Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is a real concern that can affect your health and comfort. It has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, coughing, watery eyes, sneezing and congestion, as well as linked to chronic heart and lung problems.
Although the most effective way to improve IAQ is to eliminate or reduce specific sources of pollution, such as chemical cleaning products and flooring that off-gases, plants can help purify the air we breathe indoors.
According to a NASA study, efficient air cleaning may be accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of space.
But while all plants filter out harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, they are not created equal. Some species are better indoor air cleaners than others. Here are three that do a great job of purifying the air we breathe. Just remember to keep them out of reach of children and pets as some plants and their parts can be toxic.
The peace lily removes the three most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene — from the air and can combat toluene and xylene. This beautiful evergreen plant is relatively easy to care for, enjoying medium to low light. It is far more tolerant of under watering than over watering and will show signs of drooping when it’s thirsty. Alternatively, check the soil once a week. If dry, water. When damp, wait.
Bamboo palm is particularly effective at filtering out benzene and trichloroethylene. It’s also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde. Just be sure not to put this plant in full sun if you want it to survive. It prefers part sun, though it can manage fine in full shade. Also, while bamboo palm likes to remain consistently moist, it doesn’t tolerate standing water. One to three waterings a week is ideal.
The spider plant’s rich foliage and tiny white flowers work hard to remove harmful air pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. It is resilient, adaptable and easy to grow, thriving in indirect light. The spider plant dislikes soggy soil, so let it dry out slightly between waterings. Don’t be fooled by brown leaves as this may signal over watering.