Did you know plants can help eliminate allergens and toxins in your home? Here’s how to put your greenery to work purifying the air.
Why do I need to purify my home’s air?
Toxins, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and pollutants abound in many common household products, including carpet, upholstery, building materials, paint, even cleaning solutions. In addition, allergens in the air from flowering trees and plants can aggravate respiratory problems. Your home’s HVAC filters might not catch all of them.
Aromas from cooking get absorbed by both hard and soft surfaces in your home. When selling, odors can assail potential buyers’ senses and give a negative impression of your home. Air-purifying plants work well in combination with room purifiers and filters.
How many air purifying plants do I need?
NASA recommends one plant per 200 square feet for best results and purest air. However, when staging, lots of plants clutter the space and take attention away from your home’s best features. Limit plants to one small section of the living room and a few herbs in the kitchen. For best effect, use air-purifying plants for several months just before listing, then scale back. When staging, less is more.
How do air-purifying plants work?
While extracting carbon dioxide from the air, plants also pull in toxins and allergens. They then go through photosynthesis to become oxygen. However, potting soil contains microorganisms which perform the majority of the cleansing effect. Using high-quality potting soil in addition to the plants listed below will yield the best results.
Types of plants
Many require little to no skill to maintain. Rubber trees, philodendron, and peace lilies are all easy-to-care-for air-purifying plants. Here are a few more.
- Aloe. Beyond treating burns with its gel, aloe removes air pollutants found in most household cleaners. The leaves will show brown spots when the air becomes too toxic.
- Bamboo. Rated highly by NASA, bamboo plants absorb benzene (found in inks and markers, soft drinks, and lighter fluid) and trichloroethylene (found in water supplies). Both are considered cancer-causing agents.
- English ivy. This common plant absorbs formaldehyde and adapts easily to various indoor growing conditions.
- Spider plants. These effectively reduce benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide inside your home.
- Snake plants. Have trouble sleeping? Use these in your bedroom as they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen during nighttime hours.
If breathing issues occur in a particular room, place a plant or two there and monitor for improvement. Take note of lighting conditions before purchasing a plant.
Benefits of combating stifled, stagnant indoor air extend to lowering blood pressure and decreasing headaches and dizziness. Many believe air-purifying plants also promote alertness and minimize fatigue, reduce stress and hasten healing rates.