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4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)

It’s important to reduce exposure to the overwhelming load of toxins we’re exposed to every day.

Especially during any healing protocol, do things like choosing natural cleaning and personal care products and minimize how often you bring new furniture or building materials into your home.

Instead of emptying your wallet with expensive gadgets and cleaners, there are much easier and cost-effective ways of cleaning your air.

My Home Remodel

While remodeling our home, I have been very careful to choose low VOC and low emission finishes to reduce off-gassing of toxic chemicals. I’m also boosting our indoor air quality with a few easy methods that everyone can use for cleaner air.

Because plants need care and are often toxic to cats and mini humans when eaten, I first looked into alternative methods.

–>High-end air filter…well over $500. Ouch.

–> Bowls of activated charcoal and baking soda…let’s think back to those cats and small humans. Double ouch.

–> Bowls of water with cut onions peppered all over the floor. Seriously?! Who comes up with these things?

Here’s my clean air plan:

House Plants (via NASA research)

4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)

NASA performed an extensive study on plants that could clean the air for extended space station missions.

I took a look through their published study and a handy chart from Wiki to see which house plants gave me the biggest bang for my buck

…and then figured out which ones I could keep alive.


Adding one medium-size plant in a 6-8 inch pot for every 100 square feet in your home is the most effective way to clean the air.

I have a 1700 square foot house, so I’m shooting for 17 plants.

Each species filters different toxins, so a combination of plant types is best.

English ivy is the most effective at removing Benzene (90% in 24 hours), but only removed 10% of Trichloroethylene in the same time period according to the NASA study.

We have a poinsettia, orchid, African violet, and an unidentified tropical plant already. Plus, I’m being a good daughter-in-law and taking an overgrown rubber tree (Ficus elastica) from my in-laws.

To beef up our plant selection, we’ll peruse the local nurseries for something pretty and then choose a combination of the following from the NASA list:

  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)
  • Golden porthos (Scindapsus aures or Epipremnum aureum)
  • Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”)
  • Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue
    (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • Mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Open Windows

4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)Opening windows is a no-maintenance, no cost way to freshen the air and sweep out the toxins.

Try to open them for at least 10 minutes daily.

If you are in an area of high pollution, the plants will help clean the air once you close the windows.

Charcoal Filters

4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution (in Your Home or Office)Small charcoal-filled pouches are great to tuck around the house. They absorb odors, allergens, and VOCs without the watering and maintenance of plants.

These are pretty enough to keep out in view, but I went the cost effective route and bought more of these to hide around the house.

I have had the same charcoal filter bags for almost 5 years and tuck mine under the sofa, in drawers, on top of my grandfather clock, behind books, and on top of cabinets.


What natural air cleaners can you add to this list?

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