As we start to batten down the hatches and hole up for winter we can find ourselves feeling lethargic and allergies increasing. Central heating and triple glazed windows are a blessing when it’s freezing but not great for our respiratory systems. In fact it’s thought the average home can be more polluted than a busy street corner.  

The Royal College of Physicians estimates that indoor air pollution contributes to ninety nine thousand deaths in the UK every year. It’s exacerbated by personal care products, cleaning and laundry products, and of course air fresheners, in addition toxins called VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) are released from electronic equipment, such as computers and printers. And don’t forget the toxins from paint and dry cleaned clothes!

So how do we combat this?  The solutions are actually quite obvious, choose only natural plant based skincare, cosmetics and cleaning products!


To minimise the effects of the toxins especially in your home office use houseplants. Even NASA scientists say pot plants can help clean the air we breathe and can remove formaldehyde for example to a radius of thirty feet.  

If you’re looking for an easy to care for plant then Mother-In-Law’s Tongue cleans the air and is almost indestructible!  These Snake plants aid in removing toxins from the air and require little to no lighting. But be careful as they can be toxic to cats and dogs!




I’ve always recommended Spider plants (very hardy and don’t even need to be talked to!)


New research from the State University of New York now agrees, it’s one of the top five, but they have introduced me to another The Dracaena fragrans, otherwise known as the Corn Plant, apparently it can even mop up the most pungent acetone found in nail polish removers (though I’d recommend using an oil based one instead).



Also on the list the Jade Plant, a Caribbean Tree Cactus.




All we need is the air that we breathe…..and the plants to help, they do say one plant for every piece of electronic equipment though,  so your home office may look like Kew Gardens or the Eden Project.

For recommendations on natural cleaning / laundry see my e-book ‘Imperfectly Natural Home’.