When it comes to our home, we want to make sure the air we are breathing is clean and pure, not only for ourselves, but our families as well. In this blog, I will be listing 10 great air purifying plants to have in our home.
Before we get started on that, I want to go over the most common indoor toxins and pollutants that can be found in our home.
A colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that doesn’t cause irritation. Carbon monoxide levels are raised indoors by gas stoves, gas refrigerator, tobacco smoke, wood burning stoves, fireplaces, exhaust from motor vehicles, and other fossil fuel burners. Our brain, nervous tissues, and heart need oxygen to work properly. When carbon monoxide levels rise, the oxygen in the hemoglobin decreases significantly, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A colorless, flammable, and strong-smelling chemical that is commercial used for making building products. The risk of formaldehyde exposure can be caused by brand-new flooring, furniture, particleboard, paneling, cabinet, carpets, and mattresses. Other causes are smoking, paints, cooking, cosmetics, fuel combustion from traffic, etc. Exposure to formaldehyde increases carcinogen risk and can cause throat and nose cancer along with irritation of the eye, nose, throat, some other severe breathing problems, and allergies.
A sweet odor solvent that removes grease from metal parts, an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, wood finishes, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers. Short and long-term exposure can affect the central nervous system with symptoms of dizziness, headaches, confusion, euphoria, facial numbness, and weakness.
A solvent that is used in printing, rubber and leather industries and is also available in small amounts of airplane fuel, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Xylene exposure can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat, breathing difficulty, reduce the function of the lungs, slow response to a visual stimulus, impaired memory, and stomach discomfort.
A solvent that is used in paints and other finishes, adhesives, automotive products, and is also found in some personal care products, tobacco smoke, and gasoline. The nervous system is the most affected when exposed to toluene. Short-term exposure effects can include loss of attention and concentration, vision, and hearing dilemmas, and recalling problems. Long-term exposure can cause necrosis, which is a severe disease.
Nitrogen Dioxide and Ozone
Nitrogen Dioxide is a chemical that does have an odor that is produced from natural sources, motor vehicles and other fuel burning processes. Nitrogen dioxide can affect the human respiratory tract, increase the vulnerability to and severity of respiratory infections and asthma. Long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide in extremely high levels can cause chronic lung disease.
Ozone is the air we breathe. It is not directly emitted in the air, but instead it is created by a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxide and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). This is created by pollutants that are emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources that chemically reacts to sun exposure. Depending on the exposure, these pollutants can cause cough, sore or scratchy throat, make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously, can cause pain when taking a deep breath, inflame and damage the airways, make the lungs more susceptible to infection, aggravate lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, and increase the frequency of asthma attacks.
There is variety of plants that can help eliminate these toxins and pollutants from our home. Below, I will be listing the best plants for this job. Unfortunately, there are plants that are toxic to pets so I will be listing 5 that are pet-friendly, and 5 to avoid if you do have pets.
5 Non-Pet Friendly Plants to Avoid
Also known at the Mother-In-Law’s Tongues, this plant removes several toxins from the air while reducing allergy flare ups and releasing nighttime oxygen. They release a lot of oxygen and adds moisture to the air, which reduces the impact of airborne allergens such as dust and dander.
Plant Care: 5-6 hours of sunlight, water every 2-6 weeks, but make sure the soil is dry before watering, and can survive a wide variety of temperatures except for extremely cold weather conditions.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, xylene, and toluene
This plant is a low maintenance vine-like plant that is labeled as one of the best air purifying plants that increases humidity and eliminates toxins and VOCs.
Plant Care: water every 7-10 days when soil is dry to the touch, bright indirect light, and can survive in both sun and shade.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene
Aside from it being highly effective at removing formaldehyde from the air, the leaves are beneficial to your health. Inside the aloe vera leaves, you will find a clear liquid that is full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Plant Care: place in a location that has bright light, indirect sunlight, or artificial light, temperatures between 55-80 degrees, water every 2-3 weeks in spring/summer and sparingly in fall/winter, and be sure not to overwater. The soil should feel moist after watering, but before watering, make sure the top 2 inches of the soil are dry.
Helps in eliminating toxins from the atmosphere while improving indoor air quality and provides a healthy fresh environment.
Plant Care: partial shade, water only when the top part of the soil is dry and avoid overwatering.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene, and toluene
A popular low maintenance plants that is very effective in eliminating formaldehyde as well as other VOCs. This plant comes in a wide variety to choose from so you can find one that you love.
Plant Care: keep soil moist, drooping and yellowing leaves indicate overwatering, place in bright filtered sunlight such as in front of a sheer curtain in front of a window with sun exposure.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, and trichloroethylene
5 Pet-Friendly Plants
Also known as rubber plant, produces more oxygen than any other plant. Aside from producing oxygen, it eliminates air toxins and removes mold spores and bacteria in the air by 60%. In order to protect its soil, fighting off mold and bacteria is a part of its defense mechanism.
Plant Care: water every 1-2 weeks allowing the soil to dry in between watering, medium to bright indirect sunlight, household temperature of 65-85 degrees, and keep soil moist during winter.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
Removes several toxins and acts as a natural humidifier by adding moisture to the air.
Plant Care: prefer some humidity, indirect light, household temperature between 65 to 80 degrees, keep soil moist, and occasionally mist to avoid spider mites.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, trichloroethylene, and toluene
One of NASA’s top air purifying plants to remove a variety of chemicals from the air.
Plant Care: bright indirect light, high humidity, soil should be moist, but make sure there is drainage.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide
According to a study by NASA, the spider plant is the most effective in removing toxins and is claimed to remove over 90% of toxic agents in the air.
Plant care: water 2 to 3 times per week, cool to average home temperatures while preventing from air conditioning drafts, prefer dry soil, and bright indirect sunlight.
Eliminates: carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene
It removes formaldehyde better than any other plant and acts as great natural humidifier like the bamboo plant.
Plant Care: moist soil, don’t need bright light, high humidity environment. A bathroom would be a great place to have this plant.
As you can see, there are a lot of toxins and pollutants in our home that we are unaware of. Sick Building Syndrome or SBS is a condition that is caused by being in a building or enclosed place that has poor air quality. One of the ways to avoid this is to have an air purifier to cleanse the air, but what better way to purify the air when it comes naturally from plants. It is recommended to have about one air purifying plant per 100 square feet of floor space. Not only are plants beneficial to your health, but it adds a nice touch to your home and/or office.