Now that a late autumn chill has set in, your house windows are likely shut. Unbeknownst to you, this traps you indoors alongside a host of invisible pollutants with scary-sounding names: benzene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, xylene, ethyl acetate, acetone and chloroform.
These are just some of the chemicals present in household items from furniture and carpet to everyday cleaners and toilet paper. The first three, particularly, can trigger asthma, allergies and cancer.
So what can you do to improve your indoor air quality? Easy—add plants. Many of them are natural air purifiers, including these common (and easy to care for) top five.
Heart Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
This workhorse plant (pictured above) clears out a variety of VOCs, especially formaldehyde, which is lurking in particleboard and other furniture components. Warning: The plant leaves are toxic if eaten, so keep away from kids and pets. Tips on caring for Heart Leaf Philodendron.
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
This succulent clears out two of the more harmful pollutants (benzene and formaldehyde), and serves double duty with its healing gel that soothes burns and cuts. Tips on caring for aloe.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
I can attest to the facts that these plants are hard to kill, as I have had several for years! The spider plant removes poisonous gases, xylene and formaldehyde from the air and works well in areas with accumulation of carbon monoxide (such as the kitchen stove or the fireplace). Tips on caring for spider plants.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
And its cousin, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (S. trifasciata ‘Laurentii’), works great in humid, low-light bathrooms where they filter out the formaldehyde present in tissues, toilet paper and cleaning products. Tips on caring for snake plant.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
This pretty flowering plant removes all three of the top indoor pollutants listed above and also combats toluene and xylene. It tops NASA’s list as one of the best air purifiers. Tips on caring for the peace lily.
All images (except philodendron) from Wikipedia commons. This post is featured on Small Footprint Friday, Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Hop, Thank Your Body Thursday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday and Party Wave Wednesday.