5 Air Purifying Plants

courtesy GettyImages

courtesy GettyImages

Whether you live in an urban area or fresh country air, it’s widely known that indoor air can be more harmful to humans and animals than outdoor air. Toxins like formaldehyde, mold, and benzene are found in building materials, household cleaners, paper products, toiletries, and the list goes on. This is often referred to as “sick building syndrome,” and the health effects are real. Ailments like respiratory conditions, headaches, and lessened immune systems can be worsened by what we’re breathing.

In 2008, NASA published a study of the 10 most effective air-purifying plants – and the results are surprising! In some cases, you can eliminate the need for a humidifier or filter altogether, and add some greenery to your surroundings while you’re at it. For maximum effect, display your plants in groups of three, and make sure they’re potted in containers larger than 6 inches.

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English Ivy

English Ivy is NASA’s #1 ranked houseplant for filtering air toxins. English Ivy is a creeping vine that is widely considered to be an invasive species when grown outdoors – it has a tendency to cover buildings and structures with speed. However, when kept trimmed indoors this plant has unmatched air filtering qualities. WebMD says that 60% of both airbourne mold and feces vanished only 6 hours after English Ivy was brought into a test room. This plant is perfect for pet owners, inhabiters of old homes, or anyone who wants a breath of fresh air in a stale room.

 

courtesy GettyImages

courtesy GettyImages

 Areca Palm

Areca Palm is technically an outdoor plant, but those with a large office or home space would do well to get a smaller potted version. This is the most efficient humidifying plant – during winter, it can replace the use of an electric air humidifier completely, as it transpires about a litre of water per day. During summer, it will keep your air moist, and it will remove airborne toxins year round.

courtesy GettyImages

courtesy GettyImages

Peace Lily

If you don’t have the greenest of thumbs but want a flower with a bloom, a peace lily is a great choice. They’re one of the few plants that consistently bloom indoors and produce white, almond-shaped blooms and long stems – all while removing airborne acetone and benzene.

courtesy GettyImages

courtesy GettyImages

 Aloe

This plant does double duty – it’s particularly apt at removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air, and you can break open a leaf and use the gel inside as a natural remedy for cuts and burns. Put it in a sunny spot and watch it grow – aloe can grow for years if cared for correctly. Benzene is a product of the chemical cleaners commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens, so put one there and breathe a (cleaner) sigh of relief.

courtesy GettyImages

courtesy GettyImages

Snake Plant

This is a great choice for those looking for a low-maintenance solution, as they require less work than many other plants. Snake plants are best in a bathroom, as they thrive in humidity and low light. They filter key toxins in sick building syndrome – formaldehyde, benzene, mold, airborne feces, nitrogen oxide and more – but with less upkeep. Bonus: this plant creates more oxygen than it uses, making your air even fresher.

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