Even though we spend most of our time inside, indoor air quality is an often-over-looked issue. Common household items like furniture, upholstery, building materials and cleaning products can release toxins into the air of our homes and offices. Poor indoor ventilation can let airborne toxins build up, causing what doctors call Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). The symptoms of SBS for us humans can include fatigue, allergies, nausea, dizziness and just general “blah”-ness.
If SBS sounds like a drag here, it becomes a serious problem when your hundreds of miles away from Earth’s atmosphere. You can’t exactly step outside for some fresh air on a spaceship! That’s why NASA scientist have been studying ways to keep indoor air clean – at home and in space. And it turns out, one of the best air purifying devices isn’t some fancy Star Trek gizmo. It’s something you can get right here at O’Toole’s: a houseplant!
NASA’s Clean Air Study identified over 20 species of common houseplants that naturally remove toxic compounds like benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, helping neutralize SBS and generally improve well-being. Here’s a few of our favorite air cleaning powerhouses!
Boston Fern Of all the houseplants tested, the Boston Fern was the absolute best at removing formaldehyde from the air. Formaldehyde is one of the most common household toxins and can be released by paper towels, upholstery and building materials.
Dracena ‘Janet Craig’ ‘Janet Craig’ was the variety featured in the Clean Air Test, but there are hundreds of different varieties of dracaena, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your house. These easy-to-grow houseplants we’re rated one of the best for removing trichloroethylene, or TCE, an agent found in some cleaners, dyes or pharmaceuticals
Snake Plant Also called Mother-In-Law’s-Tounge, this tough little foliage plant is perfect for first time gardeners. It takes little care and is nearly indestructible. Plus, it’s excellent at removing benzene, formaldehyde, TCE and xylene from the atmosphere.
Bamboo Palm Bamboo Palm is the Clydesdale of the Clean Air Study. It does an impressive job of filtering just about every tested toxin out of the air. One reason it can do all this heavy lifting is its size. Bamboo palms can get up to 12 feet tall!
Peace Lily Peace Lilies are one of the all-time great houseplants. Not only do they do a fantastic job of removing alcohols, acetone, TCE, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air, they also have a high transpiration rate, which means they releases lots of evaporated water through their leaves humidifying and cleaning the air.