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