Health Article

19 Houseplants for Clean Air

Indoor air can be littered with contaminants like formaldehyde from carpets and adhesives, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paints, petrochemicals from fragrances, and a laundry list of chemicals from fabric softeners. While it’s always important to let some fresh air in, research by NASA found that many houseplants are capable of reducing harmful toxins in the air, such as: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene (TCE), toluene, and more.  The NASA – ALCA clean air study recommended 15-18 good sized oxygen producing plants and air cleaning plants for a 1,800 square foot house.

Benzene is a cancer-causing agent found in many glues, solvents, paints, and art supplies. Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing agent that off-gases from furniture and carpets. Trichloroethylene is a solvent used with metal parts, dry cleaning, paints and paint remover. Toluene is found in nail polish and nail polish remover as well as foam.

The two ways by which plants can clean air are by absorbing contaminants through pores on the leaves, and by metabolizing contaminants through organisms living in the soil. To find beneficial houseplants for your home, watch for the labels on houseplants at home improvement stores or nurseries.

Scientific studies have shown the following list of plants to be the leading air-purifying.  Many of them will also remove mold spores and bacteria from the air while contributing to the humidity level.Dracinia Houseplant

Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm, Reed Palm (Chamaedorea seifritzii) benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene (TCE) , toluene and xylene, converts CO2 (carbon dioxide to 02 (oxygen)

Boston fern (Nephrolepis exalta) formaldehyde, toluene, xylene

Chinese Evergreen: (Aglaonema hybrids Deborah, Silver Queen) benzene, formaldehyde

Chrysanthemums or mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium) ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, TCE, toluene, trichloroethylene, xylene. (the most effective plant against TCE according to NASA)

Common Ivy or English Ivy (Hedera helix) benzene, formaldehyde, mold and mildew, octane, toluene, xylene (the most effective plant against benzene according to NASA)

Ficus tree or Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) benzene, formaldehyde, octane, TCE, terpene

Gerbera Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii or Gerbera x hybrida) benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.

Mass cane/Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans CV massangeana) benzene, formaldehyde, TCE (the most effective plant against formaldehyde, according to NASA)

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, TCE, trichloroethylene, toluene, xylene

Philodendron (Philodendron ssp. Including P. cordatum, P. monstera) formaldehyde

Purple heart (Tradescantia pallida)—benzene, TCE, terpene, toluene

Red-Edged Dracaena (Dracaena Marginata) benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene, xylene

Red Ivy (Hemigraphis alternate) benzene, terpene, TCE, toluene, octane

Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum, Chlorophytum elatum) formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, xylene and toluene.

Wax plant (Hoya carnosa) benzene, octane, TCE, terpene , toluene,

Warneck Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’) benzene, toluene, trichloroethylene, xylene

Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina) formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.

Chose houseplants that are NOT TOXIC to your family or your pets.  Please do your research as to what plants are safe to have around your pets.  A quick internet search can save you pain and heart ache from a sick child or pet.

Care 2, Accessed March 28, 2013.

Guide to  Accessed March 28, 2013.

Renegade  Accessed March 28, 2013.

Zone 10, NASA STudy House Plants Clean Air. Accessed March 28, 2013.

NASA Clean Air study.  Accessed March 28, 2013. /doc/1837156/ NASA-Indoor-Plants