Research shows that green plants significantly improves one’s mood, creativity, and ability to focus. So whether you enjoy a view of a park from your window or keep houseplants indoors, surrounding yourself with greenery is always a positive idea. But some houseplants go above and beyond and provide another invaluable service by removing harmful indoor air pollutants from your home. Toxins from various scented aerosols, household cleaners, and chemicals tracked in from other places can build up in the air in your house due to the lack of airflow. This can lead to health issues like asthma symptoms, allergies, and sick building syndrome. With a little help from these air purifying houseplants, however, you can breathe easier knowing your air is clean!
Here’s a Tip: Grow a variety throughout your house, as each plant removes a unique combination of toxins.
The most common indoor air pollutants include:
- formaldehyde, which is found in building materials and fuel-burning appliances
- benzene, which is incorporated into adhesives, paint strippers, and cleaning products
- carbon monoxide, emanating from fuel-burning appliances
- trichloroethylene, a volatile chemical that enters homes from groundwater and soil
- xylene/toluene, which is found in paints, shellacs, and polishes
- ammonia, found in most household cleaners
Air Purifying Houseplants
Aloe Vera: This succulent removes formaldehyde and benzene, and is also great to have on hand to soothe minor kitchen burns. Simply cut off a leaf at the base and remove the rind. Rub the gel inside onto any wounds to cool and soothe your burns. It is also an antibacterial, so you don’t need to worry about getting infection from the raw plant parts.
Areca palms: These palms help to remove benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene from the air.
English ivy: Not only is this vine pleasing to the eye; it is also pleasing to the lungs as it removes benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and trichloroethylene. It grows in full shade to full sun, so gives you great versatility in terms of what rooms you can grow it in.
Dracaenas: Like ivy, Dracaenas remove a wide variety of chemicals including formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.
Flamingo lily: These lilies are one of the few houseplants that can extract ammonia from the air. They also can remove toluene, xylene and formaldehyde.
Gerbera Daisy: Not only do gerberas provide the benefit of removing benzene, they add pops of bright color to your home, sure to improve your mood.
Golden Pothos: Another hard-working houseplant, the Golden pothos plant removes formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide. In a study conducted by NASA, the pothos was ranked as one of the best air purifying houseplants.
Parlor Palm: These long-lived palms can help purify your air for many years by extracting benzene and trichloroethylene from the environment.
Peace lilies: Like the Flamingo lily, these flowers also remove ammonia, as well as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
Snake plant or Mother-in-law’s tongue: These are great houseplants to keep, because they are very low-maintenance. They grow well in dry soil for extended periods of time, and require little light. These houseplants extract formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene from the air and release oxygen at night. All these qualities make them ideal plants to keep in your bedroom for a great night’s sleep.
Spider plants: Another easy houseplant to keep, spider plants remove formaldehyde and xylene from the air. You can spread the air-purifying love by cutting and repotting the spiderettes and gifting them to friends and family.
Ready to get started? Check out the potting soil, creative containers, and fertilizers at Big Earth Landscape Supply.