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HomeUncategorizedFive plants to help purify your home’s indoor air. 

Five plants to help purify your home’s indoor air. 


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Xylenes and formaldehydes and benzenes, oh my! These are a few of the toxic chemicals that pollute our indoor air via things like paints, carpets, plastics etc.

With exposure to so many chemicals outside of the home these days, it makes sense to try to keep our indoor air as clean as possible.  

Plants are not only lovely to look at but some of them have the ability to remove certain toxins from the air around them.

A study done by NASA in 1989 called “A Study of Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement” used at least 12 common indoor plants to see if they could remove organic chemicals from indoor air. Some of the plants used were the Peace Lily, Ficus and Mother in Law’s tongue (also known as a Snake Plant).

The 3 chemicals they tested the plants on were possible carcinogens (cancer causing) and teratogens (can cause birth defects) – benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. 

What they found was that the plants, and in one case, the soil, was able to significantly remove the toxins from the atmosphere in the container/s that they were tested in.
“… for virtually all plants tested, the reductions in benzene and formaldehyde are significant. The most interesting observation from data shown in Table 2 is that the mean removal of benzene by the defoliated marginata is greater than the removal by plants with full foliage. This suggests that the plant roots and their associated microorganisms are the major pathway for chemical removal, at least in this study.” ~ pgs. 8,9 of the report. 

As promised, here is a selection of 5 plants that are known to purify indoor air. One recommendation is to have 2 good sized plants in 100 sq feet of indoor area.
1.Devil’s Ivy or pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

These are beautiful plants and look great from a hanging basket. If you don’t have anywhere in your home for a hanging basket they look equally as good in the bathroom on a shelf with their leaves cascading down below. This one can even be kept in just plain water.
Toxins targeted: xylene, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene

2. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) 

Peace Lilys have lovely dark, glossy green leaves and an interesting shaped white flower. They are easy care plants that would do well in a bright spot indoors such as kitchen table, or outdoors in a shaded spot.
Toxins targeted: benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene

 3.  Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) 

Spider plants have lovely long, narrow leaves that are usually green in colour, but the variegated ones have green and white leaves. These are very hardy plants and also do well outdoors. They are easy to propagate as well, so if you buy one you can produce more from the one plant.
Toxins targeted: formaldehyde and xylene. 

4. Areca palms (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) 

Indoor palms are great for larger areas.  They need a bit more water in Summer than the smaller plants, but the bonus is that due to having a bigger, bushy foliage they have greater filtering properties.
Toxins targeted:  benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene

5. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) 

Last but not least on this list is my favourite, the MiL’s Tongue. I would have to say that this is my favourite simply due to the fact that these are practically un-killable. (Ask me how I know!) These can go anywhere and survive because they thrive on neglect.
Toxins targeted: formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene and xylene.

Before you rush out to your large nursery or hardware store and overspend, try scouring your local paper or online ads for local growers, or visit your small local hardware store. Often locals will do deals with you if you buy several plants, and your small hardware store would appreciate your custom.

My local hardware store has a small section for plants that have been marked down. (I’m sure they have that section just for me because they know how many plants I’ve killed over the years!)
Lastly, if you have pets or children, make sure the plants you are wanting aren’t toxic, as some plants



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