I’ve been thinking of plants a lot lately. Although we garden we have hardly any plants in our house! We have one clover plant that sits on our fireplace, but other than that we have absolutely nothing! (Until today, we went to our local gardening store and got a little Golden Pothos.)

I’ve heard a few people over time express how they have a strong dislike for houseplant because of how dirty they are. They couldn’t be more wrong!

Why are house plants so important?

Research has shown that having house plants reduces stress levels, increases oxygen and cleans the air. So even if you hate gardening you can have a lot of the benefits gardening gives!

Top houseplants for cleaning the air:

  • Snake plants: Great for filtering out Formaldehyde and air pollutants: It’ll do great in the bathroom with low light and humid conditions.
  • Golden Pothos: Also great for filtering out Formaldehyde. Stays green even if kept in the dark!
  • Chrysanthemum: Great for filtering out Benzene.  Loves light and warmth, so put next to a window 🙂
  • Red-edged dracaena: Great for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Grows VERY tall.
  • Weeping fig: Fickle plants, but great for removing formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
  • English ivy: Has found to remove air born fecal matter in the air along with formaldehyde.
  • Warneck dracaena: Kills pollutants that have been related to varnishes and oils. Does not need direct sunlight.
  • Chinese evergreen: Filters out a variety of air pollutants and begins to remove more toxins as time and exposure continues.
  • Heart leaf philodendron: TOXIC to plants and kids. But GREAT at removing all kinds of VOCs. There are also great at battling formaldehyde from sources like particleboard.
  • Peace lily: On the Top of NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.
  • Aloe vera: Sun loving plant! Helps kill formaldehyde and benzene.
  • Spider Plant: battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
  • Rubber tree: VERY easy plant to grow, acts like an air purifier.
  • Bamboo palm: On the top of NASA’s list for clean air plants. Great at clearing out bezene and trichloroethylene.

So add a little green friend to your home and clean the air around you!

Portia Westesen

What’s in your home?


It’s crazy how many chemicals they can pack in those bottles! Check out what ingredients are in your everyday items and what it all means! Two of my favorite sites are below:

Good Guide

Skin Deep

And although most things contain some form of chemicals you can always choose the ones that have a LOT less, or have better alternatives. For example we are starting to switch our house over from classic soaps like Dawn dishsoap to Dr. Bronner’s. I eventually want to start making my own soap, but that’s a little ways off.

Here’s a few examples of common household cleaning products and then a possible alternative!

1a: Dawn dish soap ingredients (from what I could find online): Triclosan, water, magnesium, sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate, ammonium laureth sulfate, lauryl polyglucose, lauramidopropylanine oxide, SD Alcohol 3A, sodium xylene sulfonate, sodium chloride, fragrance, pentasodium pentetate, sodium bisulfite, quaternium 15, D&C Orange 4.

1b: Dr. Bronner’s Citrus magic soap ingredients:  Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Orange Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Lemon Oil, Organic Lime Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol.

2a: Comet scrub ingredients: Can’t find a list of ingredients, if anyone can find them send them my way!

2b: Home made scrub ingredients*: baking soda + dish soap, make into a paste and voila! You can also add Borax and your favorite essential oils into the mix. (*Thanks Christine for the tips on a good scrub base!)

3a: Windex ingredients: Water, Isopropyl Alcohol, 2-Hexoxyethanol, Videt EGM, Sodium C14-17, Sec-Alkyl Sulfonate, Ammonium Hydroxide, Propylene Glycol, Mirapol Surf S-210, Fragrance, Liquitint Sky Blue Dye

3b: Homemade window Cleaner: Vinegar and essential oils

Not only are you using ingredients that are more natural, recognizable and less scary BUT you can keep reusing your own containers! Yay for less waste!

Portia Westesen