Filling your spaces with leafy plants can do more than just add greenery to your indoor decor according to exciting scientific data. Certain plants can actually help purify the air and eliminate dangerous toxins to help you achieve a healthy (and happy) home.
Back in 1989, NASA published a now-famous experiment that found indoor plants capable of clearing indoor air of cancer-causing volatile compounds like benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde.
Those pesky chemicals can lurk in unexpected places. Many modern building materials, cleaning supplies, and furnishing contain chemicals that contribute to indoor air pollution which can have damaging effects on your health according to research groups like Environmental Working Group.
Not only can plants detoxify your house, but some greenery also can help reduce stress levels and improve your mood. A 2011 study found that indoor foliage could help boost concentration, cognitive function, and extend attention span. Sign us up!
How many plants does it take to purify the air in a room?
According to NASA, you should have at least one plant per 100 square feet of indoor space to effectively purify the air. That’s roughly 15 to 18 houseplants for a 1,800 square home. Interestingly, some plants are more efficient at cleaning the air than others. Tropical plants, for example, have a kind of built-in filter because they must photosynthesize through taller trees when in their natural habitats.
Essential Oils for Cleaning the Air
As research continues to uncover the psychological and physiological benefits of nature found in everyday life, it follows that essential oils achieve similar results. Essential oils are very concentrated forms of flowers, leaves, woods, leaves, peels and other natural components. By using essential oils, you can gain many of the same purifying and mood-boosting effects of your favorite indoor plants.
Because we love all things essential oil, we’re going to discuss our favorite detoxing plants as well as easy ways to incorporate essential oils as part of your wellness routine. Our list of houseplants that clean the air are also hard to kill because why make it hard on yourself? These suckers will keep your indoor air fresh and clear with relatively low maintenance.
Top Indoor Air Purifying Plants
This popular plant is native to tropical and subtropical environments making it a stylish addition to home decor. A relatively low-maintenance succulent, snake plants help filter formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.
In the evening, it releases oxygen which means better sleep for you and your loved ones. It can actually help regulate airflow which means lasting freshness. To keep snake plants healthy, place it near a window for bright, indirect light. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings so it doesn’t get too soaked.
Essential oil wellness tip: For a deeper sleep, make a Lavender Pillow Spray with 3 ounces of distilled water, 2 tbsp of alcohol, and 18 drops of Lavender in a 4-ounce bottle.
Devil’s Ivy (or Golden Pothos)
Lush and sprawling, Devil’s Ivy is incredibly effective at helping to eliminate airborne pollutants like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, and carbon monoxide. Its vines can grow up to 10 feet long and it is fairly easy to care for. Native to the South Pacific, Devil’s Ivy gives off bohemian vibes when it’s placed in a hanging planter.
The only lighting conditions the plant may not thrive in are direct sunlight or total darkness. Other than that, it tends to do well in dim or sunny settings. With a relatively short root system, Devil’s Ivy only needs enough water to keep the soil moist between waterings. It can be toxic to pets, so keep it out of reach of cats and dogs.
Essential wellness tip: Clear your airways with a Eucalyptus Sinus Steam. Simply fill a bowl with warm, steamy distilled water, add 1-2 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil and inhale the steam deeply.
A plant that’s both healing and purifying, Aloe Vera helps filter toxic chemicals commonly found in household cleaning products. It helps remove formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Its moisturizing sap can also help provide relief for minor skin irritations or small cuts.
Aloe Vera loves the sunshine so be sure to place it in a bright location like a windowsill. Its roots are fairly shallow so only a little bit of regularly watering is needed.
Essential oil boost: Soothe your skin with this Cooling Lotion. Mix ⅛ cup of aloe vera gel, ⅛ cup Coconut carrier oil, and 2-3 drops of Peppermint essential oil.
Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Beautiful and easy to grow, chrysanthemums are often ranked as the top plant for cleansing the air. In addition to toxins like formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, there is promising research to suggest that mums can help remove ammonia from the air. It’s powerful in spaces where cleaning products are often used - like the kitchen or bathroom.
To effectively purify the air, the plant’s flowers need to be in bloom - which typically lasts about 6 weeks. If you’re looking to make the process as simple as possible, buy a pre-potted one. The good news is you only have to check the soil for moisture every few days to make sure it’s still nourishing the plant.
In holistic and traditional medicine, mums have been used for generations as a natural tonic for aches and pains because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a pretty plant with numerous benefits for your home and health. What’s not to love?
Essential oil wellness tip: Swap your counter soap with this simple Lemongrass Hand Soap. Mix ½ cup distilled water, ½ cup liquid castille soap, 1 tbsp Coconut carrier oil and 22 drops of Lemongrass essential oil for your new bathroom staple. Healthy hands are happy hands!
Wolverton, B. C.(NASA John C. Stennis Space Center Bay Saint Louis, MS, United States)
Douglas, Willard L.(Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Bay Saint Louis, MS., United States)
Bounds, Keith(Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Bay Saint Louis, MS., United States)
Ruth K. Raanaas, Katinka Horgen Evensen, Debra Rich, Gunn Sjøstrøm, Grete Patil, Benefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in an office setting, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 31, Issue 1, 2011,Pages 99-105, ISSN 0272-4944, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2010.11.005.