4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)

4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)

It’s important to reduce exposure to the overwhelming load of toxins we’re exposed to every day.

Especially during any healing protocol, do things like choosing natural cleaning and personal care products and minimize how often you bring new furniture or building materials into your home.

Instead of emptying your wallet with expensive gadgets and cleaners, there are much easier and cost-effective ways of cleaning your air.

My Home Remodel

While remodeling our home, I have been very careful to choose low VOC and low emission finishes to reduce off-gassing of toxic chemicals. I’m also boosting our indoor air quality with a few easy methods that everyone can use for cleaner air.

Because plants need care and are often toxic to cats and mini humans when eaten, I first looked into alternative methods.

–>High-end air filter…well over $500. Ouch.

–> Bowls of activated charcoal and baking soda…let’s think back to those cats and small humans. Double ouch.

–> Bowls of water with cut onions peppered all over the floor. Seriously?! Who comes up with these things?

Here’s my clean air plan:

House Plants (via NASA research)

4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)

NASA performed an extensive study on plants that could clean the air for extended space station missions.

I took a look through their published study and a handy chart from Wiki to see which house plants gave me the biggest bang for my buck

…and then figured out which ones I could keep alive.


Adding one medium-size plant in a 6-8 inch pot for every 100 square feet in your home is the most effective way to clean the air.

I have a 1700 square foot house, so I’m shooting for 17 plants.

Each species filters different toxins, so a combination of plant types is best.

English ivy is the most effective at removing Benzene (90% in 24 hours), but only removed 10% of Trichloroethylene in the same time period according to the NASA study.

We have a poinsettia, orchid, African violet, and an unidentified tropical plant already. Plus, I’m being a good daughter-in-law and taking an overgrown rubber tree (Ficus elastica) from my in-laws.

To beef up our plant selection, we’ll peruse the local nurseries for something pretty and then choose a combination of the following from the NASA list:

  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)
  • Golden porthos (Scindapsus aures or Epipremnum aureum)
  • Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”)
  • Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue
    (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • Mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Open Windows

4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)Opening windows is a no-maintenance, no cost way to freshen the air and sweep out the toxins.

Try to open them for at least 10 minutes daily.

If you are in an area of high pollution, the plants will help clean the air once you close the windows.

Charcoal Filters

4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)Small charcoal-filled pouches are great to tuck around the house. They absorb odors, allergens, and VOCs without the watering and maintenance of plants.

These are pretty enough to keep out in view, but I went the cost effective route and bought more of these to hide around the house.

I have had the same charcoal filter bags for almost 5 years and tuck mine under the sofa, in drawers, on top of my grandfather clock, behind books, and on top of cabinets.


What natural air cleaners can you add to this list?

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Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

11 thoughts on “4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)”

  • I’ve got several spider plants and a few that are similar to spider plants (not sure exactly what they are though) and aloe. Fortunately my dogs and cat leave the plants alone. I want more but I just don’t have anywhere to put them that gets enough sunlight. Although when it starts getting colder I’ll be forced to find places. I’ve got two huge yuccas that are currently outside along with tons of other plants. My personal favorite are the two pineapple plants I’m growing from simply old pineapple stems! Those will look really cool indoors. Great post!

    • I love that you’re growing pineapple plants!! How fun. For areas that don’t get enough sunlight int he house, you can look for shade plants. I know peace lilies are good for shady spots in the house.

  • House plants are awesome! They bring beauty and clean the air! Please be cautious with your plant selections if you have pets. Poinsettias are toxic to both cats and dogs, though rarely fatal if treated, and lilies are toxic to cats (though not dogs) and can cause kidney failure if ingested. The ASPCA has a great resource to check whether certain plants are toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants
    The most common plant toxicity we see here in southeast Texas is Sago Palm – these are HIGHLY toxic and ingestion is often fatal.

  • Hey I love this post 🙂 I have wanted to get plants but im worried about the fertilizers they use, did you find organic ones or just replant them? Either way im in search of some plants now that they are in local greenhouses around here. They are no where to be found in winter time.

    • Hey lil mama! Mine are all inherited and in no way organic. Try starting a few of them from cuttings or seeds (like the spider plant) and pot it into a soil mix that’s safe for you. Spider plants grow quickly so shouldn’t carry that many fertilizers in the shoots.

  • Wool rugs! My husband took a carpet cleaning training course, and one of the things he learned was how in general carpet acts as an air filter (there are a lot more details to how it works – its pretty crazy)…but wool especially is a major air purifier. 🙂 Wish I had more of the details to share, but that’s all I can remember. 🙂

  • Unfortunately, my new office doesn’t have windows that open! I am trying the Himalayan salt lamp along with 3 plants. Hoping for the best.

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