Air Cleaning Houseplants That Can Improve Your Health

Air Cleaning Houseplants That Can Improve Your Health

Spider Plant houseplant on table

The scary bit first... Most of us work in air conditioned offices and our homes have limited ventilation in this cold weather. Furnishings, upholstery, synthetic building materials, and cleaning products can emit a variety of toxic compounds, like formaldehyde. We can spend up to 90% of our time in poorly ventilated environments and indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to our health as stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants to build up. This build up can cause headaches, nausea and eye, ear and nose infections. Yikes!

Lucky for us though, those clever folk at NASA have spent some time investigating the problem and have come up with a solution... Plants!

The NASA Clean Air Study suggests that certain houseplants provide a natural way of removing toxic agents from the air. Plants purify air, making them nature's life support system. Adding potted plants to a room has been shown to reduce the amount of air particulates

So, which houseplants should you consider having in your home? 

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera close up

Aloe Vera is described as an 'Oxygen bomb' as a single Aloe Vera plant can have the impact of nine air-purifying plantsWhat’s great about Aloe Vera is that it emits oxygen at night whilst simultaneously taking in carbon dioxide - something we produce when breathing. All this leads to a purer quality of air and a better night’s sleep. The plant's leaves contain a clear liquid full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Areca Palm 

Areca Palm close up

An elegant palm with delicate fronds makes it a lovely addition to your living room or hall. This plant releases lots of moisture into the air, removes toxins very effectively, is easy to look after and resists insect infestations well.

Spider plant

Spider Plant close up

Spider plants are champion air cleansers and one of the easiest plants to keep, great for busy/forgetful owners. Bright, indirect sunlight and well drain soil and this plant will reward you by removing formaldehyde and xylene from the air. Since formaldehyde is found in common household products like adhesives, grout and fillers, it’s a good idea to keep one of these plants in your kitchen and bathroom. A single spider plant cleanses up to 200 square meters and will absorb toxins, they also "exhale" oxygen during the night. 

Peace Lily 

Peace Lily close up

Peace lilies may be small but they pack some major air cleaning abilities. Really easy to care for, this plant helps to filter out harmful benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde toxins. The moisture given off by its flowers can boost a room’s humidity by up to 5%. This will help with those irritating dry noses. Just be aware that those flowers (like all flowers) do contribute some pollen and floral scents to the air, so you may want to avoid having a room full of them. Put these plants in a shady spot and keep the soil moist without overwatering. 

If you're planning on getting some new houseplants, make sure you consider the following tips:

  • Check if they are toxic to the kids and pets.
  • Wipe the leaves once a week to make sure the plants can perform their best.
  • NASA recommends keeping between 15 to 18 air purifying plants in an 1800 sq. ft house, with only a few of them in each bedroom.

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