I’ve always loved green plants and have them throughout my house.
It was only recently that I learned they were valuable in homes, not just for their beauty, but for cleaning toxins out of the air.
There has been much concern about chemicals found in homes, such as benzene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and even radon – causing allergies, asthma and even contributing to cancers.
Benzene is a commonly used solvent found in gasoline, oils, paints and even detergents.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a commercial product used in dry cleaning and is considered a potent liver carcinogen.
Formaldehyde is a ubiquitous chemical found in virtually all indoor environments. Major sources include insulation, particle board or pressed-wood products, carpet backing, permanent-press clothes, cigarette smoke and natural gas heaters. It is also found in grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes it is a cause of a rare type of throat cancer in long-term occupants of mobile homes.
In 1989, scientists at NASA did a study for an easy, low cost way to minimize the effects of these chemicals in a space shuttle or in a residence on earth.
The NASA Clean Air Study found that certain common indoor plants provide a natural way of removing these toxic agents. Plants such as bamboo palms, Chinese evergreens, Ficus, Janet Craig dracena, marginata, sansevieria (mother-in-law’s tongue), spathiphyllum (peace lily) and pothos will remove many toxins.
According to the study results, the spathiphyllum seemed to be the winner. It removed all of the tested toxins, so that might be the first plant you purchase.
If you live in a mobile home, it is probably imperative that you add houseplants. In fact, go crazy and add a lot of them!
There is one problem with houseplants – you do have to care for them. They are somewhat like pets.
Some simple care tips include leaving your blinds or curtains open so they can get light. You will need to water them weekly (I’ve trained mine to go for two weeks between watering). Keep them in their nursery pots inside of a decorative pot then you can carry them to the kitchen sink to water and let the water drain out. The worst thing you can do to houseplants is to keep them in a dark place and leave their roots sitting in water.
Just remember, light, water and drainage.