Air Filtering Plants
There are a few things you can do to help improve the quality of the air you breathe inside your home or business. Any good clean-air strategy should include the following:
Using green cleaning products and natural cosmetics
Avoiding dry cleaning
Making plants a key part of your home or office décor
Because plants help filter out carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals (formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene) while producing vital oxygen, they can play a key role in your quest for cleaner indoor air. The following air purifying plants are among the best for clearing away the airborne chemicals that threaten our health and compromise our comfort:
Flowering Plants: The flowering plant varieties below offer the combined benefits of beauty, color, air purification and humidity control:
Peace Lily – One of the most versatile of air purifying plants, the peace lily removes all six of the chemicals discussed above. Shade and weekly watering are all the peace lily needs to survive and produce blooms. It topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs – formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene. An easy-to-care-for houseplant, the peace lily is a great pollution fighter and air-purifier. Enjoys 60-75 degrees temperatures and 55-68 at night.
Chrysanthemum – Like the peace lily, the mum filters out all 6 of the major chemicals, making it a wonderful addition to your protective and air purifying plant arsenal. The blooms help filter out benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent. This plant loves bright light, and to encourage buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.
Gerber Daisy – These lovely blooms filter out formaldehyde, benzene (commonly found in inks), and trichloroethelyne (dry cleaning chemical), brightening your home or office while clearing the air. Add one to your laundry room or bedroom – presuming you can give it lots of light.
Azalea – This attractive flowering shrub neutralizes formaldehyde while bringing beauty to your home. Yearly pruning will help promote new blooms. Bring this beautiful flowering shrub into your home to combat formaldehyde from sources such as plywood or foam insulation. Because azaleas do best in cool areas around 60 to 65 degrees, they’re a good option for improving indoor air in your basement if you can find a bright spot.
Green Plants: This selection of popular indoor greenery combines improved air quality with balanced humidity and attractive décor:
English Ivy – Despite its poisonous leaves, English ivy is a very popular houseplant and is best suited for people with asthma and allergic conditions. Easy to grow in bright sunlight, this plant has the amazing ability to remove benzene and formaldehyde and to off-gas various chemicals released by synthetic materials. Thus, it keeps the inside air non-toxic. A study found that the plant reduces airborne fecal-matter particles. It has also been shown to filter out formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products.
Aloe Vera– This healing plant filters out formaldehyde and benzene (a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more) while yielding a gel that can aid in healing cuts and soothing sunburn. Not only does it help with skin burns but also with filtering various gas emissions from dangerously toxic materials.
Rubber Plant – This plant is good for filtering formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia. The rubber plant is known for being a plant that requires little light and can tolerate lower temperatures than most plants. It is especially effective at removing the ubiquitous chemical formaldehyde from the air. It can grow to 8 feet. Enjoys semi-sun to semi-shade and 60-80 degree temperatures, and as low as 40 degrees for short periods.
Spider Plant – Even if you tend to neglect houseplants, you’ll have a hard time killing this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries. For better effect, it should be kept in the kitchen or near the fireplace, as these are the places where carbon monoxide accumulates a lot.
Heart Leaf Philodendron– This climbing vine plant isn’t a good option if you have kids or pets – it’s toxic when eaten, but it’s a workhorse for removing all kinds of VOCs. Philodendrons are particularly good at battling formaldehyde from sources like particleboard.
Boston Fern – An exotic plant that has gracefully arching fronds and frilly leaves, the Boston fern also acts as a natural humidifier. Boston ferns grow better in filtered sunlight and in humid conditions. By releasing moisture into the air, they remove nasty air pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and xylene, providing clean air inside the home. It should be misted regularly. Enjoys 65-75 degrees, and 50-65 at night.