Monday, August 20, 2012

Use Plants to Clean Indoor Air

A rubber plant is an easy to care for, air cleaning machine. It's also fun to draw!
You've probably heard that plants and trees are important because they help keep our air clean. This is true outdoors and indoors.

According to an article on, "houseplants are our often-overlooked helpers in ridding the air of pollutants and toxins, counteracting outgassing and contributing to balanced internal humidity."

How do plants clean the air? According to an eFIG article:
Plants use two well known processes to move chemicals in the air to their roots: leaves absorb certain chemicals in the air and transport them inside plant tissue down to the roots, and plants pull air down around their roots when moisture is emitted from leaves during transpiration. In the rhizosphere, or root area, microbes living there turn the VOCs [pollutants] into food for the plant. Plants and their root microbes are nature’s biological cleaning machines.
 Also, there was totally a TED talk on the topic!

The Care2 article mentioned earlier points out that rubber plants are one of the top 10 houseplants for cleaner air. Yay! I love my rubber plant because it's easy for even someone without a green thumb like me to care for. It doesn't need a lot of light. You just have to remember to water it. I've kept mine alive for over 2 years! Mother-in-Law's Tongue (aka Snake Plant), mentioned in the TED Talk, is another great air cleaning plant I own that has survived occasional spells of neglect.

My friend Liz who is a healthy home consultant, among other amazing things, recommends How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants That Purify Your Home or Office for more info on the best plants for supporting healthy indoor air quality.

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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