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Which Indoor Plants Are Best for Improving Air Quality?


It's a well-known fact that indoor air can be a major health hazard.

Humans spend a large part of their time indoors, and indoor air typically contains pollutants, chemicals, and allergens that can lead to allergies or even more serious conditions such as asthma. In fact indoor air quality is often categorized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being two times more polluted than outdoor environments.

You may be aware that plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen during photosynthesis, but you may not realize that they also remove pollutants and hazardous chemicals from the air we breathe. Fortunately there are plenty of indoor plants that actually clean the air from these pollutants over time.

Different types of indoor air cleaning plants can be used to purify indoor air by removing toxins, improving poor odor issues, reducing humidity, and they help filter out common indoor air pollutants. In this article, we'll cover the following for you:

  • How vital it is to make sure the indoor air quality of your home is taken care of
  • How air purifying plants can help carry the load for cleaning your air
  • Which houseplants are the best air purifying for your home
  • Can indoor air purifying plants work just as well as HVAC air purification systems

Why You Should Improve Indoor Air Quality

When it comes to the air inside our homes, we tend to care more about the temperature of the air more than the quality of air. As long as warm air is blowing in the winter and cool air is blowing in the summer, our HVAC system is doing it's part - right?

Indoor air quality matters because it can have a major impact on our health. Air inside homes can contain chemicals which were applied to furniture or walls, vapors from household products, moisture from cooking and bathing, dust particles from furnishings, pollen spores due to an open window, animal dander/hair/droppings if pets are kept in the home, etc.

These things that may be present in indoor air can cause problems for humans if indoor air quality is poor - allergies become more common when indoor air quality is not good, eczema becomes more prevalent when the person has already been exposed to allergens which trigger allergic reactions, asthma becomes more likely for those who are already sensitive to indoor air contaminants, etc.

Most Polluted Cities in the United States

According to the American Lung Association, 45.8% of Americans—or 150 million people—reside in counties with poor air quality. Poor air quality, including hazardous ozone or particle pollution, can cause respiratory problems that are linked to a shorter lifespan a variety of secondary health issues.

Here is a list of the top cities in the United States, as stated by the American Lung Association, with the poorest air quality:

  1. Los Angeles - Long Beach, CA
  2. Bakersfield, CA
  3. Visalia, CA
  4. Phoenix - Mesa, AZ
  5. Sacramento, CA
  6. San Diego - Chula, CA
  7. San Jose - San Francisco, CA
  8. Denver, CO
  9. Pittsburgh, PA
  10. Salt Lake City, UT
  11. Houston, TX
  12. Las Vegas, NV
  13. El Paso, TX
  14. Cincinnati, OH
  15. Detroit, MI
  16. New York, NY
  17. Indianapolis, IN
  18. Chico, CA
  19. Chicago, IL
  20. El Centro, CA

The Benefits of Air Purifying Indoor Plants

You should care about indoor air quality because the air you breath inside your home can play a major role in your health. Without indoor plants which clean indoor air naturally, indoor air quality would be much worse than it currently is - having indoor plants will help by removing harmful pollutants.

If you live somewhere where outdoor air pollution is present (or near an area which emits harmful chemicals/emissions), using indoor plants which clean indoor air may help reduce some of the effects of breathing polluted outdoor air.

There are many good reasons why homeowners should care about indoor air quality and ensuring that there are plenty of plants indoors to improve indoor air can help improve indoor air quality.

  • Indoor plants remove toxins and clean the indoor air naturally, leaving you breathing cleaner indoor air
  • Indoor plants reduce allergens in indoor air (which helps with allergy sufferers) and increase good chemicals in indoor air (helps to keep home smelling nice)
  • Indoor plants will make people feel more comfortable in their own homes due to having cleaner indoor air (less dryness, less dust coming into home, etc.)
  • Indoor house plants are great for physical and mental health
  • Lack of indoor plants contributes to poor indoor air quality - this leads to health issues which can be avoided when there are plants indoors that emit oxygen and take in CO2 while also cleaning the indoor air naturally.

11 of the Best Air Purifying Plants for Your Home

Indoor plants and houseplants are great at air purifying. These indoor plants that clean the air can also help improve indoor air quality by increasing oxygen levels, reducing carbon dioxide levels and absorbing impurities such as formaldehyde, benzene and xylene from indoor air.

There has been a lot of research on what indoor plants do for indoor air quality. The research is fairly conclusive; indoor plants make people feel better about their living space by making it look better, but they also help indoor air quality.

So which is the most powerful air purifying plant? While they can all benefit, here are 11 of the best indoor plants for air quality you should consider purchasing for your home:

Rubber Plant

Rubbery indoor plants, like the rubber plant houseplant which is actually a tree, have some of the best indoor air purifying qualities. They can remove more pollutants from indoor air than any other indoor houseplant. It is widely accepted that indoor plants filter about 87 percent of contaminants in indoor air. Rubber plants remove benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from indoor air. The rubber tree symbolizes good luck to the Chinese culture because it looks preserved or "rubberized" even when kept indoors. This means it does not need much water or light to thrive inside.

Spider Plant

Spider plants are very easy indoor plants to keep alive. A spider plant is a great indoor plant for beginners because they improve indoor air quality but also the leaves contain small white flowers when they get older. The best part about a spider plant is that you can plant them in a hanging basket to grow long green stems with new plants growing from the end of each stem. This indoor plant will help purify indoor air and beautify indoor spaces at the same time!

Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palm trees make good indoor plants because they can survive very low lights and do not need much water or attention to thrive indoors. There are several different types of bamboo palms available, making it easy to find a type that grows well in your home or office without needing consistent care. This indoor tree houseplant filters formaldehyde from indoor air and its long leaves make it a very attractive indoor plant.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is one of the best indoor plants for indoor air purifying because they absorb airborne toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. You can find aloe in many different forms so you do not have to sacrifice style for indoor air quality. It makes an excellent indoor desk plant or indoor potted plant under windows where it gets indirect sunlight. Its potted outdoor version, which is really more of a succulent than a cactus, makes amazing indoor plants because it can handle sun exposure but will also survive indoors if necessary.

Peace Lily

Peace lilies are great low-maintenance indoor plants that reduce radon and xylene indoor air pollution. It is a tall indoor plant, reaching heights between three and six feet tall. It is also one of the best indoor plants for beginners because a peace lily can survive low light indoor conditions and infrequent watering schedules. Peace lilies are known to filter benzene from indoor air as well as most other common indoor pollutants we find in our indoor spaces.

Snake Plant

Sansevieria plants are indoor plants that thrive in indirect sunlight indoor conditions. This indoor plant which is also known as snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue or Saint George's sword makes an excellent indoor potted plant because it can grow very tall indoors without needing much maintenance at all!

Devil's Ivy

Devil's ivy indoor plants are indoor plants that are perfect for hanging indoor planters. They get their name from the fact that they cling to surfaces like ivy, making them great indoor vines. The devil's ivy houseplant is a low-maintenance indoor plant that does not need direct sunlight or water to do well inside. It has one of the best air purifying qualities among indoor plants which makes it an excellent choice for indoor greenery.

Pineapple Plant

Pineapple plants are indoor plants that many people do not realize are houseplants! Once you learn how to care for them indoor pineapple plants make very attractive indoor potted plants or indoor hanging plants. They grow indoor fruits called pineapples but they also have very pretty leaves that look great as indoor plant decor, even when the fruit is gone! This indoor plant filters xylene and benzene from air inside our homes.

Broad Lady Palm

Broad-leaf Lady Palm is one of the best indoor palms because it filters formaldehyde, xylene and is one of the best indoor plants for removing trichloroethylene from indoor air. They are grown indoors because their natural environment tends to be in tropical rain forests where they can reach up to 90 feet in height. Most indoor palm trees remain much shorter indoor, making them perfect indoor potted plants for indoor decor. They are easy indoor palms to take care of because they do not need direct sunlight or water and they make excellent indoor air purifying houseplants because of their large leaves which filter formaldehyde indoor air pollution in great quantities.

Chinese Evergreen Plants

Chinese Evergreen indoor plants are some of the best indoor air purifying houseplants for your home or office. They do not require much water or indirect light to stay healthy indoors, making them excellent indoor plants for busy people who tend to forget to take care of their indoor potted plants . This indoor plant does well inside in almost any condition, although it will let you know when it is thirsty because its leaves begin to droop! It is an ideal indoor plant because it tolerates frequent pruning quite well and smells good too!

Weeping Fig Plant

Weeping Fig indoor plants are popular houseplants that grow into nice indoor trees with dense foliage. This indoor plant is perfect indoor plants for patios or indoor rooms because it can tolerate low light and infrequent watering schedules quite well! Many people enjoy putting this indoor plant on indoor bookshelves to give them a tropical vibe.

These indoor houseplants are excellent indoor plants because they all grow well indoors, even in low indoor light conditions! They do not need much water or maintenance but clean indoor air around us very effectively. They are perfect indoor plants for allergy sufferers and pet owners because their leaves contain no poisonous chemicals that could harm your pets or family members.

Do Plants Purify Air?

Sure, introducing a few houseplants to your home does have benefits, but often times homeowners need to take more serious steps in order to purify their homes' air quality.

Plants can certainly remove volatile chemical pollutants from the air. Still, some naysayers argue that houseplants make little difference in improving indoor air quality. The reason is that even though plants are continuously cleaning the air, the process is too slow to have a significant impact.

So how do you go about making sure your home's indoor air is pure? Luckily, there are various ways in which you can help purify your home's indoor environment inside along with some pretty items you already have around the house.

Whole-House Air Purifier

An air purifier is a great way to improve the level of cleanliness in your home's air. They can be used for big or small spaces, and are an environmentally friendly solution to removing contaminants from your home because they're reusable and need no filter replacements. Some popular types of air cleaners use activated carbon technology, which works by trapping impurities through chemical reactions that absorb odors, allergens and irritants.

UV Light Air Cleaner

Another approach is to use ultraviolet (UV) light—a common bacteria-killing method found in things like CRT computer monitors, public water dispensers, medical instruments and sterilizers. UV lamps are becoming increasingly popular at homes too because they kill germs without any harsh chemicals or filters.

Are HVAC Air Purifying Systems Worth It?

If you choose to purchase an air purifying indoor plant, keep in mind that any single plant can't significantly improve the quality of your air. It may, however, assist and help.

To make significant air purification improvements to your indoor air quality, you'll need the address your home's HVAC system. At ARS/Rescue Rooter, we understand just how important home means to us which is why we only offer the best indoor air quality products and installation services.

To get started, find your nearest ARS/Rescue Rooter location here or call 866-399-2885 to book an appointment to address your home's indoor air quality today.

Searching for more knowledge to boost your indoor comfort? Sign up for our email newsletter and you'll receive expert tips and advice from our HVAC & plumbing pros. Plus when you sign-up. you'll be entered into a drawing to win a FREE 50 Gallon Gas or Electric Water Heater!

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