Green Plants, Cleaner Air

Green plants help you breathe easier indoors. Living in an energy efficient home can have unintended side effects like reduced air flow and ventilation. That means the toxic chemicals in your cleaning products, laundry detergents, air freshener all stay trapped inside your home. Add in items like furniture, carpeting, vinyl flooring, and synthetic building materials all of which can off-gas chemicals and your house can quickly become more polluted indoors than you think!

Houseplants are a quick and decorative way to absorb some of the harmful toxins from the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little air flow. They don’t have the horsepower of a mechanical ventilation system or an air purfier and won’t do it all, but they are natural, inexpensive, and can even help improve your mood and productivity, enhance concentration, and reduce stress!

What chemicals will they remove?  Plants will differ in what they eliminate, so having a variety is best. But most are effective on formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, and carbon monoxide. Certain plants can also eliminate trichloroethylene, ammonia, and chloroform.

Which plants are best?  There are lots of plants that will do the job but you will have to do a little legwork to figure out which will thrive in your home by understanding your indoor environment (warm/cool, sunny/shady, humid/dry) and how much attention you want to give them.

Here are  9 that are commonly recommended and easy to care for:

Chrysanthemums, Devil’s Ivy (Golden Pothos), Areca Palms, and Chinese evergreen are also good choices.

Two Cautions:

  1. Many air purifying plants are toxic to cats and dogs – so if you have pets that are prone to nibble at leaves, be sure to choose non-toxic options. (the ASPCA has an excellent online resource –
  2. Indoor plants can also affect humidity and promote mold growth. Don’t over water and make sure water drains into a pan or tray where it can be removed easily. Covering the top of the soil with Spanish moss or aquarium gravel can also help minimize mold.

While we love houseplants — they won’t do the whole job of removing toxins from your indoor air. Make sure your home is properly ventilated and switch to non-toxic, fragrance-free cleaning and laundry products and skipping any and all air fresheners – it is the best way to reduce your home’s indoor chemical load and your family’s exposure!

Learn what conditions might be affecting the air inside your home and impacting your family’s health by getting a Hayward Score for your home today. Not only will you learn about what is going on in your home, but our report will give you effective and actionable solutions.  15 minutes can start you on the path to a healthier home and a healthier life!   Click here to start:

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