In a world that is slowly becoming more and more environmentally friendly, you may still be unaware that you are polluting the air from the inside of your home. In fact, indoor air pollutants are ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health, according to Greatist. The good news is – you can fight it and it is much easier than you think. NASA has been doing some research in order to improve the air quality in their spaceships – and you can use that knowledge in your house as well. There are some houseplants that you can grow in order to get back your clean air. We are here to introduce you to them and how to maintain them, and after that, it is up to you to do your best to keep them alive, and they will do the same for you.
Number one on both our list and the one provided by NASA scientists is Hedera helix in Latin or, in English – the English Ivy. We have all seen it many times in the outdoors, climbing up house walls, and the indoor one is just as adaptable. It can hang from the wall or be placed in a pot on the floor, it is easy to grow and very hard to kill. Just try to place it somewhere with moderate sunlight and temperatures.
The English Ivy is the most effective plant in absorbing formaldehyde from the air, according to NASA. It is also very good at reducing airborne fecal matter particles. When it comes to this plant, there is definitely no reason for you not to have it – it will keep the air much cleaner and the room much more beautiful.
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Chlorophytum comosum, Hen-and-chickens, Spider Plant and Air Plant – all of these are in fact the same species. It is one of the most common houseplants – easy to grow, decorative and super-resilient. It is not dangerous for your pets and, if you are a very busy person, don’t stress if you forgot to water it – it is virtually un-killable. It grows beautiful small white flowers as a bonus. And, they sometimes grow baby spider plants – spiderettes (this just sounds too adorable).
The fact that they call it Air Plant should give you a clue to how good it is in pollution management. It is capable of destroying benzene, xylene, carbon-monoxide and formaldehyde. And so are its babies. Just put it in a well-lit room, in indirect sunlight, and let it do its thing.
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Another very common plant to grow in your home is the Heart-leaf Philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium). It can grow in very beautiful vines and be a great decorative plant. Get one and it can live for many years and demands minimum attention – water it every once in a while and give it some sunlight, and it will grow.
When it comes to air-cleansing, it is very good at absorbing formaldehyde, especially in high concentrations – much like the English Ivy. It will definitely improve your wellbeing, but keep in mind that all Philodendrons are poisonous when eaten. So, if you have children or pets who like chewing everything, you may want to consider some other plant.
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Not only does this plant clear your air, but it looks amazing. It is one of the few air purifiers that have flowers, and what beautiful flowers they are! With its big white or pink flowers, it will light up every room, figuratively speaking. Spathiphyllum – Peace Lily – doesn’t need much attention or sunlight. Just water it weekly and keep it in cooler temperatures and it will be fine and its flowers will blossom.
It is one of the rare plants that are able to battle the three most common indoor pollutants – formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Other than that, it is also good at absorbing xylene and toluene. Such a powerful plant, but, unfortunately, it is poisonous just like the Philodendron.
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Thankfully, there are some purifiers that are perfectly safe for both your pets and your beloved kids. Scientifically it is called Rhapis excelsa, while in English we have many names for it, such as Bamboo Palm, Little Lady Palm, Miniature Fan Palm, Fern Rhapis and so on. It is like a tree placed inside of a home, and it will bring a special charm to it.
Lady Palm is very good at getting rid of ammonia, as well as formaldehyde. You can keep it in humid or dry climates – in colder temperatures it will just take a winter rest or grow more slowly. You should just make sure that the room you are keeping it in is brightly lit. Moderate watering is enough for it, and the good news about it is that it is resistant to almost all plant insects.
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Begonia Semperflorens – Wax Begonia – grows best in a place with a lot of sunlight. It can have clusters of white, pink and red flowers which will bring some color and joy into your home during the summer season. It is very beautiful to look at, but not so much when it comes to consuming it – so either keep it somewhere out of the reach of pets and children – or go for a different purifier that isn’t toxic.
On the one side we have a plant that is toxic for oral use and on the other – it is “toxic” to the pollutants that inhibit your house. It is very powerful at destroying benzene, as well as chemicals produced by toluene (a liquid that can be found in waxes and adhesives). It is highly recommended by the people of the University of Georgia who studied its qualities.
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Another name for this one may make you laugh – it is also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. Other than that, it can also be found under names of Sansevieria trifasciata, Golden Bird’s Nest and Good Luck Plant. What a variety of nicknames, but the most common name for it is Snake Plant. They are really easy to maintain, don’t need much water or light, so just put it in practically any corner of your house. It is, in fact, one of the hardest houseplants to kill. It can cause poisoning for both humans and animals, keep that in mind.
When it comes to the benefits from it, other than good looks – it can help you get rid of benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, carbon dioxide and formaldehyde. You can put one in your bathroom – it will enjoy the humid conditions combined with low light, while cleaning the air. Also, it is a good choice for a bedroom, since it, as opposed to the majority of plants, absorbs carbon dioxide at night, while releasing oxygen – it will help you have a much nicer night.
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This is a perfect choice for the upcoming fall season since it enjoys cold temperatures. It is a type of Rhododendron – Rhododendron simsii, to be exact. It comes in various colors, such as pink, purple, yellow, white and even red. Match it to its environment or use it to make a cool contrast between your furniture and your décor.
Other than looking gorgeous, this plant is a very good warrior when it comes to air pollutants. Its worst enemy is formaldehyde and in this battle, azalea always wins. Because of its preference for cold places, you can try finding a sun-bathed place in your basement or maybe your kitchen to make it grow in its best quality and its best colors. But, be very careful if you have pets, and even cause their death. So, if you have animals in your house, either lift Azalea to an unreachable place or pick a different flower.
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This is a plant very well known for its many qualities in healing – in fact, its leaves have a kind of a gel that has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and can even cure psoriasis. The vitamins and enzymes inside of it are also great for skin care products. It is a low-maintenance plant – just provide sunlight and let it drain after watering, and it is going to grow beautifully. Its characteristic pointy leaves, spikes and red or yellow flowers will bring you great joy in your day-to-day life.
No wonder, also a great air cleanser. It can help clear formaldehyde and benzene in addition to all the healing things we just mentioned. Alas, it can be very poisonous to your cats and dogs because the gel inside the leaves is covered in a layer of aloin and anthraquinone c-glycoside, and they can be very dangerous.
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The last one on our list but definitely not on the one made by NASA, this beautiful flower has purifying abilities you would never attribute to something so gentle and colorful. And colorful is definitely the right word – they came in practically every possible color and you can mix them together or just pick a different one for each room… possibilities are endless. Just make sure to place them somewhere they will get at least six hours of sunlight – or they will be tall and leggy, but have fewer leaves. Make sure you also water them enough or they will wilt.
Maintaining Chrysanthemum morifolium (which is Latin for Garden Mum) will bring you clean air and beautiful surroundings, but don’t let your pets eat them because they may get some stomach issues. When it comes to pollutants, Mum is great for removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and xylene. They are pretty affordable and you can also plant them outside once they have blossomed completely.
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