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15 Air-Purifying Plants to Cleanse Your Space of Chemicals and Toxins

Breathe easy with these powerhouse plants that purify the air

By Krisit Kellog | July 11, 2020 | Gardens

Air-purifying plants are natural wonders—these plants actually  clean  toxins from the air in your home. According to the Environmental Protective Agency, a growing body of scientific evidence shows that the air in our homes "can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities," which means we need these plants now more than ever.

“Plants naturally remove toxins from the air, inspire creativity and focus, increase mental health, serve as natural humidifiers, and bring life to a home,” explains interior plant designer Lisa Muñoz of Leaf and June.

Different plants are better at fighting different types of indoor air pollution, so your best bet is to cultivate a variety of these plants so they can work together to fight  all types of toxins. What are some of those toxins?

A study from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) found that certain plants are capable of filtering toxins such as:

Benzene (commonly found in varnishes, detergents, rubber, paints, plastics, inks, oils, detergents, dyes, gasoline, and floor finishes)

Trichloroethylene (commonly found in printing inks, varnishes, adhesive, and lacquer)

Formaldehyde (commonly found in paper towels, facial tissues, tobacco smoke, gas stoves, adhesive binders in floor coverings, carpet backing, and grocery bags)

Ammonia (commonly found in cleaning products)

Toluene (commonly found in stain removers, oils, paints, paint thinner, paintbrush cleaner, nail polish, and inks)

Carbon monoxide (commonly found in vehicle, fireplace, stove, and furnace fumes)

Styrene (commonly found in carpet backing, fiberglass, packaging, home insulation, wiring insulation, and drinking cups)

Read on to learn about the 15 best air-purifying plants, along with the specific toxins each one helps to filter.

Image: Unsplash

Whether in burgundy or regular green, rubber trees will produce lots of oxygen—more than any other plant, in fact! In addition to producing oxygen and eliminating air toxins, the rubber tree effectively removes mold spores and bacteria from the air (by up to 60%). Fighting off mold and bacteria is part of the plant's defense mechanism to protect its soil.

Rubber trees filter toxins including:

- formaldehyde

Algonema Silver Bay Chinese Evergreen

Happy in any kind of lighting, these "Chinese evergreens" are known to increase productivity, concentration, and memory while also reducing stress and boosting mood. Chinese evergreens come in a wide variety of shades including pink, red, orange, yellow, and grey.

Chinese evergreens filter toxins including:

- benzene

- formaldehyde

- carbon monoxide

 - trichloroethylene

Spider Plant

Spider plants are gorgeous, sprawling greens that clean the air  and are pet-friendly! NASA's study found that spider plants were able to remove 95% of chemicals from the air in 24 hours.

Spider plants filter toxins including:

- carbon monoxide 

- benzene

- styrene

- formaldehyde

- xylene

 - toluene

Image: Unsplash

Snake plants are easy to grow and happy in all kinds of lighting situations. “They’re robust and statuesque, which means they don’t take up much room in terms of width, and they’re also one of the best air-purifying plants,” says Munoz.

Snake plants filter toxins including:

- benzene

- formaldehyde

- trichloroethylene 

Boston Fern

The feathery Boston fern is a great potted  or hanging plant. These plants can be grown outdoors in the fresh air as well, but they're typically found inside.

Boston ferns filter toxins including:

- formaldehyde

- xylene

Golden Pothos

This leafy vine can be hung in midair or set on a shelf to climb all the way across it. Also known as the Devil's Ivy, it grows steadily in low light or fluorescent light. It's one of the easiest plants out there to keep alive.

Golden pothos plants filter toxins including:

- toluene

- formaldehyde 

- xylene

- trichloroethene 

- benzene

Image: Unsplash

This member of the ficus family grows up to three feet and looks more like a small tree, but it's actually a plant. The miniature variety grows up to three feet, and the standard version grows up to 10 feet.

Weeping figs filter toxins including:

- benzene

- formaldehyde

- trichloroethylene

Peace Lily

This stunning plant grows up to 16 inches and boasts gorgeous white blooms beginning in summer.

Peace lilies filter toxins including:

- benzene

- trichloroethylene

- formaldehyde

Bamboo Palm

This plant thrives in humidity, so consider placing one in your bathroom. The more light a bamboo palm gets, the taller it will grow. At full size, the fluffy-leaved beauty can be anywhere between 4–12 feet. Other palms, like the parlor palm and the lady palm, also clean the air.

Bamboo palms filter toxins including:

- ammonia

- formaldehyde

- xylene 

- toluene

Image: Pexels

This incredibly versatile plant is just as good at clearing the air as it as at soothing burns and scrapes.

Aloe vera filters toxins including:

- benzene

- formaldehyde 

- carbon monoxide

Philodendron Heartleaf

Philodendrons (including heart-leaf, elephant ear, and sellous philodendrons) are all effective air-purifying plants.

Philodendrons filter toxins including:

- formaldehyde

Anthurium Scherzerianum (Flamingo Lily)

This colorful plant's blooms look like flamingos, which is why, fittingly, it's also called the "Flamingo Lily."

Filters toxins including:

- ammonia

- toluene

- formaldehyde

Dracaena Warneckii

In addition to purifying the air, a Dracaena will also apparently improve attention span and boost memory—making it perfect for your home office.

Dracaenas filter toxins including:

- formaldehyde

- xylene

- trichloroethene

- benzene

English Ivy

This climbing evergreen perennial can grow up to 50 feet tall. In addition to removing toxins, studies have shown, English ivy can reduce particles of fecal matter and mold in the air.

English ivy filters toxins including:

- formaldehyde

- xylene

- toluene

- benzene

Image: Pexels

This flowering plant produces one of the happiest flowers, and it is also a powerful air purifier.

Barberton daisies filter toxins including:

- benzene

- formaldehyde

- trichloroethylene

Feature Image: Unsplash

This article originally appeared on Architectural Digest

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