When most people think about air pollution, what probably comes to mind is belching smoke-stacks or a lot of cars on the interstate spewing out the exhaust. However, indoor air pollution can be an enormous problem too – and one that many people are not greatly aware of.
Chemicals like benzene — used in ink, oil, rubber, or plastic products – or formaldehyde — which winds up in the pressed wood which goes into making household furniture – can make air quality as much an issue for the home as it is for a big city.
Fortunately, there is one great way to help keep your home’s air fresh and clean.
Back in the late 1980s, NASA teamed up with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and did a study about the use of many common household plants for cleaning the air. Below is a list of some of the top performers that successfully absorbed and neutralized these air pollutants – along with a few tips on how to care for them to keep your home clean and green!
English ivy can take over your garden – and your house! –if it is planted outside. Inside and safely in a pot, however, it can be trained into topiary or used in a hanging basket. It is a low-maintenance plant that likes part sun and occasional watering and misting.
Even if it were not so great at cleaning the air, this would be a welcome part of the home for its dramatic, snow-white blossoms. This is another easy-care house plant and tolerates low light. Keep in mind, though, that its leaves are poisonous so it may not be a good choice for homes with pets or young children.
These gorgeous members of the daisy family develop large blooms in a variety of colors and do very well in pots. Like many flowering plants, however, they do require lots of suns and more careful watering and feeding to keep their blooms.
These small shrubs are attractive and well-suited to life in a pot. Their easy care makes them a good choice for new gardeners. Also, they will tolerate low light, which makes them a good choice for rooms that don’t get as much exposure to the sun.
These quintessential fall flowers add some great color to the home in the fall, but are also great at cleaning up the air! They do fine in pots or containers but the most important thing to remember is that they need a lot of sun exposure.
The long, leggy leaves of this plant give it a spidery look that earned it its name. This is another great choice for new gardeners as the spider plant requires little care. It does wonderfully well in a hanging basket, is very resilient, and produces small white flowers as well as “babies” that can be cut from the parent plant and repotted if desired.
This is another great choice for first-time gardeners as this plant is tolerant of neglect or accidental overwatering and nearly indestructible! It is an attractive choice for the home with its gold-speckled large green leaves and does very well in pots.
The long, dark-green leaves of this plant have the sharp edges which earned it its name, but it is an attractive plant nonetheless. One of the great things about it is that it tolerates – and even thrives – in an environment with low light and high humidity. This makes it one of the few good plants to put in your bathroom.
As long as you don’t overwater them and keep them in a sunny window ledge, this attractive, pale-green spiky plant does well and doesn’t require a lot of attention. It is not only a good air purifier, but its gel also has wonderful First Aid properties for minor burns or scrapes.
Rubber plants are the ideal household plant. They do great in pots or containers (the larger the container, the bigger it will grow!) and they are tolerant of low light and do not require very much by way of care. They are, however, excellent air purifiers to have around the home.
Like many members of the palm family, the bamboo palm does well in containers and easily adapts to indoor life. It is easy to care for, but people should be aware that it will not do well in an overheated house, preferring a temperature of 60-75 degrees to really thrive.
Boston ferns are apparently one of the most efficient of Household Plants for Air Cleaner and have attractive, year-round green foliage. However, it is not the best choice for new gardeners, as these plants can be quite fussy. They require a pretty specific feeding schedule (which changes between the summer and winter) and need to be misted and watered daily in order to thrive.
In short, indoor air pollution is definitely a problem because of the chemicals which come into the home through everyday products like furniture or plastics. However, the use of these plants around the house can help to greatly reduce the levels of harmful chemicals and is an easy and inexpensive way to help purify the air. In addition, having indoor plants can make the home more welcoming and attractive as well as making it both greener and a cleaner place to be!
Also Read: Is Air Conditioning Bad for Your Health?