People are shocked to learn that indoor air can be 2-5 times as contaminated as outdoor air in some places. Substances like chemical-based cleaners, air fresheners, fragrances and detergents pollute indoor air and contribute to poor indoor air quality. Since indoor air is often stagnant (especially during the colder months of the year), pollutants often reach toxic levels.
Looking to reduce toxins in your home? Using plants for air purification is an easy and affordable way to improve the quality of your indoor air. Not everyone was born with a green thumb and a knack for taking care of houseplants. Thankfully, there are several popular plants that require very little maintenance to thrive indoors.
Air Purifying Plant Basics
In 1989, NASA discovered that houseplants can absorb harmful toxins from the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little air flow. While plants have less horse power than air purifiers, they’re more natural, cost effective, and therapeutic.
Plants are also known to:
- increase mood and productivity
- enhance concentration and memory
- reduce stress and fatigue
In addition to using plants:
- allow fresh air to circulate through open windows and doors when the weather permits
- make sure you turn on exhaust vents in bathrooms and when cooking
- avoid purchasing any household products and cleaners containing harsh chemical ingredients
You may want to reconsider air-purifying plants if you have pets such as cats and dogs. Many of these plants can be toxic to them. You can look up which plants are toxic to animals on the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants page.
An increase in plants can also affect humidity and promote mold growth. You can prevent this by letting the water drain into a pan or a tray, removing excess water regularly, and using sub-irrigation planters. Covering the top of the soil with Spanish moss or aquarium gravel also removes mold.
To give your home a healthy breath of fresh air, here’s our list of the best air purifying plants and where to keep them.