Plants That Clean Indoor Air

Indoor air found in homes and businesses that are sealed tightly to conserve energy often contain toxins, according to a NASA study by research scientist B.C. Wolverton. These pollutants can cause health problems for the occupants and these environments are known to suffer "sick building syndrome." The study found that certain plants remove specific harmful chemicals usually found in these indoor settings including benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. The toxins come from items commonly found in homes and offices.

Plants That Remove Benzene from The Air

Benzene comes from such items as detergents, rubber objects, dyes, inks, tobacco smoke, plastics, synthetic fibers and petroleum products. These are all common things found indoors. Plants that remove high levels of benzene from indoor air include dragon tree (Dracaena marginata), potted mum (chrysanthemum), Janet Craig (Dracaena), gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), ribbon plant (Dracaena warneckei), English ivy (Hedera helix species) and peace lily (Spahiphyllum species). The NASA study suggests you place "one ornamental indoor plant per 100 square feet" of space. Use plants selected from each group to clean the indoor air of all three harmful chemicals plus carbon dioxide.

Plants That Remove Formaldehyde From The Air

Formaldehyde gets into the air from foam insulation, common cleaners, plywood, paper products, particle or pressed board, carpeting and furniture. Most indoor settings contain a large number of these items in every room. Plants to use indoors to clean formaldehyde from the air include corn plant (Dracaena massangeana), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), bamboo palm (Chamaedora siefrizii), golden pothos (Scindapsus aures) and potted mum (Chrysanthemum). The study concluded that growing plants in a pot 6 inches or larger works best.

Plants That Remove Trichloroethylene From The Air

Paints, varnishes, lacquers, adhesives, dry cleaning, dyes and inks produce trichloroethylene. Plants that were found to remove high levels of trichloroethylene from indoor air include dragon tree (Dracaena marginata), potted mum (chrysanthemum), gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), ribbon plant (Dracaena warneckei) and peace lily (Spahiphyllum species). Place several of the plants around the interior of home and office to purify the air. These plants not only clean indoor air of pollutants, they also improve the overall look and feel of the indoor environments.

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About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published in Southwest, Intel, TravelChannel, AmericanAirlines, Poker4Amateurs, AOL, CityGuides, Yahoo, GardenGuides and more. Dilov-Schultheis is an electronics media specialist and has a degree in Accounting.