Did you know the air inside your home is probably more polluted than outside? The EPA estimates that on average many common pollutants are 2-5 times higher indoors compared to outdoors. And keeping things squeaky clean could be adding to the problem.
When a home is airtight it improves energy efficiency, but on the flip side it can also make the air inside stale. Cleaning products, aerosols, dust, dander, paint, carpet and a number of other things affect the air quality inside. If the doors and windows stay shut those pollutants just continue to accumulate and cause health problems for the people who live there.
In areas like Texas, keeping the windows and doors open just isn’t feasible during certain times of the year. So what’s a homeowner to do?
NASA was faced with that same problem once they started shooting astronauts into the cosmos to live in space stations for months on end. They definitely can’t open things up to air out the space station. In addition to cleaning out air filters with specialized vacuums, NASA found plants also help clean the air.
Houseplants are natural air purifiers. They absorb air pollutants through their leaves and roots, effectively removing harmful compounds from the air. NASA’s Clean Air study also found some plants are more effective at removing pollutants than others.
Since it’s National Indoor Plant Week, we thought it was the perfect time to highlight some of the houseplants that do the best job of cleaning the air. Breathe a little easier by putting a few of these plants around your home.
Few plants are as good at purifying the air as peace lilies. They can remove all five major toxic agents out of the indoor air. Those toxins include formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene.
Only the chrysanthemum is known to remove all five major toxins like peace lilies. Just keep in mind chrysanthemums are toxic to mammals if any part of the plant is consumed. If you have pets be careful where you put chrysanthemums.
This ivy that’s commonly found creeping up exterior walls is among the best pollutant removers. It’s been shown to remove formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene from the air.
Variegated Snake Plants
The reptile may make your skin crawl, but variegated snake plants are a welcome addition to the home. The long, tall leaves are great at absorbing formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene.
This evergreen tree offers year round air purification. Of all the dracaena varieties, it’s the best at removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. It can also remove benzene toxins as well.
Orchids are known for their beautiful coloration, but there’s something else that makes them special. Instead of putting them on display in the living room, orchids are welcome addition in the bedroom because they purify the air at night.
Other pollutant-cleaning plants to consider moving indoors include:
- Cornstalk Dracaena
- Barberton Daisies
- Broadleaf Lady Palm
- Flamingo Lily
- Devil’s Ivy
- Weeping Fig
- Bamboo Palm
- Chinese Evergreen
- Spider Plant
- Kimberly Queen Fern
- Boston Fern
- Dwarf Date Palm
If you’re moving to a new home it’s a great time to consider how houseplants can be used to purify the air. NASA suggests adding at least one of the houseplants above for every 100 square feet.