert.com/madagascar-dragon-tree.html
www.onhealth.com/content/1/indoor_air_pollution
www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/inside-story-guide-indoor-air-quality