Every home faces foul-smelling or pollen-filled air at some time or other. While these are annoying facts of life, they aren’t necessarily unhealthy (foul smells can be a symptom of something dangerous and an allergy to pollen can lead to health issues if not taken care of). Modern air filters and regular cleaning will help alleviate many of these problems. But what about actual air pollution? A combination of standard air pollutants such as ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene are all common in our atmosphere but they build up inside the home with little to no avenue of escape. Fortunately, that’s where caring for a few living houseplants can help.
While not as powerful as industrial air cleaners and filters, keeping a few low-pollen houseplants around the home can help you fight indoor air pollution. Some plants are excellent at grabbing modern pollutants and breaking them down, giving you cleaner indoor air without needing an expensive filter. Here are few low-maintenance house plants for your home:
- Garden Mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium): Both inexpensive and common year-round, these plants remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air. Beautiful and easy to care for, this is easily the best houseplant for cleaning indoor air.
- Spider Plants (Chlorophytum Comosum “Vittatum”): Spider plants are incredibly easy to grow and take care of. These plants prefer indirect sunlight and remove both formaldehyde and xylene from the air.
- Dracaena (Dracaena spp.): With multiple varieties and an unusual appearance, dracaena plants are great at removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. They’re perfect for supplementing mums to remove the one pollutant that mums don’t filter. Be wary though, dracaena is poisonous to dogs and cats so pet owners should steer clear.
- Ficus (Ficus benjamia): These plants require more space (they grow up to 10 feet tall) but are easy to care for, love indirect sunlight, and remove benzene formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air. Use this plant in place of dracaena if you have pets.
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.): Beautiful, fragrant flowers and a fairly hardy lily that enjoys shaded spaces, the peace lily cleans out ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. This would be much higher on the list but pollen and fragrance make it not quite the right fit for everyone.
While they didn’t make the top five, here a few other plants you may want to consider:
- Boston Fern
- Snake Plant
- Aloe Vera