NASA Approved Plants to Purify Your Home
18 jul 2018
Indoor air pollutants are considered one of the EPA’s top 5 environmental risks to public health. Here's how you can grow fresh air.
Living and working in buildings with poor air quality can cause a number of health problems, but sadly many of these symptoms are dismissed as normal nuisances, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and eye, ear, nose and throat irritation.
Sources of this air pollution can include furniture, upholstery, cleaning products, carpets, building materials, mold, fireplaces, wall paint and more. This can all be exasperated by dirty air conditioners and a poorly ventilated home, with stagnant air encouraging an unhealthy build-up of pollutants.
Thankfully, top NASA scientists have found a surprisingly simple and affordable solution to the issue of indoor pollution - common house plants.
How does this work? As plants take in carbon dioxide to convert it into fresh oxygen through photosynthesis, they also absorb harmful toxins such as formaldehyde (found in varnishes and floor finishes) and benzene (detergents and plastics). The microorganisms present in the soil also contribute to this cleaning effect .
Considering we can spend up to 90% of our time indoors, isn’t it time you purified the air in your home? Here are 13 low maintenance plants that will do the trick.
The versatile aloe vera plant has an impressive repertoire of skills. Not only is it easy to care for and helps to remove formaldehyde, it contains a clear liquid full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also releases fresh oxygen and is said to promote healthy sleep!
This durable house plant is great for dust allergies and has been shown to remove up to 90% of toxins from a room in just two days, including formaldehyde and xylene. They enjoy bright, indirect sunlight and are super easy to grow, and will eventually produce little spiderettes that you can propagate all over your home.
This aptly names plant will take care of your family with its ability to remove formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene and xylene from rooms.
Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
If you have the dreaded “ black thumb”, this is the plant for you. The Snake plant is hard to kill even for the most neglectful of households and removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene from the air.
The Chinese evergreen is one of the few plants that can cope with a dark teenage bedroom, and actually removes more pollutants as time and exposure continues.
The long leaves of the dracaena plant (often striped with white, cream, or red) make them popular indoor plants. It’s known to remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene. Avoid this plant if you own pets however, as it’s toxic to dogs and cats.
This plant was particularly popular during the Victorian era, and ranks number 9 in NASA’s list of 50 air-purifying plants. It’s powerful at removing formaldehyde and xylene.
This southeast Asian native can grow up to 10 feet tall outside and enjoys bright, indirect light. Don’t worry, it will stay a perfectly manageable size when kept indoors in a pot, and will help to remove pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
Peace lilies are petite and glossy plants that enjoy the shade and little water. They will produce white flowers in summer, and can improve indoor air quality by up to 60%.They absorbs ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene as well as mould spores. Like all flowering plants, they will contribute to pollen, so avoid going overboard and keep away from your dogs and cats.
This impressive plant can grow up to 12 feet high when given enough light, and are great at filtering benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene. They’re pet-friendly too.
In addition to “mopping up” pollutants, the areca palm releases moisture in the air making it a great option for people with dry throats or sinus issues.
English ivy was found to remove 78% of airborne mould in 12 hours in a study by The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, making it a great addition to your home.
The Lady Palm is one of the most effective plants at purifying the air of formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and toluene. It’s also great if you have cats, as it helps to neutralize that dreaded litter box smell.
Airborne pollutants may be lurking in the most benign of places in your home, but thankfully fresh air literally grows on trees. If you needed any more convincing to incorporate some plants into your home decor, they have also been shown to improve mood, focus and lower stress levels - is there anything they can’t do?!