A Breath of Fresh Air: Using Houseplants for Air Purification
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A Breath of Fresh Air: Using Houseplants for Air Purification

It was back in the late eighties that a study conducted by the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and NASA showed the effectiveness of houseplants in purifying air when they were put to use for purification of air in space facilities. A number of plants were found that were capable of filtering out the common volatile organic compounds from air. The good news is that these plants are also capable of cleaning the indoor air on Earth which typically bears more pollutants that the outdoor air. So how can you purify the air by means of houseplants? Let us discuss the procedure in detail.

• Get a clear picture: It is important to get a clear understanding of how to purify the air using house plants. The indoor air that we breathe in regularly is the worst of its kind. We regularly find ourselves exposed to a number of indoor air contaminants such as bacteria, small fibers, mold, detergent fumes, pesticides, chemicals off-gassing, toxins and smoke. While a part of it can be taken care of by cleaning, provided the right cleaning agents are used, not all of the air contaminants are catered to. Houseplants are capable of revitalizing and purifying the air in our offices and homes thereby protecting us from the negative effects produced by such common toxins as benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia.

• Understand the importance of plants: By absorbing the toxins through their leaves, plants help in filtering the air. The theory behind their usage is that when the plants absorb the toxins first, less burden is placed on our nose and lungs. This directly translates to reduced instances of immunosuppressed illnesses, allergies, asthma and reactions to molds and other allergen particles.

• Determine whether there is room enough to place the plants: The ideal location for setting up your houseplant is one where you can have easy access and someplace that can withstand the odd water spillage without any devastating effect. Special plant stands, window sills, floors and desks are the best places where you can house these plants for purification of indoor air.

• Mark out the rooms where you need to have the houseplants for air purification: As plants produce oxygen by converting carbon dioxide, bedroom are the best place where you can have your houseplants. Areas with high fume potential such as art workshops and kitchens, and rooms such as TV rooms and studies that are heavily laden with electrical appliances should be considered as suitable locations where plants can purify the air. All offices, in general, can largely benefit the addition of air purifying plants.

• Select the plants based on their merit: It is best to use larger leaf plant varieties wherever possible. Weeping fig, rubber plant, peace lily, Boston fern, Australian sword fern are some great options. You can also consider other alternatives such as Gerbera daisy, bamboo plant, spider plant, Christmas cactus and snake plants. All of them possess extreme resilience and show amazing growth rates while plants such as the Christmas cactus can work even in surroundings that are darkened during evenings. This makes them the preferred option in locations such as game zones and DVD rooms.

• Provide good maintenance to the plants: As per the NASA study, every hundred square feet of interiors should have a six-inch plant. A plant that is in prime condition itself is the one that works best so remember to keep them fertilized and well watered all the time.

While an air purifier can be effectively used in making the ambient air around your office or home purer and fresher, houseplants are more effective in this regard as opposed to a machine. Moreover, they operate quietly and are in no need of consumption of any of the energy supplied by the power plants. They are also pleasant to look at and give us a feel of staying close to nature every day. So why not implement one in your immediate surroundings and enjoy the benefits of breathing naturally purified air for a change?