The Right Houseplants can ‘Purify’ Your Indoors

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ByAli Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

    The holiday season is upon us and for most of us, the outdoor-friendly lifestyle that characterizes Southern California to the rest of the world will gradually go on hiatus over these next few months. As homeowners start gearing up for the seasons where they will be spending time indoors, it is a good time to mention that thanks to years of innovation and research, scientists have found new, natural ways to keep your home’s indoor air quality healthy and fresh.

     Whether you will be showing a home for sale over the autumn and winter months or just nesting, there are numerous houseplants that you can use to cleanse the air and enhance your home’s comfort and indoor air quality. According to the book How to Grow Fresh Air - 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office by Dr. B.C. Wolverton, there are many common types of plants that can help filter the air as “living” air purifiers while improving the appearance of your home.

     A former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) senior research scientist, Wolverton helped develop NASA's BioHome project in which plants were used to cleanse the air in a sealed structure and writes that the first step to take when making sure your interior environment is the best that it can be is to check all of your heating and air-conditioning systems that contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. These are common tasks that should be undertaken anyway for the health and safety of you and your family. Remember to check your system’s owner’s manuals (or search online by model number) and consider indoor filters such as activated carbon and high-energy particle arrester (HEPA) filters that trap dust and other particles.

     Once you have accomplished these details, then estimate the number of plants you will need in your home (generally between 15 and 18 houseplants for an 1,800-squarefoot home) and visit your local nursery or home improvement center to see what else they may have to offer you.

     Here are just some of the houseplants (with their scientific names in parentheses) that NASA and Dr. Wolverton recommend as the best choices for purifying your indoor air:

•    Boston fern (nephrolepis exaltata "Bostoniensis")

•    Philodendron (philodendron)

•    Rubber plant (ficus robusta)

•    Bamboo palm (chamaedorea seifritzii)

•    Chinese evergreen (aglaonema modestum)

•    English ivy (hedera helix)

•    Gerbera daisy (gerbera jamesonii)

•    Janet Craig (dracaena "Janet Craig")

•    Corn plant/mass cane (dracaena massangeana)

•    Pot mum (chrysanthemum morifolium)

•    Peace lily (spathiphyllum)

•    Warneckii (dracaena "warneckii")

•    Spider plant (chlorophytum comosum)

•    Golden pothos/Devil's ivy (epipremnum aureum) and

•    Weeping fig (ficus benjamina)

     Then consider incorporating additional natural methods of purifying indoor air that you can use: such as using salt lamps which are made from chunks of salt that have been hollowed out to make room for a small light bulb or candle. These work by producing negative ions which help purify the air of dust, smoke, bacteria and other pollutants when the salt is heated up.

     Today’s homebuilders and remodeling professionals take considerable pride in the fact that homes built here in the Baldy View Region are the most environmentally-friendly homes ever built and utilize the latest technologies, materials and building techniques and designs. These homes are designed and constructed by the most knowledgeable, highly trained and sophisticated homebuilding professionals in history. In fact, new homes built here in the Baldy View region are often as much as 30 percent over government standards in order to increase energy-efficiency while reducing homeowners' environmental impact commonly known as our “environmental footprint.” And now, protecting your home and health doesn’t mean you have to keep the outdoors outside any more.

     The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to on the web.

     And have a great Veteran’s Day.