Carefully choosing and positioning the right houseplants can make your home a healthier place to relax – no wonder houseplants are making a comeback. But are you aware that they can also purify the air? NASA’s Clean Air Study study found that a plethora of plants neutralise the chemicals found in household products, decorating materials and furniture.
Read our top ten guide to discover which plants are best for detoxing the air in your home – and in which rooms they’ll thrive.
1) Aloe Vera
This popular succulent would make an ideal addition to your kitchen because it purifies the air of formaldehyde (found in varnishes and floor finishes) and benzene (found in plastics and detergents). The gel inside also treats burns, so keep this sun-loving plant on your kitchen windowsill so it’s on hand to soothe your skin in the event of a cooking mishap.
Why not brighten up your living room or kitchen with a chrysanthemum? These eye-catching blooms help to filter out a whole host of toxins including xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia and benzene, which is often found in plastics, detergents, and glue. Be sure to keep it in bright sunlight so its anti-polluting superpowers can be best put to use.
3) Spider Plant
For those of you who are houseplant newbies, the resilient spider plant is a perfect choice. It will quietly battle toxins including carbon monoxide, xylene (a solvent found in petrol and rust preventers) and formaldehyde (emitted with vehicle exhausts), making them the ideal choice for garages and sheds. If you have pets, this is one of the few houseplants that is non-toxic to animals.
4) Red-edged Dracaena
Trichloroethylene and xylene are amongst the pollutants fought by this spiky plant. The leaves have a bright red trim which add a flash of colour to your home. Dracaena is one of the most effective plants at removing pollutants including benzene (found in synthetic fibres and dyes) and formaldehyde (found in paints, wallpaper, and smoke from fireplaces). It may be slow-growing, but it can reach up to 8ft in height. Position it in a room with high ceilings and moderate sunlight.
5) Barberton Daisy
As well as injecting a cheerful burst of red, yellow, orange or pink into your home, the barberton daisy is an effective cleanser of the toxins formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene, found in a range of household materials from paints to synthetic fibres. Trichloroethylene is a chemical used in dry cleaning, which makes the barberton daisy best suited to laundry rooms and bedrooms.
6) English Ivy
As well as filtering out the formaldehyde found in cosmetic products, this easy-growing perennial vine is particularly effective at reducing airborne faecal particles which makes it the perfect air purifier for your bathroom or en suite. In addition, studies have shown that the ivy can also help combat mould levels in the home. Be sure to keep the soil moist and give the ivy a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight a day in order for it to flourish.
7) Weeping Fig
A firm favourite since the Victorian era, weeping figs can help to tackle levels of formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene, which are found in furniture, fireplace smoke, and common household products. Sensitive to drafts, this plant is best kept out of the hallway, but will thrive in living rooms.
8) Moth Orchid
Orchids emit oxygen at night, making them a great addition to the bedroom. The moth orchid also combats toluene, which can be found in shoe polish.
9) Chinese Evergreen
This tropical plant thrives in humidity and low light and is ideal for bathrooms because it is proven to be an effective cleanser of formaldehyde and benzene, found in detergents and cosmetic products. Tip: if the air is too dry, the tips of the leaves turn brown, so be sure to mist its leaves from time to time.
10) Snake Plant
With this plant in your bedroom, you’re in for a great night’s sleep. Also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, this yellow-tipped succulent releases oxygen at night, helping you to breathe better while sleeping. It is one of the best plants for filtering the air of xylene, benzene,formaldehyde, toluene, and trichloroethylene.