At Sqwishful, we're all about celebrating plants every day. But this year for Earth Month, we've picked some of our favorites to give extra cheer to plants that cleanse, purify, and inspire. From roots and herbs to flowers and fungi, these plants deserve our thanks.
Plants That Help Us Clean Naturally
Long before soap was invented and stocking up on cleaning products was a thing, we were using plants to clean our spaces. Palms fronds were made into brooms. Herbs were used as disinfectants. Through biomimicry, plants have become our blueprint for modern cleaners.
Here are some of our favorite plants that help clean naturally:
May Chang or litsea cubeba has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat depression, digestive issues, and cuts and wounds. Its flowery, citrusy scent and antibacterial qualities make it the perfect ally to help keep spaces clean.
There are two ways you can use May Chang—add a few drops of the essential oil to a diffuser to purify your home’s air or make your own surface cleaner.
Here’s a great DIY recipe for a multi-purpose surface cleaner:
- 2 parts distilled water
- 1 part white vinegar
- 15 drops of May Chang essential oil
- 15 drops of Peppermint essential oil
Mix it all together in a spray bottle and use it to clean countertops!
Copalxocotl (aka Soap Tree)
This hard-to-pronounce plant was used by Aztecs in Mexico to clean. Later, adopted by Spanish conquerors, who named it Soap Tree. The roots and fruit from this plant create a lathery soap that can clean both bodies and clothes.
Native Americans and other indigenous communities have been burning sage for centuries. The ritual of smudging with sage cleanses the energy of a room or person and promotes healing. It is also known to enhance awareness and mood.
Plants That Purify The Air
Not only are plants responsible for the air we breathe, but a single plant (plankton!) creates more than 70% of all the oxygen on earth. The remaining 30% is made by forests like the Amazon. And we like to think, our house plants, too.
Here are some of our favorite houseplants that purify the air in your home:
This easy-going, climbing plant reduces airborne particles released every time you flush (yes, plants do that!) while looking cute in your bathroom. It will grow in almost any condition and can be invasive, so it’s best to keep it out of your compost pile.
Aloe Vera not only purifies the air in your home, but this drought-resistant succulent also treats and moisturizes your skin. Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it for its anti-aging properties. Easy to care for and resilient, its leaves can be cut and used for many different purposes.
Unlike most plants that photosynthesize during the day, this succulent plant works hard at night to produce oxygen. It's also great at filtering the air from several chemicals like formaldehyde, making it an ideal plant for your bedroom plant.
Of all the plants studied in NASA's Clean Air Study, the peace lily can remove the most volatile organic compounds or VOCs from the air. A plant-lover staple, its beautiful white flowers make it one of the most elegant air-purifying plants you can get.
Plants That Are Straight-up Cool
We think all plants are worth raving about, and these plants are no exception. They’re as unique as they are cool.
Here are some of the coolest plants we love:
These unusual, primeval plants are also known as air plants because of their unique ability — they don’t need soil to grow. They don’t need to be watered either. They actually grab moisture and nutrients from the air. How cool is that?
With over 20,000 species, orchids are one of the largest family of plants. Like tillandsias, orchids are air plants that can grow on tree bark and thrive without soil.
This one-of-a-kind flower is as unique as it gets. Its corm can weigh up to 220 pounds and grow to 20 ft tall, making it one of the biggest flowers in the world.
Most flowers bloom every season, but not this one. The corpse flower blooms once every 7 to 9 years, and its magnificent bloom only lasts for a day or two. Some take decades to bloom — and when they do, the flower produces an overpowering, rotten smell, where it gets its name from.
Fungi aren’t exactly plants, but we're including them anyway because this fungus is essential for healthy forests. Mycelium is a root system that grows underground — stretching miles across entire forests and natural, wild spaces. The fine thread of mycelium absorbs water and nutrients, creating a network that can spread across both plants and other fungi.
Thanks to this incredible fungus, plants, trees, and flowers can communicate with each other, sending signals and even aiding diseased plants.
Plants That Make the Best Cleaning Essentials
At Sqwishful, we believe in nature’s power to cleanse, purify, and inspire. That’s why all our products are plant-powered.
Here are some of the plants we use that we'd like to give thanks to:
Wood pulp cellulose is abundant, making up 33% of all earth's plants. Wood pulp for paper making dates back to the 2nd century Han Dynasty China. Our wood pulp is sustainably harvested from pine that is hearty and durable.
It's believed that ancient Egyptians used luffas for cleaning and bathing. When dried, this tropical gourd becomes the perfect natural scrubber.
Bamboo has been cultivated for over 7,000 years in China and evolved from prehistoric grasses between 30 and 40 million years ago. This unlikely evergreen is quick-drying and naturally antimicrobial, making it an ideal material for cleaning.
This species of the Agave plant was used by the Aztecs and Mayans to make fabrics and paper. Like bamboo, the leaves of this plant are naturally antimicrobial.
Hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant. Hemp use archaeologically dates back to the Neolithic Age in China, with hemp fiber imprints found on Yangshao culture pottery dating from the 5th millennium BC.
From the Sqwisful team — Happy Earth Month!
We’re excited for another year of celebrating plants and creating products that respect and honor our planet.