You might not think it, but your home could have very poor air quality. Air pollution from the outside world often seeps into your home, and when allowed to build up it can become a severe health risk. This can lead to a variety of health problems such as asthma, cancer, and even heart disease. But thankfully there is an easy way to mitigate these risks, and it’s all thanks to NASA. Back in 1989, they did a study on how to improve the air quality in their space shuttles. They found that some houseplants each had a unique was of naturally cleansing the air from toxins. Bringing potted plants into a living space to liven it up is a trick that’s often used by interior designers. Now you have a health motivation for doing it as well.
How Do Indoor Plants Clean the Air?
So how does it work? Plants absorb air-polluting organic and inorganic chemicals and break them down into compounds that the plant can use for energy. Microorganisms that are present in the soil are also responsible for much of the cleaning effect. All that’s needed on our part is to make sure the plants receive enough water and sunlight for survival. Just imagine the cost of some of those fancy air filtration systems out there. It’s a bit surprising that more of us don’t just purchase some plants instead. So if you’d like to cleanse your air, bring some beauty to your home and improve your mental well-being, here are some plants you should start looking for.
These plants are known for their beauty and are easy to take care of. They require very little water to stay healthy which is a great thing for those who lack a green thumb. The research by NASA found that Peace Lillie’s are the most effective at removing airborne compounds such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene. Place them in a shaded area as direct sunlight can turn the leaves brown. They only require watering once a week, but you should regularly spray the leaves with water vapor to keep it in top health. Their only downside is that if ingested they can be toxic to humans and pets. This is something consider if you have children.
Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue (really, could they have thought of a better nickname?) is a prevalent houseplant that can be used outdoors in areas without direct sunlight. It was found to be one of the best at absorbing formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene. For best health keep it in bright light and be and careful not to overwater it. If ingested it can also be toxic so keep it away from children and animals.
Gorgeous Gerbera daisies not only cheer up your home but do it some good too. Gerbera daisies are rare plants in that they also release oxygen during the night, so keep them in the bedroom for restful sleep. They need sun and water as soon as the dirt in the pot dries out, so they require a bit of maintenance. Gerbera daisies rid the air of benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
The bamboo palm is another popular purifying houseplant due to its tropical look and insect-repelling quality. Known also as the “reed palm,” Bamboo Palms prefer bright indirect light and a temperature of 60-70 F. they tend to lose some of their foliage as they adapt to indoor conditions, but this is normal. Remove the dead fronds but don’t pinch out the tip of new stalks because this will slow or eliminate new growth. This plant also packs a big punch when it comes to purifying the air. The bamboo palm can remove substances like benzene, formaldehyde, chloroform, carbon monoxide, and xylene.
These plants are great for being easy to take care of and providing a handy remedy for a wound or burn-healing emergencies. The gel within each leaf contains a mixture of amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits. It loves being in the sun so keep it by the window. They’re great for purifying the air of formaldehyde and benzene that is found in varnishes, floor finishes, and detergents.
Not only will you love the sweet and plentiful fruit yielded from a healthy ficus benjamina (or weeping fig) the plant needs infrequent watering and indirect sunlight. For someone that doesn’t have the time for heavy caring, this is perfect. Bring it inside during the colder months to decrease pollutants like formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. Move it outside in the warmer months where it will thrive and grow to heights of up to 6-feet. Keep it somewhere that’s bright with indirect sunlight. The soil should be thoroughly dry before you water it otherwise the roots could rot. It can be highly toxic if ingested and produce symptoms such as vomiting, salivation, and oral irritation. Seek help from a veterinarian immediately if your pet happens to take a bite.