Breathe Easier: Use Household Plants to Help Clear the Air

Breathe Easier: Use Household Plants to Help Clear the AirCan common houseplants clean your indoor air? Some scientists say they can. The reason: Many plants can act as natural air filters; improving your indoor air quality by absorbing contaminants. And, of course, all plants contribute to healthy air by converting carbon dioxide to oxygen.

Studies have shown that some common plants can be effective at removing formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, and other nasty pollutants.

NASA published the first studies over two decades ago. Since then, other scientists have supported its findings.

Which plants should you choose?

  • Dr. Bill Wolverton, a former NASA scientist who was involved in the original research, suggests Peace Lily, Areca Palm, Lady Palm, Ficus Alii, and Golden Pathos because they are easy to take care of and are among the most effective at removing air pollutants.

  • Researchers at the University of Georgia say the best purifiers of the 32 plant species they tested include: Purple Waffle Plant, English Ivy, Purple Heart, Foxtail Fern, and Wax Plant.

When it comes to indoor air quality we can use all the help we can get. The air inside our homes can be more seriously polluted than outdoor air thanks in part to many of the products we use. That's not great news when you consider that we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors. Check out 25 indoor air quality yips from The Daily Green and American Lung Association.


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