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5 best plants to purify the air at home


Words by Jonas Kooyman

Plants have made a comeback as decorative elements in our homes. They also improve the quality of your household due to their air purifying talents. In 1989, NASA published the results of their Clean Air Study, stating which plants were best able to neutralize toxic chemicals in the air – useful research for space stations where people spend a lot of time in the same ventilated air. This research still proves useful today, particularly for us urban dwellers as we breathe in smog, fumes and unhealthy office air on a daily basis. When we come home, we are still exposed to unwanted chemicals such as formaldehyde and xylene (found in furniture and household products). Whilst this is a factor we can’t personally control, we can – to a certain degree – control the air quality in our homes. The 5 air purifying plants that everyone should have:

1. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

Besides adding a tropical touch to your living room, the bamboo palm actually reduces the amount of formaldehyde which causes irritation to your nose, mouth and throat. It also reduces the amount of xylene, which can cause dizziness and headaches.

2. Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

If the Bamboo palm is too extravagant for your liking, why not go for this more classic looking green friend – it has the same effect, bringing down levels of formaldehyde as well as xylene.

3. Variegated snake plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)

This V.I.P. (Very Instagrammable Plant) is not only photogenic, it also helps to fight dizziness, headaches and nausea, caused by trichloroethylene – a substance found in paint and ink. Irritation to your nose and mouth, caused by xylene can can also be reduced.

4. Spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

Don’t be fooled by the quirky looking leaves of this green fella. Just like spiders, this plant has a great value in nature. It can reduce the toxic formaldehyde – found in paper and synthetic fabrics  – and also brings down levels of xylene.  

5. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)

What’s in a name? The oh-so-beautiful Peace Lily actually creates peace to the air in your home by filtering not three, not four, but five (!) toxins. From irritation to the eye to an increased heart rate, this flower can reduce a number of pollutants in the air causing them.

Curious to read the full Clean Air Study? Read it here.