This post originally appeared on CoffeeBreakUniversity.com
Why invest in expensive electrical air purifiers when you could purchase a few types of houseplants to clean and filter the air naturally and inexpensively? Much of the research on these beneficial houseplants has been done by NASA scientists researching ways to create suitable space station habitats. All indoors plants (flowering or not) are able to purify indoor air to some degree through their normal photosynthesis processes. But some were found to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful household toxins, even removing 90% of chemicals in the air in only twenty-four hours!
Snake Plant – Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this sharp-leafed plant thrives in low light. At night it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen (a reversal of the process most plants undergo). Pot a couple and put them in your bedroom for a slight oxygen boost while you sleep. In addition to lowering carbon dioxide, it also filters formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air.
Aloe – The gel of the aloe plant has a number of healing properties. Not only does it soothe skin burns and cuts, it can also help to monitor the air quality in your home. The plant can help clear the air of pollutants found in chemical cleaning products, and when the amount of harmful chemicals in the air becomes excessive, the plant’s leaves will show brown spots. I love keeping this plant on my home-office desk right next to the window (it likes a lot of sun).
Spider Plant – Even if you tend to neglect houseplants, you’ll have a hard time killing this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries. As an added bonus, this plant is also considered a safe houseplant if you have pets in the house.
Golden Pothos – Another powerful plant for tackling formaldehyde, this fast-growing vine will create a cascade of green from a hanging basket. Consider it for your garage since car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde. (Bonus: Golden pothos, also know as devil’s ivy, stays green even when kept in the dark.)
English Ivy – NASA scientists listed the English ivy as the number one best air-filtering houseplant, as it is the most effective plant when it comes to absorbing formaldehyde. A study even found that the plant reduces airborne fecal-matter particles! It’s also incredibly easy to grow and adaptable — try it as a hanging or a floor plant. Grow in moderate temperatures and medium sunlight.
Not only do these plants purify the air, studies show that they deter illness, boost healing and help you work better. What better way to spruce up your office than to add some of these purifying plants that bring a little of the great outdoors to your indoor work space. Just don’t forget to water them (like me).