Green plants are wonderful to look outdoors. And they're one of the best interior decorating secrets to keep you healthy at home. Indoor plants come in different shapes, sizes and color and they're fairly inexpensive compared to many decorating accessories, so let's look at why you want to add them to your home.
Many indoor plants filter out airborne chemicals that make us sick (read Pollution Inside Your Home). Unless you smell the chemicals, you never realize there are toxins in your home. They come from things you bring into your home like furniture and cleaning products. As houses become more airtight to reduce energy costs, these chemicals get trapped inside your home.
Indoor Plants Can Filter Out Chemicals in the Air
Like allergies, each person reacts differently to the chemicals they breathe. Some people suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Others have severe sensitivity to pollutants including solvents, VOCs, perfumes, gasoline, smoke and chemicals that occur naturally and synthetic chemicals.
So let's look at where these toxic chemicals come from? These chemicals come from building materials, furnishings plus the products we use daily for personal care and cleaning.
- Building materials – paints, carpeting and synthetic building materials. We also use materials made with solvents – varnishes, adhesives, treated woods.
- Furniture – mattresses and bedding and all sorts of synthetic fabrics.
- Personal care products – perfumes, deodorants, body lotions and shampoos.
- Cleaning products – detergents and pesticides like anti-lice products.
- Products derived from petroleum – like acetone, camphor, benzen, aldehyde, ethanol and others.
Carpeting makes the situation worse because it absorbs many solvents, that are released gradually over long periods of time.
Green Plants That Keep You Healthy
NASA has identified indoor plants as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way of detoxifying our houses. During the day, plants breathe in oxygen and use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Plants also sweat which helps control humidity levels. NASA has tested 19 ornamental green plants for their effectiveness in removing many toxins from indoor air. And if you're not into watering and caring for house plants, then be sure you choose the right air filter for your home.
Here are the indoor plants tested and confirmed to help you keep the air inside your home healthy. These are their common names which you can ask for at your local nursery or landscape center.
- Heartleaf philodendron
- Elephant ear philodendron
- Corn plant
- Common ivy
- Spider plant
- Weeping fig tree
- Golden pothos
- Peace lily
- Cut-leaf philodendron
- Chinese evergreen
- Palm tree
- Snake plant
- Dragon tree
- Gerbera daisy
- Look around the web to find more healthy, green plant recommendations.
What are your favorite indoor plants?
My favorite is the golden pothos as it's impossible to kill!
Collage photo credits to Julie Knapp via her article, 15 Houseplants To Improve Indoor Air Quality.