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House Plants = Healthy Indoor Air

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Keeping our air clean and free from chemicals is a concern for us all, especially the air we breathe indoors. 

Today, buildings are better insulated and hold more toxic chemicals than at any time in history.  Toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, and petroleum-based materials reside in our homes creating a potentially harmful environment. Plants can help to eliminate some of these toxins and add ambiance to our residence.

According to research done by NASA, living green and flowering plants, clean pollutants in the air. We close up our houses in the winter due to the cold weather and breathe reconstituted air-filled with contaminants. These contaminants come from the furniture we sit on, the cabinets we open, and the carpeting we walk on. “Harmful indoor pollutants represent a serious health problem that is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths each year”, according to a 2002 World Health Organization report. These impurities in our air has attributed to a rise in chronic and reoccurring sinus infections, chronic post-nasal drainage, asthma, bronchial infections, ear infections, and other illness cause by synthetic contaminants. Unfortunately, summertime does not alleviate the problem, due to climate controlled homes and office buildings where air conditioning is taking the place of heating systems when the weather turns hot.

The good news is that we can reduce the effects of the most common toxins by adding houseplants to our homes.  Plants produce oxygen, add moisture, and filter out toxins in the air neutralizing indoor pollution. By placing, a few houseplants around our homes and using specific types of houseplants our environment can be beautiful and healthy.

Below is a list of beneficial houseplants and the toxins they are best at filtering.

Plant Names

Toxin it Removes

Asparagus fern Benzene, xylene, hexane, heptane, octane, decane, trichloroethylene (TCE), and methylene chloride 
Aloe Vera: Eliminates emissions from most toxins 
Chrysanthemum: Reduces toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia 
Dieffenbachia: Formaldehyde, Toluene, Xylene
English Ivy: Eliminates petroleum-based products 
Gerber Daisy Adds oxygen to the air 
Peace Lily Removes chemicals from smoking 
Purple Waffle Plant Benzene, xylene, hexane, heptane, octane, decane, trichloroethylene (TCE), and methylene chloride 
Schefflera Benzene, Formaldehyde, Toluene 
Spider Plants:                                Exceptional for reducing formaldehyde 
Variegated Wax Plant Benzene, xylene, hexane, heptane, octane, decane, trichloroethylene (TCE), and methylene chloride


©Jamie Nowinski 5/10/2012

Garden Gate Nursery. (2011). Retrieved from The Garden Gate Nursery and Floral:

Science, A. S. (2009, November 4). Common Plants Can Eliminate Indoor Air Pollutants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from­ /releases/2009/11/091104140816.htm

Wolverton, B. C. (1997.). How To Grow Fresh Air. New York: Penguin Books.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About bigsmileu1

What good is living life if you don't share all the experiences, mistakes, and knowledge you have gained? I am a grandmother, a wife, a mother of two grown children, a Jr. High Teacher for almost two decades, an elementary principal and I want to share my experiences.

4 responses »

  1. I enjoyed reading this. You have inspired me to get more houseplants which is always good. 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing. Love house plants.



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