Special Needs Sunday: Natural Air Detox

07 Dec

With all of Jenna’s lung problems, we’re constantly watching the quality of the air in our home. I was very interested when I came across an article in Natural Solutions magazine that talked about the way house plants can help detoxify the air in your home.  A former NASA scientist, Bill Wolverton, developed high-tech air filters that actually look like real plants, called Phytofilters.  I have to say that they do look amazingly lifelike, but I still prefer the real thing.  If you do too, here are five houseplants that do exceptionally well at removing the formaldehyde that’s found in carpeting, plastics and synthetic fibers and that’s continually leaching into your air:

  • Spider Plant – Does best in medium to bright light.  Water thoroughly and let soil dry out between watering.
  • Peace Lily – Blooms in medium light.  Keep soil slightly moist.
  • Bamboo Palm – Keep in medium to bright light.  It thrives in humid environments.
  • Janet Craig (Corn Plant) – Keep it in bright light but out of direct sun.  Let the soil dry between watering.
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant) – Very durable (I like that!) and grows well in all light situations.  Be careful not to overwater.

Other things that we’ve done or are doing (or avoiding) to help with the air quality in our home:

  • Installed all hardwood and ceramic floors on our main level (and wish it was in Jenna’s bedroom too).
  • Sweep and dust frequently
  • Limit the number and size of stuffed animals (our pulmonologist said the larger they are, the worse they are for harboring dustmites)
  • Routinely wash and dry stuffed animals
  • Installed blinds on windows instead of drapes, which collect dust
  • Installed an air filtration unit and a humidifier on our furnace
  • Monitor the level of humidity in the entire house (too much encourages dustmites and mold populations)
  • DON’T use a humidifier in Jenna’s room (Pulmonologist said this makes it harder for kids to breath & encourages dustmite populations)
  • Rarely burn candles and when we do, we use soy or beeswax, which burn “clean”
  • DON’T use aerosol air fresheners or dusting/cleaning sprays
  • Jenna’s pillow and mattress are enclosed in allergen/dustmite protectors
  • And, of course, we DON’T smoke or allow smoking in our home

Hopefully, you can use some or all of these ideas and you found the information helpful.  If you’re doing something else that I didn’t list, please let me know in the comments!  I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and information.


Posted by on December 7, 2008 in Health, Jenna, Special Needs


3 responses to “Special Needs Sunday: Natural Air Detox

  1. Insta-Mom

    December 8, 2008 at 2:20 am

    I might need to look into those phytofilters–I have two plants I’ve managed to keep alive indoors. Otherwise, I’m hopeless.

  2. Kylie

    December 8, 2008 at 6:41 am

    These are all the things I grew up with, except the pillows and mattresses were enclosed in plain old plastic. My dad was a germophobe and my sister and I had allergies.

  3. psychmamma

    December 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Insta-Mom –

    I used to have the same plant-killing tendencies. The key (truly) is finding ones that require very little care and work in your environment. Good nursery people (NOT the ones at Lowes – Ha!) can help you choose them.

    Kylie –

    I’m hoping he used non-crinkly plastic for the pillows and mattresses that didn’t keep you awake every time you rolled over. Did he keep your couch and lampshades covered in plastic too?


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