What might your home or office might have in common with a NASA spaceship? Unfortunately, the answer may be poor air quality.
Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants to build up and stick around in greater amounts than we humans are meant to breathe in.
NASA scientists have been working to understand this problem and find solutions. Their space-age solution was an easy one that anyone can use: use houseplants to clean the air!
Houseplants clean the air by absorbing some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. But that’s not all—microorganisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil, and these microbes are also responsible for much of the cleaning effect.
The Top Air-Purifying Houseplant
In the NASA research, the Garden Mum was the champion air-purifying plant, removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from indoor air.
Popular and inexpensive at garden stores, they can be planted outside after they’re finished blooming. Put them to work in your house!
Other hard working houseplants
Boston Fern – These plants prefer to clean the air from a cool location with high humidity and indirect light. They’re relatively easy to grow, but they do need to stay moist. Check the soil daily to see if it needs water, and give it a good soak once per month. Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene
Snake Plant/Mothers-In-Law Tongue – One of the hardest houseplants to kill, it does need to be watered occasionally. Generally prefers drier conditions and some sun. Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene
Spider plants – among the easiest houseplants to grow. A fan of bright, indirect sunlight, spider plants will send out shoots with flowers that eventually grow into baby spider plants or spiderettes. Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene
Dracaena – Common foliage plants with long, wide leaves that are often variegated with lines of white, cream, or red. Pet owners might want to select a different plant, however, as these are toxic to cats and dogs. Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene
Ficus/Weeping Fig – Grow this low-maintenance houseplant in bright, indirect light and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
Peace Lily –Easy to grow, these plants will flower for much of the summer. Just be aware that those flowers (like all flowers) do contribute some pollen and floral scents to the air, so you may want to avoid having a room full of them. Put peace lilies in a shady spot and keep the soil moist without overwatering. Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
Bamboo Palm – A superstar of filtering formaldehyde, these palms thrive in full sun or bright light. Part of the reason they can filter so much air is that they can grow to be pretty big—as tall as four to 12 feet high, making them exciting (and pet-friendly) indoor additions. Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene
Aloe Vera – In addition to being easy to care for, aloe makes some serious health claims. The plant’s leaves contain a clear liquid full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Pollutant removed: formaldehyde
Life’s short, be comfortable!
We are committed to helping you keep your home safe and your heating and air conditioning systems working efficiently and effectively. When you get back from the local nursery, call us to arrange an appointment!