How to use houseplants to purify the air in your home.
Have you ever heard of the NASA Clean Air Study? It was published back in 1989 and it looked at the capacity of various plants to filter and clean the air in our homes.
You might not consider your home to be a toxic place, but did you know that the average home is anywhere from 100-500 TIMES as toxic inside as it is outside?
That might sound like a mind-blowing statistic considering this is where we spend most of our time, but if you think about it, our home is kind of like a bucket. We use all sorts of chemical-based cleaning products, skincare products, plastics, and even a few things you might not have known could be toxic! They all hang out in the bucket and they don't really have anywhere to go, so they mix and mesh with one another, potentially creating a bit of a chemical soup in our living space.
For example: Let's talk skincare. The average woman applies about 12 products before she even leaves her bathroom in the morning, and the average man applies about 6. If we were to flip each of those products over, we'd see on the ingredients list that this equates to well over 100 chemicals - Many of which are not tested for safety, let alone how safe they are when they're combined with other chemicals.
To further prove the validity of my bucket analogy, let me give you an example: Just a few days ago, Ryan's best childhood friend was visiting from Nova Scotia and since we gave away our spare bed to a friend last year, we decided to purchase a blow-up mattress for our guest. I inflated it in my office, and instantly the smell of chemicals that were off-gassing from it gave me a terrible headache and brain fog for the remainder of the day. As someone who has made a significant amount of change in terms of the amount of toxins and chemicals that are in our home over the past few years, I definitely notice when chemicals are present much more than I ever did before. You might think this is a bad thing, but imagine the chemical burden my body would have to be experiencing to have built such a tolerance that I DIDN'T notice it. This is the norm for SO many of my clients until we start digging deeper into what is happening in their homes. Getting into your home, in person or via Skype and REALLY taking a deep dive into this stuff so that BIG change can take place is one of the most gratifying parts of my practice.
Despite the fact that our windows were wide open, the air couldn't flow quite the same as it could if perhaps I left the mattress outside for the day to allow the chemicals used in making the product time to dissipate. We had the office window wide open and the fan blowing outward for the entire day, yet I was still left with a terrible, debilitating headache. Lesson learned!
Another example: I recently learned that natural gas stoves give off formaldehyde. (This blew my mind!) As someone who almost always cooks at home, this is something we really need to have a look at. Our oven's fan doesn't actually push the air out of the home, so this will definitely be our next big project! Once you start really digging into what's going on detox-wise within the four walls of your home, it can become a bit of a rabbit hole.
One thing I've always loved to incorporate into my own personal home detox strategy is houseplants. I have around a dozen plants in our home and they are certainly well loved and appreciated! (If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know that my aloe plant, "Ruth," resides in Nate's bedroom and helps to keep the air pure and clean for him. It also provides an all-natural boo-boo gel, so it's the perfect houseplant for a toddler's room!) Oh, and the coolest part: Not only do houseplants help to eliminate toxins from the air, but they also provide clean, fresh oxygen for us to breathe! Score!
Not much can change the energy of a home quite like houseplants. A pop of vibrant green brings light and colour to any room, and it can even help to ground us. And maybe it's just me, but I also just really love watching them grow and change over time. It's a little bit magical, isn't it?
But I digress. Let's talk about this study!
Here is an excellent infographic from lovethegarden.com which breaks down some of the chemicals that can be found in our air. It also details which plants in particular are beneficial at absorbing them.
Have a look and let me know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!
P.S. I talk more about this and SO much more in the upcoming 21 Day Healthy Habits Challenge! If you live in the Ottawa Valley area and would like to attend, grab your tickets soon because space is VERY limited! This will be a small and intimate group, and tickets include a beautifully catered kickoff dinner on August 17th from Blendz Smoothie Shop in the Awe Yoga studio. Looking forward to seeing you there, and sharing SO many other healthy habits that will completely begin to transform your life!