Plants not only add color to your home, they also help to keep the air fresh! When we think of polluted air, we typically think of factories that let off smoke or smog in big cities. Did you know that the air indoors is often dirtier than outside? Even in big cities, researchers have found this to be the case. The air inside buildings can contain dust, mold spores, chemicals from cleaners, fumes from cooking, and more.
Try these clean air plants!
Luckily, there are many ways to clean the air inside like opening windows regularly, using an air purifier, avoiding products that contain harmful chemicals, and filling your home with air cleaning plants! These houseplants have been proven by NASA and others to help clean the air in your home:
This pretty perennial flower is in the same family as daisies, sunflowers, and marigolds. It has great air cleaning potential working to remove all six pollutants listed below from the air. The Florist’s Chrysanthemum or Florist’s Mum likes bright light and prefers to be kept indoors in a cool environment. Depending on where you live, your Florist’s Mum may be difficult to rebloom once their flowers have gone and many treat them like annuals. While pretty to look at, the Florist’s Mum is toxic to pets and people — so keep animals and children away.
The Peace Lily is a popular choice for homes and offices as it is easy to care for and great at removing toxins from the air. Like the Florists’s Chyrsanthemum, the Peace Lily is known for removing six of the most common air pollutants. They require medium to low light and are more tolerant of underwatering than going overboard. Peace Lily’s have green foliage year-round and will bloom white “flowers” if cared for properly. The plant is toxic to animals, however they typically will stop eating it after initial bites irritate their mouth and/or stomach.
English Ivy can be found indoors and out. These plants have been found to remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene from the air. They like bright indirect sunlight as direct summer sun may lead to leaf burn. English Ivy is toxic to pets, so it is best to keep out of reach from your furry friends.
There are many types of dracaenas and they are thought to be one of the easiest indoor plants to care for. Most of them are good at removing pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene — and some, like the Red-Edged Dracaena, can also remove toluene and xylene. These plants do well in filtered bright light — such as through a sheer curtain in a sunny room. Beware if you have pets! Dracaenas are toxic if eaten.
Variegated Snake Plant
The snake plant gets its name from the shape and look of its leaves. This plant is also tough! It can often be neglected for weeks without suffering. While easy to care for, this plant works hard to clean the air. It can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene. The snake plant will tolerate low light conditions, but thrives in bright light. Keep your pets away as snake plants are toxic.
There are many type of palms available for purchase. All palms will help freshen the air, but some will do a better job than others. The Bamboo Palm is best at removing toxins including formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and xylene. The Dwarf Date Palm and Areca Palm are next in line. These palms are not toxic to pets, but some varieties may be so make sure to check if need be. Palms typically prefer bright, indirect or filtered light.
Other plants that rid the air of at least two of the pollutants listed include:
- Barberton Daisy
- Flamingo Lily
- Weeping Fig
- Spider Plant
- Boston Fern
- Aloe Vera
- Rubber Plant
Common indoor pollutants include:
A widely used industrial chemical found in crude oil and gasoline. It is used in the production of plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Benzene can be produced by forest fires, vehicle exhaust, and cigarette smoke. According to the CDC, short term exposure to benzene might cause drowsiness/dizziness, irregular heartbeat, headaches, confusion, and even death if exposed to high enough levels. Long term benzene has harmful effects on bone marrow and red blood cells.
A gas used in making building materials and home products. Formaldehyde is often used in pressed-wood products (plywood, particleboard, fiberboard), permanent press fabrics, glues and adhesives, paper product coatings (paper bags, tissues, paper towels, table napkins), paints and varnishes, cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and foam insulation. Inhaling formaldehyde has been associated with irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Long-term exposure may lead to an increased risk for nose and throat cancer.
A commonly used industrial solvent and degreasing agent. Trichloroethylene might be found in printing inks, rug cleaners, paint removers, adhesives, spot removers, and at the dry cleaners. Trichloroethylene has been linked to gastrointestinal upset, headaches, skin irritation, sleep disturbances, vertigo, and cancer.
A powerful compound used in many household and industrial products. Xylene is primarily used as a solvent in the printing, leather, and rubber industries. It can also be found in gasoline and cigarette smoke. Short term exposure to notable amounts of xylene has been found to cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and throat along with difficulty breathing, impaired memory, stomach discomfort, and possible issues with the liver and kidney. In cases where people have been exposed to high levels of xylene, some have died.
A similar compound to xylene, toluene is almost identical in composition. A little thinner, toluene evaporates faster than xylene. Toluene can be found in nail polish, paint thinners, glues, inks, stain removers, and paint brush cleaners. It may affect your nervous system, causing headaches, dizziness, anxiety, and muscle fatigue. High exposure can lead to loss of consciousness and even death.
A colorless gas made from nitrogen and hydrogen. Ammonia is found naturally in the human body and in nature. It is also produced for use in agriculture fertilizers, refrigerants, plastics, textiles, dyes, and many cleaning products. Being exposed to high levels of ammonia can result in burning of the eyes, nose, and throat resulting in permanent damage or death.
Aside from cleaning the air, houseplants also help to increase humidity, reduce carbon dioxide levels, and cut down on airborne dust particles.
Just like humans, plants get thirsty too! Make sure you check watering requirements for you new greenery as different plants like different amounts.
Has all the planting left you in need of some people fuel? Grab a Svelte® plant-based protein shake! Each shake contains 11 grams of organic protein, 20% of your daily-recommended fiber, and just 6 grams of sugar.