Work your Green Thumb to Improve Air Quality

Chemicals released by carpets, foam insulation, paint and other sources are present in the air we breathe. As our homes become better insulated, those indoor air pollutants can linger longer in the spaces we inhabit. Here’s the good news: You don’t need to invest in an air purifier or other costly solution. What you need is something green and leafy

Indoor plants are one of the most cost-effective ways to brighten a space, create a relaxing, restful environment, and purify the air. In fact, in the 1980s, NASA studied house plants as a way to naturally and cost-effectively purify the air in space. The results of that study, and others since, show there are plenty of household plants that soak up the air pollutants and release fresh, clean oxygen. 

Here are five plants to get you started:

Aloe Vera

When it comes to breathing easier, aloe helps to clear formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Beyond that, this easy-to-grow plant is perfect for a sunny kitchen window where the gel found inside it’s leaves can be used to soothe mild burns. Notice brown spots on your plant’s leaves? The amount of harmful chemicals in the air may be excessive. 

English Ivy

NASA listed this beauty as its top pick. In the study, English Ivy was the most efficient in absorbing pollutants. From formaldehyde to soaking up carcinogens from second-hand smoke, this low-maintenance plant should be part of your décor. 

Peace Lily

Although you’ll want to keep this plant out of the reach of children and pets, the Peace Lily offers beauty and high marks as an air filter. In fact, this plant topped NASA’s list for removing the three most common volatile organic compounds (VOCs): formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, among other air pollutants.

Rubber Tree

If your thumb is more brown than green, pick up a rubber tree. This low-maintenance plant thrives even in poor lighting. Don’t let its easy care fool you; the rubber tree is also a powerful toxin eliminator. 

Snake Plant

The snake plant is a night owl. It’s efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen at night while most plants are doing so during the day. This plant thrives with little light and water and will absorb the toxins released by your carpets and wood furniture.

by Anjie Cho