Six House Plants that Clean the Air we Breathe in Our Home

Six Air Purifying House Plants

I’ve always loved house plants and flowers in my home but while I was renting I never really took the green-finger leap. Since becoming a home-owner four months ago, and now that Patrick and I have an addition to our family in the shape of our gorgeous 12 month old son Smith, I’ve been on a mission to transform our new ‘old’ house into a home that is not only lovely to look at but also lovely to live in. 

We are striving for a home that not only looks stylish but is free from clutter, has a place for everything (I’m big on that), is warm, secure, sustainable but yet inviting, bright, comfortable, baby/toddler safe and healthy … oh and we could never forget our dog Charlie, he has to be considered too.

Six House Plants that Clean the Air in My Home

For now though I’d like to share with you some snapshots from behind the scenes of The Life of Stuff and six of my favourite House Plants that Clean the Air in Our Home, no doubt this list will grow over time as I educate myself and as our house transforms. Having house plants like these in your home are beneficial not only because they look great and can cheer you up but they clean the air you breathe, naturally (peace of mind if like us you are painting and decorating) and they are great for teaching your children about nature and why you should respect and care for it. As with all our house plants we keep them out of harms way, which means neither our son nor our dog can reach them because although some are non-toxic, they are not edible plants either so “better safe than sorry”.

Six House Plants that Clean the Air in My Home

Chlorophytum Comosum – Spider Plant

These plants are tough little cookies that not only survive without water for some time (if you’ve been away on holidays) but also produce little spider plant babies, so you could have a plant in every room if you wanted to – I have one in Smith’s room (pictured), our dining room and our Living Room. The one pictured is quite a young plant that was repotted as a baby and it’s doing quite well. The brown colour that occur at the tips is from flouride in tap water, so my next mission to prevent this is to collect rain water, not just for this little fellow but for all our house plants. It is safe in Smith’s room as it is non-toxic, but I will always keep it out of his way until he knows the difference between plants you eat and plants you don’t eat.

Spider Plants remove: formaldehyde, which is found in some glues, xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries and toluene, which is found in paints.

Toxic to Dogs or Cats: Non-toxic.

Six House Plants that Clean the Air in My Home

Aloe Vera Plant

I keep this gorgeous plant in Smith’s room too. It loves bright light so I often keep it on his window sill that faces our back garden which gets lots of sun (when the sun comes out). It needs water but not too much as too much can cause root rot. As with the Spider Plant, this little beaut gives you little Aloe Vera babies that can be repotted, and on that note I got a gift of some Aloe Vera babies from my sisters plant the other day … so they’ll be spread about the house too. As well as purifying air, Aloe Vera can help with cuts or burns – you simply cut a leaf and rub the sap/gel on your skin to help it heal. I found this very informative article here that details other uses.

Aloe Vera Plants have numerous healing qualities and also remove: formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners and paints and found in plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber lubricants, dyes and detergents.

Toxic to Dogs or Cats: Toxic.

Six House Plants that Clean the Air in My Home

Sansevieria Cylindrica – Snake Plant / Mother-in-law’s Tongue

How interesting looking is this little fella! At the moment our Snake Plant (I prefer to call it this name rather than the other) is kept in Smith’s room next to his greenhouse which is currently growing herbs, more on that later. These plants are native to Angola, Southern Africa so they need little watering, once a week should do it, and lots of bright light, so they are perfect for green-finger novices like myself. Unlike most plants that absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the day and do the opposite at night, these plants continue obsorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen at night too. So not only do they rid the air of loads of nasties they also give us air to breathe!

Snake Plants remove: toxins such as benzeneformaldehyde, xylenetouline and Trichloroethylene, which is found in some household cleaners.

Toxic to Dogs or Cats: Toxic.

Six House Plants that Clean the Air in My Home

Dracena Marginata – Madagascar Dragon Tree 

This cute little tree with a big name has, like our Spider Plants been part of our household for some time now. It resembles a tree and has lovely red tipped leaves that add a splash of colour to its greenery. I change it’s home from time to time. Its home at the moment is on the windowsill in our hallway because although it gets light, it doesn’t get direct sunlight. Although I have been using tap water and it has been with us healthily for years, I will be changing to rain water to feed it because I recently read that it’s sensitive to flouride which, as you know is found in tap water. It’ll be interesting to see if it transforms in any way from this change. Like the Snake Plant the Dragon Tree is tough on cleaning the air of lots of toxins.

Dragon Tree Plants remove: toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, toluene and Trichloroethylene.

Toxic to Dogs or Cats: Toxic.

Six House Plants that Clean the Air in My Home

Nephrolepis – Boston Fern

There are about 30 species of Nephrolepis and this one, although not identified by the sticker when I was buying it is, in my opinion is a Boston Fern. It’s beautiful and green. I love the fullness of its leaves and the wildness of the way they point in every direction, kind of like my fro in the morning! I only have one of these beauts at the moment and I normally keep it in our hallway but I will be buying more as I’d love one in Patrick and my bedroom and perhaps the bathroom too. This plant needs lots of water compared to the other house plants I have mentioned. It likes light but not direct light. It loves humidity so my idea about having one in the bathroom is perfect.

Boston Ferns remove: formaldehydexylene and toluene.

Toxic to Dogs or Cats: Non-toxic.

Six House Plants that Clean the Air in My Home

Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchid

The Moth Orchid is such a delicate looking plant but I’ve read that it’s the perfect orchid for beginners. Known as Phals, you can grow them on your window sill but we keep ours on the mantle of our fireplace, where it gets lots of indirect light and is safe from direct sunlight that can cause sunburn. It won’t get too warm either because it’s far enough from our wood burning stove. They like humidity so spraying with water keeps them happy but over watering them can kill them. They usually bloom once a year so I’m happy to have this photo to share with you.

Moth Orchids remove: xylene and toluene.

Toxic to Dogs or Cats: Non-toxic.

Some people don’t believe with keeping house plants in babies nurseries, children’s rooms or indeed adult bedrooms but I have absolutely no issue with it. Those who don’t believe it’s right think that as most plants omit carbon monoxide at night, it could be a hazzard to those who share a room with them, as in you”ll be fighting for oxygen. The way I see it, I have shared a bedroom with Patrick for nearly 13 years, and when Smith was born the three of us shared a room for over six months and we all slept soundly without any oxygen issues. Of course it is always important to have well ventilated bedrooms and as I mentioned before it’s extremely important to keep all house plants out of the reach of children and pets alike.

Six House Plants that Clean the Air in My Home

I mentioned Smith’s greenhouse earlier. We are currently trying to grow Thyme, Corriander and Oregano. Although Smith is too young to understand now, growing herbs and vegetables in our home and garden will become the norm. My hope is that it will teach him how easy it is to be sustainable and that watching seedlings and plants grow will educate him on the value of food and where it comes from. If my growing is a success I’ll share my experience, so do pop back to the blog.

As readers of The Life of Stuff you will know that this year, 2016, I became an Ambassador for their Live LAGOM project which is all about finding balance or for the exact meaning “just the right amount is best”. This project was perfect timing for us and has helped us on our sustainable lifestyle journey to create the perfect home for us. You can read more about it here.

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