It's Earth Month, and green living is getting some serious attention. Whether it's large-scale initiatives like BICEP's Climate Declaration or your highly eco-conscious neighbor telling you over the fence about his new, green lawn care solution, greening the entire planet can feel overwhelming. But you can definitely green your home—or even just parts of it—and make a huge difference.
Spring cleaning makes the perfect jumping off point. It's not just about getting down on all fours to fetch dust bunnies from their hiding spots under the one storage cabinet you never use. It's also about throwing open your windows, inviting fresh air for a visit, and feeling new again. One easy path to greening your home? Commit to cleaning the air inside and living more toxin free.
Adding plants that clean the air inside your home is a great place to start. Every sprout brings a burst of color and freshness. If anyone knows the importance of fresh air, it's NASA, who completed research on the best plants for maintaining air quality inside a space station. They recommend about one small plant for every 100 sq. feet of space in your home.
While their list is ideal for a home (or space station!) without pets or children, many plants that help your air quality are toxic if ingested. To avoid toxicity of any sort, try these three NASA and ASPCA favorites that are safe for children and pets:
Spider plant (Chlorphytum comosum)
Perfect for hanging or for a coveted spot on your desk, the spider plant helps clear out formaldehyde.
Bamboo or reed palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
Bamboo adds an exotic element to your room and will live long and prosper while it handles formaldehyde like it's its job.
Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)
As if the way it looks didn't make it cool enough, Lady palm also helps clear your home of one of the most olfactory-offensive substances that could pervade your air: ammonia.
During your quest for fresh, pay attention to olfactory offenders—your nose knows best and can steer you in the right direction: toward a more toxin-free household.
While you're sniffing around, opening windows, gathering greenery and dusting bunnies, take a second look at the familiar fibers that surround you. In general, curtains, carpets, clothes and couches might contain chemicals of concern. Check the tags or call the manufacturer to get a gauge for toxin content. Words like permanent press and wrinkle-free can sometimes hint at something less appealing.
Visit our Campaign for a Toxin-Free Generation page for more great tips on keeping your home green, year round.