The average adult American spends 8.8 hours a day working and 7.8 hours a night sleeping. That means that nearly 16 hours each day or two-thirds of our lives are split between only two spaces where we work, socialize, eat and drink, and most importantly, breathe. This means that any allergens, dust, pollen, and chemicals that wind up in the air of your home or workspace are being filtered through your lungs constantly during those hours. The levels of airborne pollutants can be anywhere from two to 100 times more concentrated than levels outdoors. Cleaning products, even things that are fire retardant or waterproof can contain chemicals that are able to leech into the air and thus, into our bodies.
These airborne toxins and chemicals can lead to health problems like headaches, sinus pressure, nausea, difficulty breathing, and can even exacerbate existing medical conditions like asthma, respiratory conditions, and allergies. Fortunately, it’s easy for you to do your part to help keep the air you breathe cleaner and healthier; all you need are some potted plants!
Plant life converts CO2 into oxygen through photosynthesis, and it filters the air around it in the process. Keeping a few specific plants around your home and office can help remove chemicals and toxins. To help you breathe easier and healthier, here are a few houseplants to keep around that will help filter your air.
Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum
- You’ve likely seen this incredibly common houseplant at some point in your life, even if you didn’t know what it was. Spider plants are relatively easy to care for, and according to research conducted by NASA, they are great at removing residual formaldehyde from the air left over from tobacco smoke and plastics.
Bromeliad – Bromeliaceae
If you want a functional plant that doesn’t require too much maintenance and will also liven up the room, bromeliads are a good choice for you. They actively work to clean the air at night, and are hearty enough that they don’t require much water or sunlight to do so. Oh, and they’re incredibly vibrantly colored.
Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera
If you sunburn easily, chances are in the summer months you’ve eased the pain with some sort of aloe vera-based lotion. Aloe vera’s use dates back to 2100 BCE, and its mineral-and-vitamin-rich composition has kept it relevant ever since. It’s used in everything from lotions to cosmetics to even food (where the list of the plants’ benefits extends even further), and it also made NASA’s list of plants that help improve air quality. Like the spider plant, aloe vera also removes formaldehyde from the air.
Bamboo Palm – Dypsis lutescens
The third most effective at overall purification, the bamboo palm needs a bit more room than some of the others but will definitely make up for it with the benefits it provides. NASA found that bamboo is effective at not only removing formaldehyde but also benzene, a chemical found in gasoline and crude oil, and trichloroethylene, a chemical often found in solvents. As a bonus, it doesn’t require too much water and sunlight.
Aside from purifying the air, houseplants can provide your home or workspace with other benefits. Because plants undergo transpiration during which they emit water vapors, they can also work to help you control the levels of humidity in your room or home.
There are countless benefits to incorporating houseplants and greenery into your home, office, and life.