Whether you’ve been staying in an old house for long or in a recently constructed one, your home could be harbouring unhealthy (and invisible) toxins for sure. These chemical compounds are found in emissions from paint, plastics, carpet, cleaning solutions, and numerous building materials.
There are three major offenders found in the home include:
• Formaldehyde: in carpets, upholstery, glues, paint, and more
• Benzene: in plastics, synthetic fibers, lubricants, rubber, pesticides
• Trichloroethylene: in paint removers, rug cleaning solution, adhesives
Luckily there are many air-cleaning plants that naturally remove pollutants from the air. We picked our favourites powerful purifiers & offer tips on how to keep them in top working condition, on the basis of Clean Air Study conducted by NASA.
Here’s how to use them: In a 2,000 square foot house, bring in 15 to 20 plants in 6-inch pots or larger. Rather than scattering single plants, create group displays in each room for a great look and maximum air quality.
1. English Ivy
The English ivy has been rated as the number one best air-filtering houseplant by the NASA scientists, as it is the most effective plant when it comes to absorbing formaldehyde. It’s also incredibly easy to grow and adaptable — try it as a hanging or a floor plant. Grow in moderate temperatures and medium sunlight.
This hearty plant thrives in small spaces and fares well in rooms with few windows or little sunlight.
How Ivy helps: Its dense foliage excels at absorbing formaldehyde which shows up in wood floorboard resins and synthetic carpet dyes.
Price Range: Rs200 – Rs500 (Varies as per foliage & length of the plant)
This large group of houseplants offers selections in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There’s a dracaena for every light situation. While this slow-growing shrub can get quite tall (up to 15 feet), it’s relatively compact and will make the most out of whatever floor space you can offer it.
For best results, keep one in a room with high ceilings and moderate sunlight, and water occasionally. Its red-trimmed leaves will deliver a dose of unexpected colour.
How Dracaena helps: This plant takes care of gases released by xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, which can be introduced by lacquers, varnishes, and sealers.
Price Range: Rs 60 (for Tricolour Dracaena) to Rs 1000 (for a group of Green Dracaena)
3. Peace Lily
Among the few air purifiers that flower, the peace lily adapts well to low light but requires weekly watering and is poisonous to pets.
To maximize the plant’s air-cleansing potential, keep the foliage dust-free. The peace lily thrives in both low and bright light and the pristine white blooms are a bonus with this efficient plant.
How Peace Lily helps: This one rids the air of the VOC benzene, a carcinogen found in paints, furniture wax, and polishes. It also sucks up acetone, which is emitted by electronics, adhesives, and certain cleaners.
Price Range: Rs 150 to Rs 350 (Varies as per the foliage & length of the plant)
4 Snake Plant
Snake plants don’t need much light or water to survive, so they’re an easy choice for any corner of your home. Also known as Sansieveria & mother-in-law’s tongue, this sharp-leafed plant rids air of formaldehyde and benzene, so add one to your bedroom for a clean-air boost.
How Snake Plant helps: The plant absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during the night (while most plants do so during the day)
Price Range: Rs 50 to Rs 250 for Snake plant’s Cylindrica variety
5. Areca Palm
The attractive form of bamboo palm also made to the NASA’s list of top clean-air plants and it’s particularly effective at clearing out benzene and trichloroethylene.
These palms thrive in full sun or bright light. Part of the reason they can filter so much air is that they can grow to be pretty big—as tall as four to 12 feet high, making them exciting (and pet-friendly) indoor additions.
Although this palm requires bright light to flourish, don’t place it in direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist and feed your plant monthly during summer with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.
How Areca Palm helps: A superstar of filtering formaldehyde, place it where air circulates freely with occasional misting – help deter spider mites.
Price Range: Rs 90 to Rs 1200 (Varies as per foliage & length of the plant)