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Which houseplants are natural air purifiers?

Studies have shown that plants can reduce stress and improve mood, both indoors and out. Plants do extra duty as mini air purifiers, providing beauty and helping to clear the air of potentially toxic chemicals, at the same time.

Certain species may help reduce VOCs, a category of indoor air pollutants that includes benzene, formaldehyde or trichloroethylene, which are byproducts of cleaners, varnishes, insulation and other household products.

Research has indicated these chemicals can cause cancer and other illnesses when they are inhaled. With that in mind, here are some plants that pack a powerful purifying punch.

aloe plant

Aloe

Succulents help clear the air of formaldehyde and benzene. In addition to reducing certain chemicals, the gel inside their branches can help heal cuts and soothe burns.

azalea

Azalea

A flowering shrub with luscious blooms, Azalea can absorb formaldehyde. An added plus for those in more temperate climates, they do better in cooler weather and partial shade.

Red-Edged dracaena

Red-edged dracaena

This slow-growing plant, which is best for removing gases released by xylene, used as a solvent, along with trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, can reach a height of up to 15 feet. For best results, keep it in a room with high ceilings and moderate sunlight, and water occasionally.

Snake plant

Snake plant

Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is one of the best for eliminating formaldehyde. Since it thrives in low light and humid conditions, it’s especially good for the bathroom. Plus, it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night.

spider plant

Spider plant

These plants owe their name to their long branches, which resemble the legs of spiders. Their small white flowers can help filter chemicals as benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene from the air. The plant is hearty, and does well in shade.

One thing to note: While plants have been proven to clean indoor air in controlled conditions, it is difficult to measure how well they work in a real home. A smart air purifier with a HEPA filter, like Coway Airmega, can change a room’s air a few times an hour and is proven to eliminate up to 99.97% of airborne particulate matter.