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DIY Natural Indoor Air Filters - Top NASA Recommended Plants

When it comes to the clean air of your home, it is often unseen germs and other toxins that threaten to compromise your health.

Have no fear, NASA scientists have identified the top plants that clean air pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, pesticides, carbon monoxide phenols, and radon.

Extensive research conducted by scientists at NASA pinpointed to this as an effective tool in fighting off indoor pollution, because of its ability to absorb harmful gases and purify the air inside spaces, whether it is at your home, office or even public spaces. The NASA study, which was helmed by Dr. B.C. Wolverton, was published back in 1993 and was called “Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement.” The study was done in collaboration with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and it managed to identify 50 different houseplants that are capable of eliminating many of the most common toxins.

You will notice that these larger plants can start to be expensive. We're big fans of the plant selection at IKEA, and the price-points can be beat when you can't afford to purchase organically grown plants.

1. Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)

The Areca palm was proven capable of eliminating the most toluene and xylene than any other plant that was included in the study. This is critical since toluene is part of what experts call as the “toxic trio,” the other two being formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate, which can inflict a lot of harm to humans.

Toluene is often found in common household items like paint thinners, glues, and nail polish removers. Xylene, on the other hand, is an element that is primarily used in the printing industry. The areca palm also has an added benefit: it produces a substantial amount of water vapor, which can be beneficial in places that have dry air.

2. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

The bamboo palm is a plant that is effective in removing formaldehyde, benzene — a component of dyes, rubbers and lubricants — and trichloroethylene, which is a manufacturing solvent.

At times referred to as the “reed palm,” this plant actually favors indirect sunlight, which means it would do just fine when placed near a southeast window in a somewhat warm room.

The bamboo palm does prefer to stay moist but it does not like to be watered liberally nor would it enjoy being placed in water. What you should do is water it well when it is growing actively during the spring and summer seasons, and water just enough to keep it moist during the frigid months.

3. Rubber Plant (Ficus robusta)

One particular plant that has been a favorite since time immemorial is the rubber plant. Studies show that this particular plant, which grows very well indoors, is very efficient in eradicating formaldehyde from the air.

Rubber plants actually enjoy being exposed to either semi-sunlight or shade, and it would still grow well in places where there is not much sunlight exposure, making this plant very easy to find a place for. You should take note not to place the rubber plant in direct contact with sunlight during the summer season so as not to damage it.

Talking about the summer months, you must also give the rubber plant a steady diet of diluted liquid fertilizer. And then, during the fall, you must provide it with sufficient hydration. In the winter, the rubber plant must be kept somewhat moist but not be overwatered.

4. Dracaena “Janet Craig” (Dracaena deremensis)

The dracaena is a favorite amongst homeowners for two very good reasons: it is proven to be one of the most effective plants for eliminating trichloroethylene from the air, and it is also one of the hassle-free plants to have inside your living space.

These plants thrive when placed in indirect sunlight. They are also known to grow well in reduced lighting especially if the watering is lessened. The dracaena likes its soil to be moist but not too damp. Some more things to remember is to not let the root ball dry out and to cut down on watering during the winter season.

5. Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)

The dwarf date palm does very well in eradicating airborne chemicals especially that of xylene, which is a very common element found in most solvents. This particular plant can adapt to a controlled temperature if placed in an area that supports its growth.

The dwarf date palm must be placed in an area that has semi-sunlight. It also needs ample space as even though it grows at a sluggish rate, it can grow to a maximum height of 10 feet! One thing that owners must be wary of is to not place this plant in an area where there are children roaming around as this plant’s base stem contains sharp spines that can easily cause wounds.

This plant needs its root ball to be moist. It also needs consistent misting and weekly feedings in order for it to reach its full potential.


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