So plants can’t do the dishes or vacuum the carpet. But some plants are the earth’s natural air purifiers.
It’s a tough pill to swallow to realize that many routine household chores play a part in producing harmful chemicals. In 2011, the same University of Washington researcher who sniffed out the dangers in fragranced consumer products discovered hazardous chemicals — two of which were carcinogens — being emitted from household laundry vents. Anne Steinemann, civil, environmental engineering, and public affairs professor at UW, described it as “an interesting source of pollution” since emissions from appliances like clothes dryers are largely unregulated. Active ingredients in household disinfectants, cosmetics, and laundry products were linked to reproductive decline in mice in 2014. And just recently, household chemicals, found again in disinfectants, personal care products, and laundry products, were connected to birth defects in mice in 2017.
Thankfully, some plants actually help clean the air in your home by filtering out harmful toxins that could possibly put you and your family at risk for cancer and other health problems: toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. These toxins come from everyday items that we all use to make improvements on our home, so it’s good to consider substitutes and to have these plants year-round.
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12 clean-air plants you can use to spruce up your space
To improve your indoor air environment, get yourself some super-powered plants like:
1. Aloe vera
This healing plant does more than treat tiny cuts and burns. It’s also great for clearing out the formaldehyde and benzene that come from your house cleaners and paints. Your aloe vera has your back!
Best location: This dramatic plant would look great next to a big, sunny window in your living room.
Azaleas can help you get rid of the formaldehyde that’s in your foam insulation or plywood. They’re at their best at around 60-65 degrees, so make sure they’re not in direct sunlight.
Best location: These flowers would love to brighten up your entryway or chill in your basement.
3. Bamboo palm
You’ll love your bamboo palm more than any panda could once it starts filtering out the benzene and trichloroethylene in your carpeting and furniture.
Best location: Place your bamboo in your bedroom, next to your new dresser!
These flowers are so beautiful, they’re often used for weddings. They can help you add color to your living space while they filter out the benzene that is in plastic, paint, and glue.
Best location: Place these plants on a small table near a big window so they can get some sun.
5. English ivy
Fun fact: Your English ivy can actually get rid of small particles of fecal matter in the air. Maybe this plant is so cute and cheerful-looking so it can distract you from what it actually does! In any case, it’s a lovely little plant. And it’s especially helpful if you have pets.
Best location: Place this plant on your toilet tank, next to a scented candle.
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6. Gerber daisy
Gerber daisies aren’t just bright and colorful. Their super power is that they can filter out the trichloroethylene that floats off your dry cleaning. They can also get rid of the benzene that comes off your printer ink.
Best location: These bright flowers would look great on your dining table or on your bedside table.
7. Golden pothos
This hanging plant stays bright green even in the darkest places. That’s probably why it’s nicknamed “the devil’s ivy.” Use this plant to filter out the formaldehyde that sits in your garage due to car exhaust.
Best location: This guy is most comfortable in your garage.
8. Peace lily
Your peace lily is so easygoing. All it wants is for you to give it water once a week and give peace a chance. What will your peace lily do for you in return? It’ll block out so many mega-toxins: formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, toluene, and xylene.
Best location: Place your peace lily in your bedroom so it can get plenty of shade and guide you in your most stressful moments.
9. Red-edged dracaena
What a complicated name for an uncomplicated plant. This reddish plant doesn’t need much watering or direct sunlight. It can powerfully filter out the xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde in household lacquers and varnishes.
Best location: Place your Dracaena next to your freshly painted wall or refurbished vintage coffee table.
10. Snake plant
The snake plant has a hilarious nickname: “the mother-in-law’s tongue.” Maybe it’s named that because it’s so formidable. It easily filters out the formaldehyde in your harsh cleaning products. Did you know that the toxin is also on your tissues, your toilet paper, and your personal care products? It’s crazy. But snake plant is there for you with its snaky tongue.
Best location: Your snake plant loves humidity and low lighting, so it’s happy in your bathroom.
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11. Spider plant
If you want a houseplant that you really can’t kill, try a spider plant. These guys are tough. They can filter out benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and the xylene that’s used to make leather and rubber products.
Best location: Your living room or your bedroom would be a great place to keep this plant.
12. Weeping fig
This plant only weeps because it gets sad when pollutants are in the air. Luckily, it cheers up when it starts filtering out formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene. These toxins are often in carpeting and furniture.
Best location: This plant will be happiest if your house is mostly carpeting.
With this diverse collection of indoor plants, your house is going to look a lot lusher and its air cleaner. If you haven’t checked in on your mortgage rates lately, your home loan could also be due for a cleanup. Reach out to one of our loan officers to find out if you could benefit from a mortgage refinance — it could save you money on your monthly payment.
While refinancing could make a significant difference in the amount you pay each month, there are other costs you should consider. Plus, your finance charges may be higher over the life of the loan.
For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.