The Four Best Natural Air Purifiers

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Despite the popularity of mechanical air purifiers and filters, concerns over chemicals used in the purification process have led to alternative methods of cleaning air in the home or office. Rather than purchasing expensive, noisy and potentially irritating Ionic or ozonolysis air purifiers, natural solutions are offering cheaper, cleaner and safer methods for ensuring the air is free of dust, smoke and other contaminates.

Concerns With Mechanical Air Purifiers: Though they became popular for their claim to clean and purify air silently and without the use of a disposable filter, Ionic and ozonolysis air purifiers release ozone, a potential pollutant. Up to 2.2 milligrams of ozone may be released into a room per hour by Ionic purifiers, and up to 200 milligrams per hour by purifiers employing ozonolysis; amounts that can possibly leadto lung damage, shortness of breath, throat irritation, and an increase in asthma irritation.

Natural Alternatives: A variety of natural alternatives to mechanical air purifiers exist and claim to not only clean the air in a home or office, but do so with no chemical or physical side effects or residue.

  • Beeswax Candles: Candles made of 100 percent beeswax claim to work similarly to Ionic air purifiers, negatively charging ions as they burn. The negative ions cling to harmful, positively charged airborne contaminants like allergens, dust and toxins, essentially cleaning the air around the candle. All of this occurs without the byproduct of ozone, a concern with Ionic and ozonolysis mechanical air purifiers.
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  • Plants: In the 1970's, NASA scientist, Bill Wolverton, conducted studies on the air cleansing effects of specific plants after it was discovered that swamp plants were eliminating toxic waste leaked from a government testing center in Florida. After finishing his study, Wolverton concluded that specific plants provided incredibly effective methods of cleansing the air of toxins, and should be kept in homes and offices. As the plant emits water vapor, the vapor creates a pumping action, pulling contaminated air down towards the plant's roots where it is converted into food for the plant. The top 12 plants found to purify the air:
  1. Chinese evergreen
  2. Peace lily
  3. Arrowhead vine
  4. English ivy
  5. Corn plant
  6. Devil's ivy
  7. Bamboo palm
  8. Rubber plant
  9. Gerbera daisy
  10. Florist's mum
  11. Boston fern
  12. Dwarf date palm
  • Salt Lamps: Made of large chunks of salt crystal, salt lamps are often mined in Russia, Europe and the Himalayas. Once the salt crystal is hollowed out, a candle or light bulb can be placed inside. As the salt is heated by the flame or light bulb, it releases negative ions, much like ionic air purifiers and beeswax candles. Again, the negative ions created by the salt lamp cling to toxins in the air, purifying the room around it, without the possibly harmful side effects of ozone emission. Ranging in color from dark pink to light orange, these lamps provide a beautiful and safe alternative to mechanical air purifiers.
  • Activated Carbon: A natural alternative for air filters employs activated carbon and can be installed in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems, or used elsewhere around the home or office. The carbon acts as an effective odor eliminator and air purifier by trapping contaminates in its pores.

Air Contaminate Prevention: Another easy way to keep air clean in your home or office is to reduce the amount of contaminates released into the air. By switching from traditional cleansers and deodorizers to natural, non-toxic options, the amount of air contamination in a closed space can be dramatically reduced.

  • Sprinkling and then vacuuming up baking soda on rugs and carpets rather than traditional chemical cleaners provides a safer, cleaner option, while reducing in-air toxins.
  • Using glass cleaners that contain natural ingredients like sodium carbonate, feldspar and calcium carbonate also prevent the spread of harmful chemicals throughout the home.
  • Household cleaning product ingredients to avoid include: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide.

Preventing indoor air pollution can be easy. By adding these simple natural air purifiers, the air in your home can be purer, fresher and healthier.

Last Updated: July 21, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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