4 Houseplants That Purify Your Home’s Air

March 13, 2014

This sounds nuts, but it’s true. Your indoor air may be 2 to 5 times—even up to a 100 —times more polluted than the air outside, according to the EPA.

But how can that be true?

Well, common home cleaning products and other common household products are made of chemicals These chemicals emit harmful gases called VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into your home’s air.

Some common VOCs found in homes include:

  • Benzene: A carcinogen found in glues, paint, furniture wax, and detergent.
  • Formaldehyde: Found in personal care products, pressed wood products and furniture. May cause cancer.
  • Trichloroethylene: Found in metal cleaners, paint, paint removers, glues, spot removers and rug cleaning fluids.

An easy, natural ways to rid your home of these VOCs is with air-purifying plants.

Really, plants? Yup. NASA figured it out way back in the 1980s.

They needed a way to keep the air in air-tight facilities nice and clean (they couldn’t crack a window open like you and me.) So they did a study with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America to find which houseplants effectively purified the air.

Here are a list of plants that will absorb the nasty VOCs from your family’s air.

1) Aloe vera

You may know of the aloe vera plant from the gel it creates. The gel is usually used to sooth skin burns and cuts. However, the plant itself can also absorbs VOCs from your air.

This is an easy-to-grow plant and it loves sunshine, making it the perfect air purifying plant for sunny Florida.

Filters out: benzene and formaldehyde (both commonly found in cleaning products)
Where to place: in the living room.

2) Spider plant

This plant has long spider-like leaves. No clue why it it’s called the spider plant, though. Kidding aside, the spider plant makes a great indoor plant because it tolerates artificial light well and only needs indirect sunlight. It’s also hard to kill. Good new for those without a green thumb!

Removes: formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, and xylene
Where to place: near your fireplace or in your kitchen windows

3) Gerbera Daisies

This beautiful plant blooms in nearly every color. And it’s easy to grow! Not only do they purify your air, they continue to release oxygen at night. This helps you breathe easier and sleep better. Perfect for those in your home who suffer from sleep apnea or other breathing disorders.

Removes: trichloroethylene and benzene
Where to place: next to your bed

4) Peace lily
Here’s one of NASA’s top contenders for best air purifying plants

The peace lily is a tropical plant with large white leaves. They’re easy to grow since they only require low, bright light and weekly watering.

Removes: acetone, ammonia, benzene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, trichloroethylene and xylene
Where to place: any window

Other effective air cleaning solutions

If you don’t have a green thumb (or just don’t have any more room for plants) there are plenty of ways to rid your home of harmful pollutants.