Green Clean Your Air with Houseplants. ~ Jeff Davis

Via elephant journal
on Aug 26, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

When I was young it seemed that everyone had houseplants, but I don’t see them as much today.

Could the lack of houseplants be part of the problem with some of today’s health concerns?

Many health problems have been traced to the chemicals we use in our homes but haven’t we used these chemicals for years?

Maybe the houseplants helped protect us in years past—just a thought.

So, I did some research on houseplants and indoor air quality and this is what I found:

Those indoor plants, that spruce and beautify your home or office, may just be the answer to fighting against the rising levels of indoor air pollution.

NASA scientists, during a two year study, found house plants to be surprisingly useful in absorbing potentially harmful gases and cleaning the air inside modern buildings. According to their findings, the common indoor plant may provide a natural way of helping combat “Sick Building Syndrome.”

The chemicals used in the research were:

Trichloroethylene (TCE)—used primarily in dry cleaning but also in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives.

Health Concerns: Known as a potent liver carcinogen.

Benzene—used as a solvent and can be found in gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics and rubber. It is also used in the manufacturing of detergents, pharmaceuticals and dyes.

Health Concerns: Known to irritate the skin and eyes, may be a contributing factor in chromosomal aberrations and leukemia. The inhalation of high levels of benzene has been reported to cause dizziness, weakness, euphoria, headache, nausea, blurred vision, respiratory diseases, tremors, irregular heartbeat, liver and kidney damage, paralysis and unconsciousness. Chronic exposure to even relatively low levels causes headaches, loss of appetite, drowsiness, nervousness, psychological disturbances and diseases of the blood system, including anemia and bone marrow diseases.

Formaldehyde—found in virtually all indoor environments, it is used in Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI) and particle board, or pressed wood products. It can also be found in consumer paper products which have been treated with UF resins, including grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels as well as floor coverings, carpet backings and permanent-press clothes.

Health Concerns: Known to irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat. Formaldehyde exposure  can be linked to asthma and recent research conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes it a strong suspect in the cause of a rare type of throat cancer in long-term occupants of mobile homes.

Here are 21 houseplants that will help clean the air in your home or office:

1. Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea Seifritzii

2. Lady Palm – Rhapis excelsa

3. English Ivy – Hedera Helix

4. Gerbera Daisy – Gerbera Jamesonii

5. Janet Craig – Dracaena “Janet Craig”

6. Rubber Plants – Ficus robusta

7. Mass cane/Corn Plant – Dracaena Massangeana

8. Warneckii – Dracaena “Warneckii”

9. Pot Mum – Chrysantheium morifolium

10. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum

11. Boston Fern – nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”

12. Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum “Vittatum”

13. Wax Begonia – Begonia semperflorens

14. Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema Modestum

15. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – Sansevieria Laurentii

16. Heart Leaf Philodendron – Philodendron scandens oxycardium

17. Prayer Plant – Maranta leuconeura “Kerchoveana”

18. Aloe Vera – Aloe barbadensis

19. Dwarf Banana – Musa cavendishii

20. Dwarf Date Palm – Phoenix roebelenii

21. Marginata – Dracaena Marginata

I suggest that adding plants to your home or office is a great way to improve the quality of the air and to make it a more pleasant place to live and work.

Health Concerns: People feel better, perform better and enjoy life more.


Go Green GuyJeff Davis is the Go Green Guy and until next time, he says, “Do your family a favor, get some indoor plants and breathe deeper, enjoy a greener healthier home!” Follow him @thegogreenguy and be sure to like his Facebook page.


Editor: Sara McKeown

Like elephant Green on Facebook.


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of Questions? Send to [email protected]


9 Responses to “Green Clean Your Air with Houseplants. ~ Jeff Davis”

  1. Kirsten Akens says:

    Great article, but it's always worth mentioning that many plants that help clean toxins from the air, are also toxic to pets. If you have cats and/or dogs in your house, check the ASPCA's website before bringing any plants into your home:

  2. lisa cohen says:

    i believe that keeping succulents and cacti near a computer is also a good idea to reduce radiation exposure:

  3. […] Green Clean Your Air with Houseplants. ~ Jeff Davis | elephant journal […]

  4. […] Green Clean Your Air with Houseplants. […]

  5. […] system. It supports many basic natural services for humans, such as fresh water, fertile soil and clean air. Biodiversity helps pollinate our flowers and crops, clean up our waste and put food on the table. […]

  6. […] the house smell sweeter is to dip cotton balls in vanilla extract and place them around the home. Houseplants help to freshen air […]

  7. Nice post! Office plants are great for bringing up a positive atmosphere.

  8. Dracaena says:

    Thanks for the info! I also have a useful post about Dracaena, undemanding plant that helps clean the air from dust. Here