Using space station technology to ensure the safety of your home may be easier than you thought. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration conducted the NASA Clean Air Study to demonstrate the effectiveness of particular plants to purify air.
As homes become more insulated and efficient, they also make it easier to trap indoor air pollutants. Chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and ammonia can come from household items and pollute your home’s atmosphere without any visual warning.
Neglecting the quality of the air you breathe on a daily basis could result in serious consequences. Illness, allergies, asthma and frequent headaches are just a few of many inconveniences that come from airborne particles floating around your home. Air pollution is also one of the reasons the can affect your digestive system.
There’s no need to dish out hundreds of dollars on expensive appliances when you’ve got Mother Nature. According to NASA there are plenty of plants that soak up harmful particles in the air and release fresh oxygen – all while adding a decorative touch.
Where does it all come from?
One of the scariest things about indoor air pollution is the seemingly harmless nature of its many sources. Listed below are some of the most common ways a home can become polluted.
Found in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, adhesives, and paint removers.
Symptoms associated with short-term exposure include: excitement, dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting followed by drowsiness and coma.
Found in paper bags, waxed papers, facial tissues, paper towels, plywood paneling, and synthetic fabrics. Symptoms associated with short-term exposure include: irritation to nose, mouth and throat, and in severe cases, swelling of the larynx and lungs.
Used to make plastics, resins, lubricants, detergents, and drugs. Also found in tobacco smoke, glue, and furniture wax. Symptoms associated with short-term exposure include: irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, increase in heart rate, headaches, confusion and in some cases can result in unconsciousness.
Found in rubber, leather, tobacco smoke, and vehicle exhaust. Symptoms associated with short-term exposure include: irritation to mouth and throat, dizziness, headache, confusion, heart problems, liver and kidney damage and coma.
Found in window cleaners, floor waxes, smelling salts, and fertilizers. Symptoms associated with short-term exposure include: eye irritation, coughing, sore throat.
If plants are good enough for the pioneers of space travel than they must be doing something right. They also might spark a new found hobby of gardening as well!. The plants listed below are 10 of the most effective air filters Mother Nature has to offer.
1. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
The English Ivy is ideal for pots because its invasive nature allows it to spread easily. Research found it to be particularly useful in eliminating airborne fecal-matter particles. The plant is also great for a family with smokers in it. Its ability to soak up carcinogens from second-hand smoke helps to purify small areas. It’s also versatile when it comes to growing conditions and doesn’t require much maintenance.
2. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
NASA considered this plant one of the most effective choices for eliminating formaldehyde. People that have struggled to keep plants alive can rejoice – this one is incredibly hard to kill. It doubles as an effective eliminator of carbon monoxide as well. The vines grow fairly quickly and look great suspended from elevated areas.
3. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exalta Bostoniensis)
This lush plant functions really well as a natural air humidifier. While it’s busy adding humidity to the environment it also does a great job eliminating formaldehyde. Its large feathered ferns span as large as 5 feet and allow just a single plant to have a noticeable impact.
4. Dracaena (Dracaena Deremensis)
The long striped leaves of this plant can easily thrive indoors with only small amounts of sunlight and moderate watering. It’s an excellent way to eliminate trichloroethylene that comes from solvents and varnishes. A single plant can grow over ten feet tall, but pruning will keep it short if you prefer.
5. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans)
The Bamboo Palm can easily fit into smaller areas with indirect lighting. NASA found it to be one of the best air filters for benzene and trichloroethylene, and a great humidifier. This palm is a bit smaller than others and easy to grow in shady areas. It releases a good deal of moisture into the air and is considerably resistant to insect infestation.
6. Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata)
This plant is a widely popular option for office spaces and homes for its attractive look and effective purifying power. It pulls xylene – a chemical released from car exhaust, paints, and cigarettes – from the air with little need for maintenance. It can also be potted together and trained to grow into a braid for visual appeal and added purification.
7. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
The Peace Lily is one of the most visually appealing plants on the list with its unique white flowers. It boasts one of the highest transpiration rates on the list as well. Use it to remove trichloroethylene, benzene, acetone, and alcohols from the air. Just be cautious of the plants high toxicity and keep it out of reach of children and pets.
8. Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa)
The Lady Palm requires a lot of watering during the spring and summer but makes up for it with its heavy resistance to insects. The lush leaves of this palm grow thick and with rich color without much effort. Its said to be a versatile and effective filter for multiple indoor pollutants.
9. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
The Spider Plant requires natural light but shouldn’t be exposed directly to the sun. It thrives in moist environments with bi-weekly watering and grows at impressive speeds. Owners prefer to place these plants near the fireplace and kitchen where carbon monoxide may build.
10. Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
The Snake Plant is unique in that it sucks in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during the night. Many people chose to keep it in their bedroom or carpeted living room. It’s simple to take care of and prevents the formaldehyde that leaks from your carpet and wood furniture from sticking around the air.
If you have pets than you should be aware that most indoor plants aren’t safe for pet consumption. If you plan on growing plants in or outside of your home you should be aware of their toxicity. You can consult with your vet and see how it may affect your dog, cat, or any other animal that may consume it.
Detoxifying your home is an integral part of the detox concept. This includes not only detoxifying your body, but detoxifying your mind and the closest environments as well.