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Residents of industrialized nations like the United States spend as much as 80 or 90 percent of their time indoors. While people typically associate air pollution and allergens with outdoor environments, these things can easily infiltrate your home, leaving you trapped inside with irritating or even harmful particles in the air. You can improve your air quality easily and effectively with houseplants.

1. Spider plant

Spider plants are an almost fail-proof choice of houseplant. These hardy plants can survive even with minimal sunlight and a forgetful caretaker. Some people are allergic to spider plants, so you should avoid this choice if you’re allergic to plants in the Asparagaceae family. However, if you’re unaffected by these plants, you’ll find them an excellent choice for improving air quality in your home. Spider plants are very effective at removing formaldehyde from the air.

Spider plant

(image: Joanne Bergenwall Aw)

In the spring, these plants reproduce faithfully by producing small white flowers that eventually turn into miniature spider plants. Just snip them off and replant. You’ll soon have enough for all your family and friends to enjoy, too.

2. Peace lily

The peace lily, or Mauna Loa, is effective at filtering formaldehyde and Trichloroethylene from the air. This elegant white flower also absorbs vapors from alcohol and acetone.

 

peace lily

(image: David Bailey)

It readily absorbs mold and feeds on it, keeping these spores from growing and thriving in other parts of your home. These are ideal as indoor plants, because they need only filtered sunlight and minimal water.

3. Bamboo

You may know bamboo as a popular eco-friendly material for flooring and dinnerware, but this plant can green up your home in other ways, too. A bamboo palm can remove carbon monoxide, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, and chloroform from the air.

bamboo plant

(image: Habib Obi)

 

This plant can grow three to six feet tall, making it a striking decorative addition to your home. Keep your bamboo plant away from direct sunlight and water it regularly to mimic its natural rainforest habitat. Bamboo prefers a regular temperature around 70 degrees F.

4. English ivy

The English ivy plant is a powerful air cleaner. It’s particularly effective at removing benzene and formaldehyde pollutants from the air.

English Ivy

(image: Hayley Green)

 

It can also remove airborne fecal matter, making it a top candidate for a spacious bathroom that could use a fresh touch of greenery. This plant prefers filtered sunlight, even temperatures, and only occasional watering.

5. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a handy houseplant with many uses. This succulent clears benzene and formaldehyde found in paint and chemical cleaning products.

split aloe vera plant

(image: Raul654)

 

You can also snip off one of the leaves when you have a cut or burn. The gel inside is a natural remedy for these types of injuries. Aloe vera plants like indirect sunlight and well-draining potting mix.

Having said all that …

While houseplants are very effective at reducing airborne pollutants, they can harbor their own unpleasant problems if you’re not careful. Gently wipe your houseplants down with a damp cloth to reduce dust buildup on the leaves, and avoid over watering which can promote mold growth and further agitate your allergies.

Which plants  should also be on this list?

Which ones have we missed that have obvious health benefits?

Which plants do you have in your home, and where do you put them?

Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.