Which do you believe is more polluted, indoor air or outdoor air? Hands down, indoor air is going to be more polluted than the air outside. Indoor air pollution has been ranked among the top five greatest risks to public health by the EPA, and stagnant indoor air allows pollutants to build up in inside spaces.
There are items in most of our homes that emit – or off-gas – some nasty toxic chemicals, like formaldehyde. Furthermore, you can be impacted by environmental pollutants like pollen, bacteria, mold, dust and various outdoor contaminants that find their way inside.
Fortunately, there are a number of houseplants that can help us solve many of these air issues. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, these houseplants are practically impossible to kill.
Mums were found by NASA to be a real air-purifying megalith. Chrysanthemums remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air. They’re colorful, beautiful, popular, and inexpensive, plus they can be planted outside, as well.
Spider plants are super easy to grow, so if you’re a beginner, this is a perfect one to start with. It likes bright, indirect light and sends out shoots with flowers on them that will eventually grow into baby spider plants that you can use to make more spider plants that you can share with family and friends. Before too long, you’ll have more spider plants than you’ll know what to do with!
There are over forty different kinds of dracaena plants, with a wide range of color variations, which makes it easy to find the perfect one for you. They remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene from the air. They are toxic to cats and dogs though, so if you have pets, you might want to give this one a second thought.
Ficus trees are a favorite of many people, as they are able to grow quite large depending on the size of pot you have them in. They typically stand between 2 and 10 feet tall and have significant air-cleaning abilities. You can also keep it outside in the spring and summer, after the danger of frost has passed, when it’s easier to keep your windows open for healthy air-flow. The ficus removes benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from indoor air.
My personal favorite in the group is the Peace Lily. Not only does the Peace Lily send up beautiful flowers, but they’re very hardy and have great air cleaning abilities. They flower through most of the summer and prefer shady spots with moist but not soggy soil. Peace Lily eradicates ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from indoor air.
The Boston fern is a gloriously green addition to your home, and likes cool locations with high humidity and indirect light. Bathrooms are a perfect spot for these plants. They remove pollutants like xylene and formaldehyde from indoor air. They can be a bit messy, but if you keep up with the humidity levels – use a spray bottle – you and your Boston fern should be just fine.
You may have noticed the snake plant everywhere from offices to restaurants – and for good reason. They’re easy to grow for even the most novice among us. They need water only occasionally (about once per month) and prefer drier conditions. They don’t need much direct sunlight either. They remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene from indoor air.
Bamboo palms are most effective at filtering formaldehyde. They thrive in full sun and bright light. They grow as high as 12 foot, too, making them an incredible presence indoors if you have the space. They remove benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. This is a great plant to have around when you replace your old carpet with new. New carpet is notorious for off-gassing toxins – especially formaldehyde – into the air!
Aloe is a multi-use plant for sure. Super-easy to grow, this succulent plant has health benefits when consumed internally – in juice or a smoothie perhaps – in smaller amounts, helps relieve burns, and cleans your indoor air as well. It removes formaldehyde effectively from indoor air.
Having these plants inside your house will dramatically improve the quality of the air you and your family breathe, and will also provide you with an increased sense of being connected to nature. You’ll be surprised how much life a single plant can add to a room!