This past May, when we first moved into our new house by the beach (which is just a rental), I worried about who had lived there last and what their lifestyle was. Were they smokers? Did they clean the kitchen counters with bleach every day? I had no idea what the indoor air quality was going to be like. On top of that, a day or two after being surrounded by boxes, my husband says “um, I don’t feel so good, I think those boxes have a lot of formaldehyde in them.”
I was already in maniac mode to get all the boxes out as soon as possible, since I am a wee bit OCD and so is sweet Penelope- it’s part of her Sensory Processing Disorder. Seeing the piles of boxes was physically painful to me. Like nails on a chalkboard 24/7. It was hard on both of us to see everything out of place and in complete chaos. But then when I realized they had chemicals in them, that was it, they had to GO!
All in all, we lived in a house with boxes for about four days: a day and half in Tallahassee as we packed up and then another three days as we unpacked, so it could have been worse, but breathing formaldehyde fumes for any amount of time is no bueno.
In addition, we finally got a bed for our guest bedroom. We had been using a mattress on the floor for a over a year, because we didn’t want to buy anything before we were sure we were going to have room in our new house for a king sized guest bed. But once we got settled in and realized we did have room, it was off to IKEA for some cheap, particle board furniture, filled with, you guessed it, formaldehyde.
We did our usual thing, letting it off gas outside for awhile before bringing it in, but it can take a long, long time for it to off gas everything.
Indoor plants! Everywhere! I have at least two or three in each room to help improve the indoor air quality and in turn improve our health.
All of the plants I chose pull out toxins and chemicals in the air and of course put back out clean oxygen.
- 2 Spider plants – this resilient plant battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene.
- 2 Snake plants – one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions.
- 2 Golden Pathos plants – this fast-growing vine will create a cascade of green tackling formaldehyde.
- 2 Peace Lily plants – this topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.
- 2 Orchids – they don’t improve indoor quality, but they are pretty!
- 1 Aloe plant – this easy-to-grow, sun-loving succulent helps clear formaldehyde and benzene (also has great medicinal qualities, like treating sunburn!).
I spent about $100 bucks on plants at the local nursery and about $50 on pots at IKEA, not exactly cheap but when you consider how effective a few plants can be at improving the indoor air quality in your home, and how much that can improve the overall health of your entire family, I think it’s $150 very well spent.
For other plants and more information about plants that remove VOC’s, click here.