Breathing New Life Into Your Home

by Jessica Barr

It is no secret that pollutants in our environment harm our health. In fact, the issue is so widespread that we’re seeing cases of respiratory infection and asthma increase year to year, especially in lower-income families, where air purifiers may not be cost efficient.

As exposure to chemicals increase in our natural environments, we forget the rate at which we fall victim to these harmful chemicals in our homes too. Some of the most common being benzene, which is  found in some plastics, pesticides, cigarette smoke and fabrics and formaldehyde, which is found in cosmetics and dish detergent, as well as other common cleaning solutions. Living in the same air as benzene and formaldehyde can cause serious short and long term health issues.

Studies by multiple institutions including Pennsylvania State University suggest that simple house plants breathe new life into the air, absorbing toxic chemicals just as they do carbon dioxide. Some of the most affordable plants are also some of the easiest to take care of (for all the serial-plant killers out there) and function as exceptional air purifiers.

Spider Plants

by enbodenumer via Flickr

As one of the most adaptive house plants, spider plants thrive best in direct sunlight but can manage the usual neglect of misplacement and irregular watering. They emit oxygen while being the most effective in absorbing chemicals like formaldehyde, xylene and carbon monoxide. They also remove particulate matter pollution, small enough to get deep into your lungs and bloodstream. Fear not, they’re pet friendly too!

Barberton Daisy

by Yuntao Lu via Flickr

Daises are especially effective in absorbing formaldehyde and benzene while adding a pop of color to your home. Some of the most effective plants in purifying air are leafy and green, so Barberton Daisy plants can be essential in creating a colorful environment for yourself. You should keep these plants in direct, natural sunlight with moist soil.

English Ivy

by Tim Evanson via Flickr

This perennial vine would be happy to find its home in an old house, bathroom window sill, or any room that may have mold! Ivy has the ability to combat mold in the home, making it especially important for anyone already suffering from chronic respiratory infections. English Ivies are also known for absorbing airborne faecal matters, making your bathroom its most practical room to find its place in your home. 


A version of this originally appeared in “Comfort” The Teller November 2019 Issue #8

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