No matter you have been staying in an old house for long or in a recently constructed one, your home could be harboring unhealthy (and invisible) toxins for sure. These chemical compounds are found in emissions from paint, plastics, carpet, cleaning solutions, and numerous building materials.
There are three major offenders found in the home include:
• Formaldehyde: in carpets, upholstery, glues, paint, and more
• Benzene: in plastics, synthetic fibers, lubricants, rubber, pesticides
• Trichloroethylene: in paint removers, rug cleaning solution, adhesives
Luckily there are many powerful air-cleaning plants that naturally remove pollutants from the air. We picked our favourites and offer tips on how to keep them in top working condition, on the basis of Clean Air Study conducted by NASA to demonstrate the effectiveness of particular plants to purify air.
Our recommendation: In a 2,000 square foot house, bring in 15 to 20 plants in 6-inch pots or larger. Rather than scattering single plants, create group displays in each room for a great look and maximum air quality.
The English ivy has been rated as the number one best air-filtering houseplant by the NASA scientists, as it is the most effective plant when it comes to absorbing formaldehyde. It’s also incredibly easy to grow and adaptable — try it as a hanging or a floor plant. Grow in moderate temperatures and medium sunlight.
This hearty, climbing vine thrives in small spaces and also fares well in rooms with few windows or little sunlight.
How this plant helps is its dense foliage excels at absorbing formaldehyde which shows up in wood floorboard resins and synthetic carpet dyes.
This large group of houseplants offers selections in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There’s a dracaena for every light situation. While this slow-growing shrub can get quite tall (up to 15 feet), it’s relatively compact and will make the most out of whatever floor space you can offer it. For best results, keep one in a room with high ceilings and moderate sunlight, and water occasionally. Its red-trimmed leaves will deliver a dose of unexpected colour.
This plant will take care of gases released by xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, which can be introduced by lacquers, varnishes, and sealers. Keep the soil damp but not soggy. A pot sitting in a water-filled saucer is the kiss of death for this plant. Feed monthly during spring and summer with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.
Among the few air purifiers that flower, the peace lily adapts well to low light but requires weekly watering and is poisonous to pets.
This year-round bloomer rids the air of the VOC benzene, a carcinogen found in paints, furniture wax, and polishes. It also sucks up acetone, which is emitted by electronics, adhesives, and certain cleaners.
To maximize the plant’s air-cleansing potential, keep the foliage dust-free. The peace lily thrives in both low and bright light and the pristine white blooms are a bonus with this efficient plant.
Snake plants don’t need much light or water to survive, so they’re an easy choice for any corner of your home. The plant absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during the night (while most plants do so during the day), so add one to your bedroom for a clean-air boost.
Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this sharp-leafed plant rids air of formaldehyde and benzene.
The attractive bamboo palm also made NASA’s list of top clean-air plants and it’s particularly effective at clearing out benzene and trichloroethylene.
A superstar of filtering formaldehyde, these palms thrive in full sun or bright light. Part of the reason they can filter so much air is that they can grow to be pretty big—as tall as four to 12 feet high, making them exciting (and pet-friendly) indoor additions.
Although this palm requires bright light to flourish, don’t place it in direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist and feed your plant monthly during summer with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. Placing the plant where air circulates freely and occasional misting both help deter spider mites.
One of the most common house plants, spider plants are decorative, easy to grow, and also make the NASA list of the best air-purifying plants. Spider plants are effective at fighting pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
Virtually indestructible, golden pothos consistently grows in high gear and is considered one of the most effective indoor purifiers of the plant world. Show it off in a hanging basket
Golden pothos grows in any light situation except direct sunlight. Water it when the soil becomes dry to the touch.
This fast-growing vine has a reputation for flexibility and its’ dark green leaves with golden streaks and marbling make it an eye-catching addition to a home or office.
Rubber plants are evergreen trees from India. Tropical in appearance, they make handsome container specimens. Leaves are typically broad, deep green and shiny. However, some varieties exhibit cream variegated and purple tinged foliage. Rubber plants are supposedly efficient at removing formaldehyde, trichloroethylene & carbon monoxide from the air.
They particularly grow in full or bright, filtered light. When in growth, water moderately and apply a high nitrogen fertilizer monthly. Keep the compost moist in winter. Some pruning may be necessary to reduce plant size. Retain leaf shine by wiping with a damp cloth periodically.