Remove Toxins & Improve Air Quality in your Home with these Indoor Plants

Remove Toxins & Improve Air Quality in your Home & Nursery with these Indoor Plants

I love the way house plants bring life into a home, and it turns out they're not just good looking -- they also improve the air quality in your home by filtering out harmful toxins while also increasing oxygen and humidity levels.  What's in our air at home?  

TRICHLOROETHYLENE: Found in some soaps, perfumes, paints, lacquers, varnishes, adhesives, paint remover, printing inks, disinfectants and dyes. Symptoms associated with short term exposure include dizziness, headache, nausea and drowsiness.

FORMALDEHYDE: Found in some paper bags, paper towels,facial tissues, table napkins, plywood panelling, synthetic fabrics, disinfectants and personal care products. Symptoms associated with short term exposure include irritation to nose, mouth and throat. 

BENZENE: Used to make plastics, synthetic fibers, dyes, detergents, and pesticides, benzene can also be found in vehicle exhausts, glue, paint and furniture wax. It commonly enters the air through heating systems, cooking devices. Symptoms associated with short-term exposure include irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, increase in heart rate and headaches.

XYLENE: Found in leather, paint, cleaning agents and vehicle exhausts. Symptoms associated with short term exposure include irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, depression to the nervous system and possible liver and kidney damage.

AMMONIA: Found in window cleaner, surface sanitizers, floor waxes, aerosols, fertilizers and even some food products. Symptoms associated with short term exposure include eye irritation, coughing and sore throat.

This study by NASA identifies the best air-purifying plants for our homes, and these are my favorite that top the list:

Areca Palm Tree .jpg

Areca Palm Tree: Very best air purifying plant according to the ratings from NASA’s research and has the 8th highest removal rate for formaldehyde according to Dr. Wolverton’s data. As effective as an electric humidifier!


Lady Palm Tree.jpg

Lady Palm Tree: Same rating as Areca Palm but not as effective at removing formaldehyde. Fiercely resistant to most types of plant insects.


Bamboo Palm: Ranked third all-around for keeping room air clean, including removing formaldehyde. Needs a lot of room to grow.


Boston Fern: Most effective plant at removing formaldehyde and removed significantly more per hour than the rest of plants examined. This fern will also eliminate heavy metals, such as mercury and arsenic from the soil.


Rubber Plant: Provides moisture, eliminates bio effluents, removes volatile organic compounds as well as suppresses air based microorganisms as soon as it’s put into a room! As time passes, the rubber plant becomes even more efficient at eliminating toxic compounds present in the air.


Dracaena- Janet Craig: These are especially effective in newly carpeted or newly furnished rooms where formaldehyde levels are at the highest. Also removes xylene.


English Ivy: A terrific aid for people with allergies, asthma, or even the desire to inhale cleaner, more fresh air. Removes air-based mold in as little as a few hours of placing in a room!


Aloe Vera: More effective at the elimination of formaldehyde at lesser concentrations.


Spider Plant: Excellent removal of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.


Snake: Excellent at eliminating the majority of toxins plus they are quite happy to grow in areas where other plants may decline.


Chrysanthemum: Shown to be effective at removing the VOC compound benzene, which has been known to cause cancer.


And why not add a plant or two in the nursery?  

Please take care when placing plants around your home as some could be poisonous to young children or pets if ingested.  Here's a good point of reference for plants that are poisonous to humans or pets.