Is It Chemically Laden In Here, Or Is It Me?

Just about everything you read these days talks about the dangers of chemicals. We can’t put make-up on because of all the chemicals in there. Heaven knows, many lipsticks are more toxic than landfills, it seems.

Don’t bother using shampoo or body lotion either–they are laden with chemicals too–and they don’t even have to be listed on the labels sometimes. There’s a scary thought!

Even the so called “fragrance free” products are laden with all sorts of things that sensitive folks–or even the not so sensitive–might want to avoid.

And I think we’re all wise enough to know that we don’t microwave in plastic containers or with plastic wrap. A lot of what we worry about for our children can also be sensible for us too.

So how do we combat all of the free floating chemicals–at least in the air?

You knew I was going to say house plants, didn’t you? Of course–this is a garden blog, after all!

Now for those of you that are horticulturally challenged, never fear: there are house plants for you. And for those that want flowering plants, there are those too. In fact, there are plants for just about every taste (so long as you don’t taste them–most are not edible!)

So before I waste anymore time, I’m going to talk today about some of the easiest plants to clean the air–and those that will grow in practically no light at all as well!

peace lily

I’ve actually got this plant in a fairly high light situation–in an east window–but it’s notorious for being able to grow in almost no light at all. our local paper had a great article about bringing plants into the home and it suggested grouping plants in a corner or placing plants in the center of the dining room table. Unfortunately, it didn’t suggest that one use low light plants for this. A Peace lily would be one of the plants that could survive this.

It will also clean just about whatever you’ve got from the air according to NASA: benzene, formaldehye, xylene, toluene and ammonia.

Snake Plant

Not only is this plant the darling of interior decorators for its sculptural shape, but it is great for low light situations as well–another one you could put in a corner with that peace lily!

In terms of its function as an air cleaner, it too is a powerhouse, performing almost as well as the peace lily. About the only thing it does not remove from the air is ammonia. And with its lovely variegation, (the NASA study specifically mentioned variegated snake plant) it would brighten up any corner in which it sat!

heart-leaved philodendron

Most folks find these plants completely boring. In fact, a green leafed philodendron can look a little drab. This is a variety called ‘Brasil.’ It has a brighter chartreuse strip down the center of the leaf. I don’t think the fact that it’s a hybrid makes it any less of an attractive air cleaner. And it still takes very low light. I have it hanging in a north window.

These plants, according to the NASA study, are great at removing formaldehyde from the air. Most of us don’t do science experiments in our homes so you might wonder how that gets there. It actually comes in in all sorts of things we use in the business of everyday living: furniture, carpets, paint, clothing, cosmetics and even paper bags. No need to be a scientist to be exposed to formaldehyde, sadly.

Consider adding one–or some–of these plants to your home. In addition to making your home beautiful, they’ll do double duty and clean the air for you!

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4 thoughts on “Is It Chemically Laden In Here, Or Is It Me?

  1. Seems I’m on the ball with this topic! I have all of these & have for years! All of them stay nicely in their pots, requiring only low-maintenance & twice weekly watering to keep their good looks in my house! Nice to know they’re also taking care of me!!

    • Michele,
      Isn’t that great! It is nice to know that the plants are working for you–at least I think it is. So often these green plants are so unappreciated (although the peace lily will bloom). And I’ve managed to get the snake plant to bloom for me too, although that’s hardly why I grow it.

      So nice to hear from you. Hope you’re surviving the endless winter. I hear a tough winter means a great summer. Let’s hope so!

      Karla

    • I should be just fine, depending on how long in the 50s and how low in the 50s. The low light and low humidity are not a problem–it was born for that. You might lose a little bit of the bright yellow coloration, but if you’re truly growing it for its air cleaning abilities, that’s not really a problem.

      The window where I have this plant regularly gets down to 54-55 for at least 10-12 hours daily. During the day, the room is about 62 degrees. So I never really gets too warm.

      This plant survived a power outage at my home where by the end of it the house was 43 degrees. While I can never recommend such a thing, I hope that tells you how tough it is!

      Thanks for asking!

      Karla

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