How to Plant Safer Indoor Air

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How to Plant Safer Indoor Air

Poor indoor air quality has been associated with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and allergies, especially in children.[1] The air in your home becomes contaminated in several ways, including through the release of toxins from carpeting, paint, and treated and pressed woods.

Luckily for us, Mother Nature has created a great solution: houseplants. These aesthetically pleasing moonlighters also help remove airborne pollutants such as chemicals, toxins, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cleaning up indoor air. Through their natural photosynthesis process, plants reduce carbon dioxide levels while also increasing oxygen levels.[1]

Plants also metabolize some toxic chemicals, releasing by-products that are harmless for humans to breathe. Furthermore, they incorporate airborne toxins, such as heavy metals, into their plant tissue, making indoor air safer.[1]

If you’re looking for an affordable and green (pun intended) way to clean up the air around you, consider buying and caring for the following plants:

Aloe Vera. Not only does Aloe Vera help ease symptoms of sunburn, but it also cleans indoor air by absorbing harsh chemicals particularly from cleaning products.

Areca plant. Ranked high on NASA’s official purifying scale, this member of the palm family not only purifies, but also reduces dryness, replacing moisture back into the air.[2]

Peace lily. This pretty, white flowered plant is capable of absorbing one of the widest ranges of airborne chemicals, including ammonia.

Rubber plant. This waxy, broad leaf plant is excellent at improving indoor air quality. Additionally, the rubber plant becomes more and more effective over the course of its life at reducing harmful pollutants.

Snake plant. Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, the snake plant is perfect for growing in bedrooms, as its nocturnal activities include absorbing carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen.[3]

English ivy. With a NASA Purifying Score of 7.8, this vine helps remove airborne particles, making them particularly beneficial for sufferers of allergies and asthma.[2]

Red-edged dracaena. This plant not only adds a pop of color, but is very effective at reducing chemicals from lacquers, varnishes, and gasoline.[1]


[1] Claudio, L. (2011). Planting healthier indoor air. Environmental Health Perspectives.

[2] Web Ecoist. (n.d.) 10 air purifying plants for homes & offices.

[3] Blundell, D. (2010). 10 Clean-air plants for your home.,,20452423_20892299,00.html

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