Many of today’s building materials, furniture and flooring products contain potentially harmful chemicals that can off-gas for days, weeks or even longer after installation, and with homes that are highly insulated and tightly sealed to improve energy-efficiency, the effects of these chemicals on indoor air quality are significantly greater. In studies by NASA, the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and others, however, it has been found that common houseplants can help clean the indoor air, with as little as one plant per 100 square feet. While some only remove one or two chemicals, the best air-purifying plants can remove multiple chemicals.
Also known as the Florist’s Chrysanthemum, this plant is effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia, toluene and xylene from the air. All of these chemicals can be harmful in large amounts, causing symptoms like nausea or dizziness, serious illnesses, or even cancer.
Most types of Dracaena can remove benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, while some, like the Red-Edged Dracaena, can also remove toluene and xylene.
Requiring minimal care and only occasional watering, the Snake Plant is one of the most resilient air-purifying plants, and it can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene.
This flowering plant can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia, toluene and xylene from the air, but it can also release pollen, which may be problematic for allergy sufferers.
Also known as the Weeping Fig, Ficus plants can remove formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air, and some types can also remove benzene and trichloroethylene.
All these air-purifying plants should be used with care, as they can potentially be toxic to pets. Non-toxic alternatives, like Spider Plants, Boston Ferns or Bamboo Palms can remove formaldehyde, xylene and toluene, while others, like the Barberton Daisy, can remove benzene and trichloroethylene, allowing you to combine multiple plants for the best results.
To learn more about air-purification products and how they can work with your HVAC system to improve indoor air quality, talk to our HVAC experts at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida.