In today’s day and age, we give utmost importance to health and quality of living. We opt for environmentally friendly products, choose organic produce, eat antioxidant-rich berries. But, do we consider the quality of the air we breathe?
We cannot control the quality of the air outside our homes, but we can improve and better the quality of air in our homes where we spend almost 90% of our time. Indoor air quality is affected by dirty carpets, dust filled mattresses, unclean leather and upholstery and even dirty tile and grout.
NASA’s Clean Air Study established the following plants are effective at removing pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia from the air. These chemicals are usually linked to health effects such as headaches, irritations and allergies.
1. Peace Lily
Peace Lily’s are favourites of people with a green thumb and without. They come in a wide variety of sizes and types, they are very adaptable and low maintenance. NASA’s analysis of indoor houseplants revealed that the Peace Lily was the most efficient at removing airborne Volatile Organic Compounds, including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene.
They need very little sunlight and watering only once a week for them to thrive and look healthy.
Toxicity- Mildly toxic to both humans and pets if ingested.
2. Snake Plant
Snake Plant’s are front-runners for the “Most tolerant plant”. The care regime of Snake plants is very straightforward, they can be neglected for weeks at a time and their strappy leaves still look fresh. According to NASA, it is one of the best houseplants for absorbing airborne toxins, including formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene.
They can survive in low light levels, drought and have very few insect problems. They love bright sunlight and make sure you do not over water them.
Toxicity-Mildly toxic to pets if ingested.
3. Lady Palm
Lady palm, also known as bamboo palm, parlour palm, finger palm is the easiest palm to grow and care for. They take years to grow into their full height of maximum 6 feet. According to NASA’s Air Study, the lady palm is one of the best houseplants at cleansing the air of formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and toluene.
They are able to tolerate low levels of sunlight, high amounts of water and a wide range of temperatures, although it is recommended to have proper drainage available to avoid root rot.
Toxicity- None recorded.
4. Barberton Daisy
Barberton Daisy, native to South Africa is a flowering plant and comes in a series of colours. Although, perennial to warmer climates it grows well in pots in cooler temperatures. According to NASA’s Air Study, found that the Barberton Daisy’s effective at cleansing the air of formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
A lover of bright sunlight thrives best on warm windowsills. Frequent watering required to avoid wilting. Toxicity- None recorded
5. English Ivy
English Ivy or European Ivy are climbers, therefore most suited for corners and surfaces not easily reachable due to their carefree nature. They are low maintenance, highly useful and attractive as they filter airborne toxins inside your home. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study,
English Ivy is effective at cleansing benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air. Additionally, other studies have indicated that English Ivy also helps reduce mould in your home.
Direct sunlight, frequent watering and constant temperature are all they need. Toxicity- None Recorded.
6. Flamingo Lily
Flamingo lily’s get their name due to their bright colours and waxy nature. They are gorgeous green with bouts of colour. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, the Flamingo Lily are effective at removing airborne formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene and xylene.
They are naturally found in tropical rainforests, therefore it is best to imitate the climate for them to thrive. This includes plenty of indirect sunlight, direct sunlight will burn the flowers and a highly humid environment. Those without the green thumb may find it difficult to care for the flamingo lilies.
Toxicity- They are poisonous to both humans and animals when ingested.
Houseplants help in improving air quality. However, it is recommended to hire a deep cleaning professional for carpet cleaning, leather and upholstery cleaning, tile and grout cleaning every 8-12 months in order to eliminate toxins, dust mites, allergens and bacteria.