We tend to think of air pollution as something outside: smog, ozone, or haze hanging in the air, especially in summer. But the truth is, the air inside homes, offices, and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside. The air inside your home may be polluted by lead (in house dust), formaldehyde, fire-retardants, even volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaners. Some pollutants are tracked into the home. Some arrive via a new mattress or furniture, carpet cleaners, or a coat of paint on the walls.
Scattering plants around your home is a great way to cleanse the air. In the late '80s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilites. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other studies have since been published in the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science, further proving the science. Here are our top 10 plants for keeping the air in your home clean:
1. Aloe Vera
This easy-to-grow, sun-loving succulent helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. Aloe is a smart choice for a sunny kitchen window. Beyond its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant can help heal cuts and burns.
2. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Even if you tend to neglect houseplants, you’ll have a hard time killing this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries.
3. Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
This bright, flowering plant is effective at removing trichloroethylene, which you may bring home with your dry cleaning. It’s also good for filtering out the benzene that comes with inks. Add one to your laundry room or bedroom — presuming you can give it lots of light.
4. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii')
Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants.
5. Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
Another powerful plant for tackling formaldehyde, this fast-growing vine will create a cascade of green from a hanging basket. Consider it for your garage since car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde. (Bonus: Golden pothos, also know as devil’s ivy, stays green even when kept in the dark.)
6. Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
The colorful flowers of a mum can do a lot more than brighten a home office or living room; the blooms also help filter out benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent. This plant loves bright light, and to encourage buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.
7. Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
The red edges of this easy dracaena bring a pop of color, and the shrub can grow to reach your ceiling. This plant is best for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which can be introduced to indoor air through lacquers, varnishes and gasoline.
8. Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
A ficus in your living room can help filter out pollutants that typically accompany carpeting and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Caring for a ficus can be tricky, but once you get the watering and light conditions right, they will last a long time.
9.Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckii')
Combat pollutants associated with varnishes and oils with this dracaena. The Warneckii grows inside easily, even without direct sunlight. With striped leaves forming clusters atop a thin stem, this houseplant can be striking, especially if it reaches its potential height of 12 feet.
10. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
Also known as the reed palm, this small palm thrives in shady indoor spaces and often produces flowers and small berries. It tops the list of plants best for filtering out both benzene and trichloroethylene. They’re also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde.
If you've tried to remove coffee and tea stains off your cups, you'll know how difficult is is and will have undoubtedly failed! Here is a simple natural trick to try at home: to remove coffee/tea stains from china cups, scrub them with equal parts of white vinegar and salt. Its as simple as that!
I have always wondered what the health effects of living in 'wireless' world are. Only the future will tell but logic indicates that it can't be good! Think about it: mobile phones, Ipads, computers and wifi everywhere you go (from the office to starbucks!)...all these waves in the air are going through our bodies all day and the radiation affecting us in ways we don't even know yet...Read on:
Health is more then just eating well. Part of living a fulfilling life is learning to give generously of yourself and your resources. If you live in Dubai, a great way to do it is through http://www.volunteerindubai.com
Volunteer in Dubai was founded in mid 2008 with the purpose of bringing together any charity, organization or cause with residents that are eager to volunteer their time and give back to the community. Check out the current projects that you can get involved in on their website.
I have been spring cleaning this week and have a pile of books that I just don't know what to do with!
As all of us living in the UAE know, its very difficult to find places that take used items. I posted the question on Goumbook's page, my favourite go-to people for all Green related issues.
Here is what they came back with: "You can go to Book World in Satwa, the best second-hand bookshop in Dubai, and either sell or donate your books / you can call 'Take My Junk' to come and get them from you to give them to the less fortunate / you can donate them to the Pink Ribbon Book Club which is collecting used books for its annual Pink Book Sale, you can deposit your used books at the drop boxes located in Bur Juman Mall in Bur Dubai. Proceeds from the sale will go to a local breast cancer charity, the Safe & Sound Campaign ♥".
When my eldest son was very young, he suffered from a chronic allergy (runny nose and cough) that the Dr's couldn't figure out. We tried removing many things from our home, including the cat, and ran allergy tests on him but they all came back inconclusive. After about a year, I decided to completely stop using all chemical cleaning products in our home (floor cleaner, wood polish, glass cleaner etc...) The results were astonishing and his allergy disappeared in 2/3 days! I now have a very simple cleaning regime for the house and the results are just as good. Windows are cleaned with water mixed with vinegar, all surfaces are cleaned with soapy water with a few drops of added tea tree essential oil. I clean my floors with water,vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil or peppermint essential oil.
To cleanse the air in your house, you can boil a pot of water and vinegar on the stove with the lid off, let it boil for 30mns and let the steam fill your house. The vinegar will cleanse and deodorise the air.
I often tell the story of my eldest son (now 14) who suffered from what appeared like regular infections in early childhood. He always seemed to have a cold and a cough and was subsequently put on many antibiotic courses to solve the problem. This didn't help and eventually he was diagnosed with a chronic allergy, and the Dr could not identify the cause through the regular allergy testing. After years of suffering, I decided to take the situation into my hands and figure out what was causing this as I did not want him to live on antihistamines. I removed things from our environment that I thought might be causing it, one at a time, and I would wait 2 weeks in between each item to see the reaction. The day that I removed all cleaning products from our home, his allergy disappeared completely in about 3 days, I was shocked! I have not used any chemical cleaning products since that day, my house is just as clean and I am very happy to be providing my kids with a healthy clean environment. Cleaning products are a lot more harmful then you think, make the shift to natural cleaning and feel the difference...the picture below shows a great tip for cleaning drains, you can also click on the link below to get great tips for cleaning your home naturally:
You really don't need chemicals to clean your home...they are the source of many allergies and the harmful chemicals linger in the air for hours and even days after you've used them.
Here is a great homemade alternative for all-purpose cleaning:
Place some orange peels in a jar, fill with vinegar, let sit for 2 weeks and presto, you have a natural all-purpose cleaning solution. Transfer to a spray bottle and enjoy a clean fragrant home.