Houseplants are a lovely aesthetic addition to any home, but did you know they serve an important functional purpose too? According to a famous NASA study, indoor plants can help reduce levels of airborne pollutants in your home. But before you head off to your local nursery to stock up on greenery, you should know: not all species of indoor plants are excellent air purifiers.

If you want to use houseplants to help clean up the air inside your home, check out these eight plants that are scientifically proven to improve indoor air quality.

1. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

More commonly known as the snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue is one of the most effective plants you can own for air purification purposes. It’s incredibly hardy, can thrive in dry conditions, and doesn’t need a ton of light to live happily. Plus, the snake plant is an amazing addition to any style of interior design.

No matter where you place it, the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue plant will help get rid of the following harmful airborne particles:

●        Trichloroethylene

●        Benzene

●        Xylene

●        Formaldehyde

2. Aloe Vera

You’re probably familiar with the fact that aloe vera is excellent at soothing burns and abrasions, but did you know it’s just as good at purifying indoor air?

It’s true — aloe plants can help filter carbon monoxide, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air inside your home. They also happen to be aesthetically versatile, simple to maintain, and can live happily in low-humidity environments.

3. Rubber Plant

The striking rubber plant complements virtually any indoor aesthetic and it’s also remarkably easy to maintain, provided it gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. This particular plant is great at combating airborne mold spores and bacteria, as it naturally neutralizes those organic particles as part of its soil defense mechanism.

Keep in mind, though, that rubber plants are naturally toxic to dogs and cats. If you have furry family members at home, remember to place rubber plants in locations where curious pets can’t access them.

4. English Ivy

According to NASA, the English Ivy is one of the top performers in terms of air purification because it's highly effective at reducing airborne mold spores and fecal particles.

Unfortunately, though, this particular plant happens to be toxic, so if you have children or pets, it may not be your best choice. If, however, you can place it high enough that it’s out of reach of small hands or curious mouths, the English Ivy is an excellent choice for purifying your bathroom air.

5. Monstera

There are several types of indoor monstera plants that can help purify your indoor air. However, most people are familiar with the widely available and colloquially named Swiss cheese plant, the type with wide, perforated, dark green leaves.

This particular plant is easy to grow, simple to maintain, and best of all, it can adapt to just about any climate. Even in our notoriously chilly Wisconsin winters, a Swiss cheese plant will help filter pollutants out of your indoor air and add a bit of summery cheer to your living spaces.

6. Corn Plant (Mass Cane)

Did you know conventional personal care products like shampoo, hairspray, body wash, and nail polish often contain formaldehyde? So do furniture pieces made from pressed wood, fuel-burning appliances, building materials, gas stoves, and several other common household items. These items slowly release the formaldehyde they contain into the air inside your home.

What’s the problem with formaldehyde? Researchers have found this colorless, pungent-smelling gas causes cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans, too. It can also trigger various health issues, including:

●        Asthma attacks

●        Nausea

●        Trouble breathing (wheezing and coughing)

●        Eye, nose, and throat irritation

●        Watery eyes

●        Fatigue

●        Severe allergic reactions

To protect your health, the EPA recommends you maintain indoor formaldehyde levels below 0.1 ppm. But if you have a lot of pressed-wood furniture or live in a new build, your home’s levels could be near or even exceed 0.3 ppm.

The mass cane plant (more commonly called the corn plant) can help rid your home of this harmful gas while removing trichloroethylene and benzene, too. According to a 2011 study, the corn plant can remove roughly 90% of the formaldehyde in a room’s air within just 24 hours.

7. Chinese Evergreen

Low maintenance and beautiful to boot, the Chinese evergreen plant thrives in medium- to low-light areas, 60%-70% humidity, and temperatures between 65° and 75°F. It’s also considered a luck-bringing plant in Chinese culture and efficiently removes formaldehyde and benzene from indoor air.

If you want this plant to flourish inside your home, you’ll probably need to use a small humidifier to keep it happy. But before you do, test your relative indoor humidity levels first. If they’re already high (above 50%), and you don’t know why, hidden plumbing leaks could be a culprit.

If you add more moisture to already-humid indoor air, you could encourage indoor mold growth. And if you end up with mold, it’ll only deteriorate your indoor air quality even more. If you have pets, be sure to keep this plant out of their reach. It contains calcium oxalate, which is toxic to dogs and cats.

8. Bamboo Palm

Of all the plants tested in NASA’s 1989 study, the bamboo plant was one of the best at removing health-harming benzene gas from indoor air. It can also remove formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and chloroform from the air inside your home. 

Like the Chinese evergreen, the bamboo palm also prefers moist air, so you’ll likely need to run a small humidifier if you want it to thrive inside your home. But again, testing your relative indoor humidity first is crucial.

If your levels are high and you think hidden plumbing leaks might be the culprit, fixing those leaks will benefit you in several ways.

Other Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

In addition to placing air-cleaning plants around your home, there are several other things you can do to improve your indoor air quality. Check out these blogs for more tips:

●        Should You Install an Air Purification System?

●        3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

●        Is Dirty Ductwork Making You Sick?

Get Air Purification Solutions for Your Wisconsin Rapids Home

Are you worried your house is suffering from poor indoor air quality? Let our team at Steve’s Plumbing & Heating help you fix it! We specialize in air purification system installation for homeowners throughout Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Wausau, and Marshfield and can help you determine the best solution for cleaning up your indoor air.

To learn more or get started, feel free to call us today at 715-421-1800 or request an estimate, and we’ll be in touch with more information!