Managing indoor air quality has significant health benefits, and you can give it an assist with house plants. NASA discovered the air-cleaning benefits of some plants as part of its space research program. Scientists found that plants can lower the amount of damaging volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in many indoor environments.
Some plants are natural air scrubbers, and even the roots and soil do their part at capturing VOCs that would otherwise stay in the air as gases. VOCs are a special hazard because they come from many common indoor products, including cleaning materials, furniture, paint, flooring, personal care items, and byproducts from anything that uses fuel.
These plants are particularly effective at removing indoor VOCs:
- Spider plants. Attractive and easy to grow, spider plants absorb benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and even carbon monoxide (CO), although a spider plant isn’t a substitute for home safety with regard to CO detection.
- Golden pothos. If your home has an attached garage where you store vehicles or gas-powered yard equipment, hang a pothos near the adjoining door. These plants lower the amount of formaldehyde significantly, while maintaining a lush, green color even in low-light conditions.
- Weeping fig. This attractive house plant absorbs formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It may go through shock at being moved, but once it’s acclimatized to its location, it’s a fairly easy plant to grow to improve indoor air quality.
- Chinese evergreen. As this plant grows, it removes more pollutants since the leaf surface area increases. It tolerates low light and grows easily indoors.
- Peace lily. The peace lily requires some indoor space, but it removes the widest variety of VOCs indoors, including toluene and xylene. It will grow well under low-light conditions and watering once a week.
If you have children or pets, verify that the plants are safe or place them where access is difficult or impossible, or alternatively, use mechanical air purification systems.
To learn more about controlling indoor air quality, please contact us at Overland Park Heating & Cooling, providing outstanding HVAC services for Kansas City homeowners since 1983.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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