Back in the 1980s, NASA did a study to look at which plants were best able to filter the air of the space station! And, if it's good enough for the space station...
You don't have to be an astronaut to know that plants produce oxygen. But what you might not realize is that indoor plants can also absorb contaminants like benzene and formaldehyde (a known carcinogen). The plants listed below are some of the most popular house plants, so they'll be easy to find, and they're even easier to care for.
Aloe (Aloe Vera)
This easy-to-grow, sun-loving succulent helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. Aloe is a smart choice for a sunny window and beyond its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant can help heal cuts and burns.
Even if you tend to neglect houseplants, you’ll have a hard time killing this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries. As an added bonus, this plant is also considered a safe houseplant for your four-legged friends.
Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue (and we're not making that up), this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. These plants thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions, like a bathroom.
The colorful flowers of a mum can do a lot more than brighten a home office or living room; the blooms also help filter out benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent. This plant loves bright light, and to encourage buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.
Also known as the reed palm, this small palm thrives in shady indoor spaces and often produces flowers and small berries. It tops the list of plants best for filtering out both benzene and trichloroethylene. This plant is also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde.
Shade and weekly watering are all the peace lily needs to survive and produce blooms. This plant topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.
Beyond air quality, plants just make people feel better so get rid of any fake, silk plants—they only collect dust.
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