Spending time outdoors with the fresh air is amazing for our mental health and boosts our mood. Unfortunately, it’s currently winter and going outside isn’t always the best option. Plants have these amazing health benefits and also make great decor. Americans actually spend most of their time indoors so air quality is super important. Plants can also help improve the quality of air by removing toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide.
What Are VOCs?
VOCs are volatile organic compounds. This can be a scent from a rose, fresh paint, air fresheners, cleaning products, etc. They can be either synthetic or natural. Not all VOCs are harmful but inhaling the harmful ones can be dangerous to our health. Some harmful ones include.
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
How Plants Can Clean The Air
There is a NASA study that shows indoor plants can filter up to 90% of VOCs out of the air and help with other indoor pollutants like excess carbon dioxide. Here are a list of air filtering plants.
- English Ivy
- Bamboo Palm*
- Chinese Evergreen
- Gerbera Daisy*
- Dragon Tree
- Mother In Law’s Tongue**
- Pot Mum
- Peace Lily
- Spider Plant
- Cornstalk ***
- Rubber Tree
- Lemon Button Fern*
- Parlor Palm*
- Aloe Vera**
- Broad Lady Palm*
- Flamingo Lily
- Weeping Fig
- Acrea Palm*
*Indicate pet safe
**Indicates mildly toxic to pets (upset stomach)
***Moderately toxic to pet(upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea)
Decorating Your Home
To get all of the benefits of your indoor plants, 2 plants per 100 square feet is suggested. Adding a touch of greenery can liven up any room and improve your living space.
Succulents, like aloe vera, are a great plant to add to your bedroom, especially if it’s on the smaller side. They can easily fit on shelves or windowsills while also filtering the air. You can even hang the plants from cute little macrame plant holders.
When adding plants to the bathroom, you need to take into consideration the humidity. Succulents again are good because they are small. Snake plants are also good because they are very hard to kill. Peace lily’s are also good if there are no windows. They are also the best plant to filter the air according to NASA. However, if you have pets, please keep in mind that both snake plants and peace lilies are toxic to pets. My cat, Charlie, likes to eat plants so I always have to keep that in mind when I get new ones.
The living room is usually the biggest room in the house so this is where you can add the biggest plants and be more creative. Fig or dragon trees can fill an empty corner. You can also play around with different size plants and pots to add elements and texture.
Since plants can help reduce stress and boosts our moods, they make a great addition to a home office. Acrea palm and a spider plant are both great since they don’t require a lot of attention.
The air in our kitchens are usually the dirtiest in our homes because of the smoke and grease that are emitted while cooking. Adding plants and regularly opening windows can help. English Ivy and Chinese Evergreen are amazing at filtering the air. In the NASA study, english ivy removed up to 90% of benzene. Both of these plants are toxic to pets.
As you can see, plants are an important addition to our homes. Not only to they clean the air but can also help with our moods. And there is a plant for everyone’s needs!