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Clean House Dragon Lady

Clean Your House / March 24, 2017

7 Day Treehugger KickstartWhy invest in expensive electrical air purifiers when you could purchase a few types of houseplants to clean and filter the air naturally and inexpensively?

Much of the research on these beneficial houseplants has been done by NASA scientists researching ways to create suitable space station habitats. All indoors plants (flowering or not) are able to purify indoor air to some degree through their normal photosynthesis processes. But some were found to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful household toxins, even removing 90% of chemicals in the air in only twenty-four hours!

The three main household toxins of concern are:

  • benzene
  • formaldahyde
  • trichloroethylene

These carcinogenic chemicals are used in the manufacturing of synthetic substances and materials and are off-gased from new materials for some time (up to several years, depending on the material of product in question). Benzene can also be emitted from gas ranges during use, making some types of houseplants below great for use in the kitchen.

This means these types of houseplants may just decrease your risk of cancers, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disorders and other diseases.

Tips for Choosing and Caring for Your Plants

Below you'll find the common name and botanical name of each plant, its benefit to you and your home and a few ideas of the type of care it needs.

Along with a corresponding photo and the following tips, you can decide which plant is best for your home.

  • Choose one 10- to 12-inch potted plant per 100 square foot of your home for the most effective air purification.
  • Cross-reference several care guides to check for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Because common names can very, be sure to cross-reference the botanical name of any plant you get to ensure it will do the job you need it to do.
  • Consider where you might place your plants and the amount of sun they will receive to ensure your plant will thrive in that area.
  • Make note of the water needed and write it on a calendar so that you can keep the watering schedules balanced.
  • Periodically dust the leaves of each plant with a damp cloth to ensure proper absorption of air particles and toxins.
  • Keep their soil replenished with or compost tea. Avoid non-organic or synthetic fertilizers.
  • Whenever possible, capture rainwater for your plants. All types of houseplants thrive best with natural sources of water.

IMPORTANT: Please note that these houseplants are good for purifying air, but that doesn't mean they are safe for pets or kids who like to put things in their mouth., read the descriptions of each plant, and do some research on any plant you bring into your home.

Nineteen Houseplants That Clean Indoor Air

The following list of beneficial types of houseplants should get you started in finding the right plants for your home.

Common Name: Aloe Vera
Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis

Benefits: Not only can it be used for burns on the skin, it is also known to remove formaldahyde from the air.

Notes: Needs well-drained soil with slight drying between waterings, full sun is best with protection from high heats. Although largely known for its healing properties, it is considered to be an irritant to some.

Common Name: Areca Palm
Botanical Name: Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

Benefits: General air purifier, especially as it grows larger. It's known for being one of the better performers in purifying the air.

Notes: Moderately drought tolerant and prefers partial sun and well-drained soil.

Common Name: Baby Rubber Plant
Botanical Name: Peperomia obtusifolia or Ficus robusta

Benefits: These houseplants clean the air by emitting high oxygen content, and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldahyde or other toxins.

Notes: Likes filtered light, infrequent watering and rich soil. I've found conflicting information as to whether or not this plant contains any poisonous parts.

Common Name: Bamboo Palm or Reed Palm
Botanical Name: Chamaedorea seifrizii

Benefits: According to NASA, it removes formaldahyde and is also said to act as a natural humidifier.

Notes: Likes bright, indirect light and prefers to remain moist but not too much and doesn't like sitting in water.

Common Name: Boston Fern
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis

Benefits: Said to act as a natural air humidifier, removes formaldahyde and is a general air purifier. Said to be among the best in air purifying houseplants.

Notes: Likes bright light and damp soil but can be tolerant of drought or partial light.

Common Name: Chinese Evergreen
Botanical Name: Aglaonema sp.

Benefits: Emits high oxygen content, and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldahyde, benzene or other toxins.

Notes: Does well with full shade and good draining; variegated plants need more sunlight. The sap of this plant is considered poisonous and is an irritant.

Common Name: Corn Cane or Mass Cane
Botanical Name: Dracaena massangeana or dracaena fragrans Massangeana

Benefits: Known for removing formaldahyde and known generally as one of the houseplants that clean the air.

Notes: Does great with low light and low water.

Common Name: Dwarf/Pygmy Date Palm
Botanical Name: Phoenix roebelenii

Benefits: Said to remove formaldehyde and xylene (a chemical found in plastics and solvents) from the air.

Notes: Loves lots of sun, moist soil and warm water.

Common Name: English Ivy
Botanical Name: Hedera helix

Benefits: It's known for removing the chemical benzene, a known carcinogen found in cigarette smoke, detergents, pesticides, and the off-gasing of other synthetic materials, is said to be fantastic for asthma and allergies and also removes formaldehyde.

Notes: Can be invasive, making it great for a potted plant.

Common Name: Ficus alii
Botanical Name: Ficus maeleilandii alii

Benefits: Said to be a great overall air purifier.

Notes: These types of houseplants love indirect sunlight; be careful not to overwater. Those with allergies to latex may react to this plant!

Common Name: Gerbera Daisy
Botanical Name: Gerbera sp. or Gerbera jamesonii

Benefits: NASA says this plant is fantastic at removing benzene, a known cancer-causing chemical. It also absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen overnight, which is said to improve your sleep!

Notes: Likes bright light

Common Name: Golden Pothos
Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum syn. Scindapsus aureus

Benefits: NASA places this plant among the top 3 types of houseplants great for removing formaldhyde. Also known for removing carbon monoxide and increasing general indoor air quality.

Notes: Needs less water in colder temps and partial sun.

Common Name: Janet Craig
Botanical Name: Draecana deremensis

Benefits: Lady Palm is said to be a good overall air purifier, removing most air pollutants.

Notes: Prefers indirect sunlight, and watering without fertilizers.

Source: www.sustainablebabysteps.com