The humble house plant can be a key weapon in the war on indoor pollution, and new research has revealed exactly which plants are best for sucking up toxins in the home.
A study of the purifying capabilities of a range of common houseplants followed an NHS report on pollution in the home.
The NHS report highlighted how toxins from furnishings, detergents and paints can all have adverse effects on our health.
It went on to claim that indoor pollutants could be causing thousands of premature deaths every year in the UK.
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But the air quality inside homes can be improved by having a houseplant in each room. According to NASA up to 87 per cent of airborne toxins can be removed by plants.
Having plants in a home could also have health benefits with suggestions they reduce headaches, improve breathing related illnesses and decrease high blood pressure.
Researchers at GardeningExpress.co.uk have identified which plants are most efficient at improving air quality.
Chris Bonnet, of GardeningExpress.co.uk said: “The quality of air inside some homes can be as bad as the levels of pollution outside. The air homeowners breathe in could turn out to be just as bad as walking down a busy street in a city.
“Harmful toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene found in some household items pollute the air which can have an effect on people’s health.
“But thanks to mother nature there are specific plants people can use to dramatically improve the air quality inside their homes.
“Acting as a natural air purifier these plants remove many of the harmful toxins and release fresh oxygen, creating a healthier environment to live in.”
Six of the most effective plants in improving air quality are as follows;
Fragrant aloe vera is not only useful when soothing a kitchen burn, but also very effective at purifying polluted air in a home. Unlike most plants, aloe vera emits oxygen during night time as well as day time, meaning it improves the quality of air 24 hours a day.
This evergreen plant was found to be one of the most effective at removing airborne toxins, particularly the carcinogenic benzene, which is a potential cancer-causing pollutant. Peace lilies are easy to care for as they require little light or water to remain healthy, however any households with pets should be wary as the plant is poisonous if consumed.
Also known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, this evergreen perennial is another great plant for improving air quality as it was found to be most effective at removing formaldehyde, a respiratory irritant commonly used in cleaning products.
The snake plant is similar to aloe vera in being one of the few to release at oxygen at night but be careful not to overwater, as the roots will rot if moist for too long.
A popular house plant that is not only good at improving air quality but one that can also help to reduce mould. Placing the plant in a bathroom is where it will be most effective due to the amount of moisture in the air. It is recommended to give it four hours of sunlight per day along with generous watering.
With its mass foliage, the Boston fern is thought to rid the air of harmful toxins as well as improving humidity in a room due to it restoring moisture in the air. The plant could also have potential health benefits for people who suffer from dry skin.
Originally from Asia and Australia this plant has been popular in the UK since Victorian times. Weeping figs are particularly effective at naturally filtering pollutants such as formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory issues. This is an ideal low-maintenance house plant as it only needs re-potting once every one to two years.