Indoor plants on bench

5 indoor plants that improve the air quality at home

Not only do indoor plants look fab thanks to the colour and texture they add to the home, but it turns out they breathe a little more life into the air, too.

“It’s generally recognised that Australians spend 90% or more of their time indoors,” the Department of the Environment and Energy says.

Given the time we spend indoors as mamas when we have little ones, and the fact that indoor air pollutants can build up and be present in larger amounts than humans should be breathing in, this is something that needs our attention.

To find out the best way to improve the air quality at home we turn to NASA. Yes, you did read that right, mama, we do mean the space scientists.

If a living or office space is rife with air contaminants and lacking decent ventilation, it can cause what’s known as ‘sick building syndrome’.

“SBS is used to describe an excess of chronic symptoms,” the Department of the Environment and Energy says, adding, “Some short-term symptoms may be described as irritation of the skin, eyes and throat. Headache, drowsiness and general irritancy are also indicators of SBS.”

In 1989 in the hopes they might be able to find a solution to help mitigate the chemicals in the air and in turn find a way to maintain air quality inside space stations, NASA conducted research into the ability of indoor plants to reduce air pollutants inside. The top advice from NASA’s Clean Air Study? Use house plants to improve air quality.

The study looked at which house plants best diffuse chemicals commonly found indoors (such as formaldehyde, ammonia and benzene). Here, we’ve picked our five favourite NASA-approved plants to help clean the air.

1 // Snake plant

Combating chemical compounds such as xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene and benzene from the air, the snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue), gives out oxygen at night. Place one in your bedroom and it can help you breathe better while you sleep.

2 // Red-edged dracaena

This is one of the most effective indoor plants for removing formaldehyde (found in paints, wallpaper and smoke from fireplaces) and benzene (found in dyes and synthetic fibres). Growing up to 2.5m high, these plants look great in living rooms.

3 // Aloe vera

A great plant to keep in Aussie homes to treat sun-kissed skin with its soothing gel, the aloe vera plant fights benzene (found in detergents and plastics) and formaldehyde (found in varnishes and floor finishes).

4 // Broadleaf lady palm

One of the few indoor plants to filter out ammonia (found in cleaning products), the broadleaf lady palm survives well in humidity.

5 // Spider plant

Fighting carbon monoxide, xylene (found in petrol and rust preventers) and formaldehyde (emitted with vehicle exhausts), the spider plant is a great one to keep in garages and sheds. It’s also very resilient, too.

You might also like: 7 herbal teas to help promote winter wellness5 inspiring mamas to help you kickstart the week, and We’re throwing in the 9-to-5 for life on the road with a 1-year-old.

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