breathe easy house plants

Indoor air pollution is increasing.  It comes from our cleaning products, paint, our upholstered furniture, cosmetics, dust, flame-retardants, pesticides, radon and more.  With heat and air-conditioning, we spend most days with our windows closed.  The most common indoor air pollutants are formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene and microbial pathogens.  When we breathe in these toxins they end up in our bodies.

NASA conducted a study of houseplants and their ability to purify indoor air.  NASA found that certain plants are good at filtering the toxins out of our air. They recommend that each 2000 sq. ft. home should have 15 to 18 of these plants in 6” pots or larger, and at least a couple of those should be in your bedroom.  If you are overwhelmed at the recommended number of plants be encouraged that many of the following plants take very little work.

In addition to filtering toxins, having indoor plants will increase the oxygen levels in your home.

  • Aloe plants absorb formaldehyde, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.  Aloe plants release oxygen at night. This is one that should be in every bedroom in your house. A bonus is that their goo is wonderful for sunburn and burn relief and is a great first aid treatment. When the toxin level becomes too high the plant will develop brown spots as a warning sign.  It loves sun.
  • One Spider Plant can effectively filter a 200 sq. ft. room.  They need minimal lighting and absorb formaldehyde, styrene, carbon monoxide and benzene.
  • English Ivy is listed as NASA’s number one air filtering plant.  It can reduce 60% of airborne mold and 58% of airborne feces after being placed in a room for only 8 hours.  It has also been shown to filter out formaldehyde.  It likes moderate light.
  • Peace Lily plants filter out benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.  They tolerate shade and need only weekly watering but will function best if the foliage is kept free of dust.  Please note that their leaves are poisonous to both cats and dogs.
  • The Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue is extremely easy to care for and require little or no light.  It is one of the best plants at removing toxins from the air especially carbon dioxide.  While most plants release oxygen during the day this plant releases oxygen at night. Put one in your bathroom where it will enjoy the humidity or in your bedroom for extra oxygen at night.
  • The Rubber Plant is excellent at removing toxins from our air, especially formaldehyde.  They require little light and are very easy to care for.  The leaves can be toxic to pets.
  • The Bamboo Palm is happy in indirect light and prefers to be moist.  It is very good at filtering chloroform, benzene and trichloroethylene.
  • Ficus or Weeping Fig can filter out the pollutants that come with carpeting and furniture like formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.

Wondering about other plants might work for you? Here is an extensive article, 35 of the Best Indoor Plants For Your Home! that will give you more inspiration.

Houseplants that Can Clean the Air is another good resource to find specific plants for your needs.

Speaking of inspirations, have you considered growing plants indoors with grow lights? Here’s an ASE article that provides recommendations,

Grow Herbs, Vegetables and Flowering Plants Inside.

Have we missed your favorite? Or do you have a trick you love to use? Let us know in the comments below.