You pride yourself on keeping a clean home. You use all the best soaps, sprays and cleansers and it shows. Everything sparkles and shines.
But despite all the scrubbing and polishing, it turns out there may be a spot in your home that you’ve overlooked. Your air.
The air quality in the average home is shockingly poor. It’s teeming with invisible indoor air pollutants. And since most heating and cooling systems don’t bring fresh air into the house, we’re breathing in stale air that’s full of chemicals all day long.
Letting fresh air in when you can, changing air filters regularly and adjusting sources of indoor pollution such as gas stoves can go a long way towards improving the air quality in your home.
But it turns out you can get a little extra help scrubbing your air clean from another, often overlooked, source.
Houseplants are a terrific way to freshen up your air so you can breathe easier. Plus, as an added bonus, they can help boost your mood.
Common chemicals reduce the air quality in your home
NASA studies from the 1980s revealed that plants could remove indoor air pollutants that can contribute to serious health problems.
And the chemicals the researchers were studying aren’t just polluting the air on the space station. These common chemicals are also found in most homes:
- Trichloroethylene is in printer ink and adhesives. It can cause dizziness, headaches and nausea
- Formaldehyde is in paper towels, napkins and wood paneling. It can cause sinus, nose and lung irritation
- Benzene is in plastics, detergents, medications and furniture wax. It can cause drowsiness, increased heart rate, eye irritation and confusion
- Xylene is in rubber, leather and car exhaust. It can cause dizziness, heart problems and headaches
- Ammonia is in glass cleaner, floor wax and fertilizer. It can cause eye irritation, coughing and lung problems
These are just a few of the chemicals that reduce the air quality in our homes and offices and contribute to a condition known as sick building syndrome.
Sick building syndrome occurs when chemicals and biological pollutants, like dust and mold, build up in your home or office and begin to cause health problems.
If you find yourself coughing a lot or tired all the time “for no reason,” or your eyes, nose, throat and lungs feel irritated you may be suffering from sick building syndrome.
Plants help remove pollutants improving air quality
A study out of Australia uncovered a simple way for us to help combat sick building syndrome.
According to the Aussie researchers, just three to six houseplants can significantly improve indoor air quality. Their testing revealed the plants keep air toxins low and remove as much as 10 percent of the carbon dioxide in the air.
And another study out of Washington State University found those same houseplants could reduce plain old dust by an impressive 20 percent.
But improving air quality isn’t the only trick houseplants have hidden among their leaves. Experts say they can help decrease stress, anxiety and depression and leave us with a sense of well-being, stability and optimism.
A U.K. study found that simply adding houseplants to an office caused the workers to feel better overall. After the researchers decked out the office spaces with cheerful green plants, the workers reported better job satisfaction and a better overall work experience.
The 3 best houseplants to boost air quality and mood
If you want bragging rights to the cleanest home on the block, you need to stop neglecting your air.
Following are three of the best houseplants for boosting air quality and mood…
1. Golden pothos:
If you’ve avoided plants because you’ve been cursed with a black thumb, you’re going to love pothos. This beautiful plant will grow just about anywhere, and in any amount of light.
Pothos can take a lot of abuse. In fact, the words “indestructible” and “un-killable” are commonly used to describe them. You literally just have to remember to water them when the soil gets dry. And if you’re the kind of person who forgets to water plants pothos is usually forgiving, bouncing back even after waiting too long to give them a drink.
But what makes pothos really special is that it’s one of the best air purifying houseplants around. It can help remove benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene and more from your air.
2. Spider plant:
Spider plants are easy to care for, lovely to look at and they make terrific houseplants. They grow well in pots and they make terrific hanging baskets too. Water them two or three times a week, and they will reward you with a hearty display of beautiful narrow green and white leaves.
Placing a few spider plants around the house can significantly improve air quality, ridding your home of formaldehyde and xylene.
3. Gerbera daisies:
The gerbera daisy will help scrub formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide from your air. But the benefits of its brightly colored blooms don’t end there. The flowers of these charming little plants have been shown to, literally, boost mood on sight.
So go ahead and bring a little outdoors into your home with houseplants. They will improve your air quality and your mood. Breathe easier by adopting some houseplants today.