Clean Air and Houseplants 

The winter season may find you spending a greater share of your time indoors and with that, the potential for greater exposure to indoor pollutants. Indoor pollution has become more common as a result of improvements in home insulation and energy conservation. Building materials and household furnishings made of synthetic fabrics may emit various gases over time and even the use of household appliances and cleaning products can change the air quality in your home. Sensitivities to these pollutants may appear as skin and eye irritations, headaches and fatigue. Dr. Bill Wolverton, a now retired National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researcher, led studies on air quality in spacecraft and found that plants could be used to reduce and remove pollutants from the air.

Photosynthesis is the key to improving air quality because the process takes carbon dioxide from the air and produces oxygen. NASA research and investigation by others has also found that houseplants can absorb these common household air pollutants: formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

Some familiar and easy to grow houseplants noted by researchers for improving air quality include: philodendron, English ivy, peace lily, spider plants, pothos and weeping figs.

The University of Hawaii published an article that describes sources of chemical emissions and offers a variety of plant options with ratings for air quality improvement that you may find interesting.