Clean Air Act

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Bringing outdoor patio plants indoors for the winter has other advantages besides being decorative. With the windows closed due to the cold temperatures the air inside your home can become pretty stale. Additionally, indoor renovation projects, like painting and or staining, release harmful toxins that linger far longer in winter's closed window months.

Almost all plants on the planet have an air cleaning ability; however, some are better at cleaning the air of chemicals we come in contact with every day. So take advantage of Mother Nature's air purifiers and make your home's air healthier with one of more of these beautiful workhorses.

Here are a few common and relatively easy-care houseplants that can actually help improve the air quality in your home:

  • Peace Lily. One of the few air purifiers that flower, the peace lily thrives in low light. (Caution: they are poisonous to pets.) The peace lily rids the air of the VOC benzene, a carcinogen found in paints, furniture wax, and polishes. It also absorbs acetone, which is emitted by electronics, adhesives, and certain cleaners.
  • Red-Edged Dracaena.These "thrillers" are often seen in container pots out on the patio. Known as
    a slow-growing shrub, it can get up to 15 feet it you have the ceiling height for it. Not to worry, these hardy plants will make the most out of whatever space you have for them. The red-edged dracaena will help remove gases released by xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, which can be introduced by lacquers, varnishes, and sealers.
  • Boston Fern. Most often seen as outdoor plants, this fern features feather-like leaves and curved fronds that are staple on almost every southern porch. Found in hanging baskets all summer long, most folks are wary of caring for them during the winter months due to their high humidity needs. Once you find a good spot and get the watering demands met, the Boston fern is considered one of the most efficient air purifiers. It works especially well in removing formaldehyde, which is found in some glues as well as pressed wood products; including cabinetry, plywood paneling, and furniture.
  • Snake Plant Also known as mother-in-law's tongue, these plants thrive in low light. This plant
    absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during the night. So a corner in the bedroom is a perfect fit for this easy to grow stunner.  Come summer, this plant can be used (right in the pot) as a dramatic backdrop in your garden alongside your outdoor plants.
  • Aloe Vera plantsThis easy care sun-loving succulent can help clear formaldehyde and benzene; which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners and paints.  Find a sunny kitchen window and use the healing properties of the gel inside the plant on burns and cuts.
  • Weeping Fig Ficus benjamina). Keep a ficus in your living room to help filter out pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. A ficus is temperamental when it comes to being moved, so try to find a bright window and keep it there. However, once plantsyou get the watering and light conditions right, they can last for years.  

TIP: When bringing outdoors plants indoors, it's best to transition them to avoid shocking them. Lesson light exposure gradually by moving them into spot that gets less sun, like a covered porch, before taken them off of a sunny patio.