In the late ’80s, concerns about air pollution in sealed space habitats prompted NASA to investigate the role of ordinary houseplants in removing toxins from the air. A study published in 1989 listing specific plants and their ability to remove toxins from the air popularized the practice of adding houseplants to private homes to improve the indoor air quality. Some of the highest-rated plants for improving indoor air quality include:
The peace lily scored high on several measures. It removes trichloroethylene (TCE), a carcinogenic chemical found in cleaning solvents, adhesives and paint removers. This plant is also effective in removing benzene, another carcinogenic chemical used to make resins, plastics, rubber, dyes and detergents. The peace lily also removes formaldehyde, a common gas released from new carpeting and some forms of compressed wood, from the air. As an added bonus, the peace lily is an easy-to-grow plant that often thrives in low light conditions. Place this plant where it gets indirect light and water it when the soil dries.
The corn plant (Dracaena Janet Craig) Is another great choice for removing toxins from the air in your home. This plant removes TCE, benzene and formaldehyde and is reported to remove tobacco smoke from the air, too. This plant also thrives in low light conditions, making it ideal for those dark corners where nothing else will grow. For maximum growth, place the corn plant in filtered or indirect light and water it when the soil dries.
Green Spider Plants
Although the spider plant scored a bit lower on the list of plants that remove indoor pollutants, it is effective for removing formaldehyde from the air. This easy-to-grow plant brightens any living space with its cascades of tiny spiderettes. Hang a spider plant in a window that gets bright, filtered light and allows the soil to dry before watering.
The snake plant, also known as the mother-in-law’s tongue, removes both benzene and formaldehyde from the air. This plant also thrives with minimal care. While it prefers filtered or indirect light from a window, it will grow in low light or even under florescent lights. Tuck snake plants on nightstands or shelves and water them only when the soil has dried.
If you have worked hard to make sure your home is airtight to prevent heat loss in the winter, you may be preventing indoor pollutants from household products, like air fresheners and cleaners from escaping. This may cause concerns with the air quality in your home. Using houseplants to improve your air quality is certainly a step in the right direction, but you may need more than an occasional plant or two to keep your air pollutant-free. Buckeye Heating and Cooling offers a range of air filtration systems designed to keep the air inside your home clean. Contact us today to talk to one of our professionals.