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Plants and Indoor Air Quality

As many of you know, my son has a dust allergy that can really flare up if we aren’t careful. I take steps to keep dust to a minimum and try to make sure that he isn’t put at greater risk by using a humidifier to keep his sinuses from drying out. But I have a secret tip that I haven’t shared that helps keep the air in my home fresh – the peace lily.

Can Plants Improve the Air?Spath lily

Most people probably know that plants “breathe” carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen – basically the exact opposite of what humans do. Because of this, indoor plants are perfect partners for people in the home and the workplace. I didn’t realize how much this could help until I was talking to a friend of mine one day about my son’s allergy problems – we’d just dealt with a really nasty episode, and the usual tricks weren’t helping.

My friend, Robb, who runs ePottingShed, an online retailer of flowers and potted plants, showed me some research from NASA to online tech companies who have discovered how beneficial plants are to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

What Can Plants Do For Me?

NASA commissioned a study where they were trying to find a sustainable way to purify the air on a space station. They found that certain plants removed pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde from the air at a significant level, resulting in cleaner, healthier air.

In another study, a business owner and researcher in India named Kamal Meattle discovered certain plants that reduced smog and air pollution in homes and office buildings in New Delhi. Meattle became allergic to the air in New Delhi, so he used three common plants in his home and his office to improve the air quality. Now, his office is recognized as one of the cleanest, healthiest office buildings in New Delhi.

Plants and Productivity

Robb also told me about a study posted in The Guardian – employees in workplaces with houseplants were 15% more productive. When plants are brought into the office, employee’s had better memory retention. What’s more, employees working in offices with plants were happier and more engaged in their jobs.

So what’s the best plant for keeping the air in your home fresh? Robb suggests the peace lily – it does a better job at removing harmful chemicals from the air, and it’s an easy plant to take care of. “A peace lily can handle any lighting condition and they forgive you when you forget to water them.” Plants aren’t the only way that I’m keeping the air in my home fresh and clean, but with the peace lily, I have a little more peace of mind.

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