Everyone would love to have a fresh, clean living space to come home to each day, and while part of that is up to us, we can put some house plants to work to keep our air clean quite effectively. Thankfully, NASA’s Clean Air Study helps us know which are effective.
Environmental toxins are important to cut down on. With toxins entering our body from our air, clothing, food, water, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos etc, not being aware of what we’re exposed to can increase our risks of disease.
Eighty-four thousand chemicals are legal for commerce in the US. Incredibly, all are essentially unregulated. In 2011, chemicals accounted for more than $763 billion in revenue. For example, the six billion pounds of BPA produced every year generates about $8 billion in profits for its manufacturers.
One thing many people don’t realize is that especially during winter months the air in your house doesn’t circulate and filter as well. When you use cleaning products and things like that, you are toxifying the air pretty quickly without having anything to help clean or circulate the air. You and your family then breathe this air all day long. This is partly why it’s so important to choose all natural cleaning products as much as you can.
Whether you are in a small apartment or a big house, having clean air is important. Plants are great for removing carbon dioxide from the air but some plants are even more powerful than that and can do a great job improving the air quality in your home. Plus they look great and carry a great energy.
If you use low quality and toxic detergents and cleaners in your home, this plant can help filter the air in your kitchen. It’s highly recommended to use environmentally sustainable cleaners that don’t make the air in your home toxic to begin with.
English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
If you grow English Ivy, it’s best for pots due to its invasive nature. Research found it to be useful in eliminating airborne fecal-matter particles. The plant is also great for a family who still allow smokers to smoke inside. Its ability to soak up carcinogens from second-hand smoke helps to purify small areas. It’s flexible when it comes to growing conditions and doesn’t require much maintenance.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
The perfect fit for any laundry or bathroom, the peace lily specializes in the removal of mold spores. The plant itself does not require large amounts of water or sunlight to survive and even features often beautiful flowers that make it a decorative piece. In addition to mold, the plant is also known to remove formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. (Warning: If you own or live with cats the Peace Lily is known to be extremely toxic to cats if they consume it)
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii)
Normally never growing larger than 10 feet tall, the Bamboo Palm is an easy addition to almost any interior space. As a plant is it recognized as one of the best at filtering out benzene and trichloroethylene, both of which can regularly creep into living spaces. The bamboo palm is also great next to pieces of furniture that may be prone to off-gassing formaldehyde, another toxin it can naturally handle pretty well.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
What truly makes the Chinese Evergreen cool is the development of its effectiveness. The more time the plant spends in a space, the more effective it becomes at removing the air pollutants and toxins of the area. Much like the Peace Lily it can happily exist in even a low-light setting and can often bloom and produce berries as well.
The Aloe Vera plant is incredibly easy to grow and maintain, and like many of its counterparts is wonderful for filtering out air pollutants and toxins. However what sets the Aloe Vera plant apart is the healing ability of the gel within each of its leaves. Rich in vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B12 and many more the gel can effectively be used to help heal cuts and burns. Aloe has also been linked to assist with detoxification, alkalinity, digestion, the immune system, skin health and much more. It truly is a super plant that can even be easily grown in a small pot on a window sill.
This beautiful flower does a great job cleaning the air, removing unwanted odors, killing bacteria and it also helps to keep moths away. If you use the essential oils from the plant, they are great for sleep and calming the nervous system.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
The Spider Plant requires natural light but shouldn’t be exposed directly to the sun. We have a bunch of these around our office at CE and we love them. They thrive quite easily and don’t take much maintenance. They do a great job of sequestering carbon monoxide so a kitchen is a great place for these. You can even make more plants from this plant very easily as it grows baby versions of itself.
Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)
Like its name suggests the Rubber Plant is one tough character capable of surviving and thriving in much less light and lower temperatures than most plants of its size. Of all Ficus plants tested, it scored the best in removing toxins and pollutants from the inside of homes. It is especially tough on formaldehyde.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
The Snake Plant focus on doing it’s important work at night. It sucks in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during the night, helping people sleep better. Many choose to keep it in their bedroom or carpeted living room. As with many of the plants in this list, it’s easy to take care of and it can even prevent the formaldehyde that leaks from your carpet and wood furniture from sticking around the air.
Reprinted with permission from Collective Evolution.