NASA’s top air-filtering houseplants and other top performers

Every so often, we hear about the NASA plant study of top houseplants to help clean indoor air. Done in the 1980s, the study looked at which houseplants would be most effective at filtering the air in space facilities.

Although done for astronauts, the results are just as useful here on Earth, particularly for those of us in Ottawa and other northern climates who spend long months cooped up indoors during winter.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the air inside our homes can be “dirtier” than the air outside, thanks to homes today that are so airtight they don’t “breathe” as easily as they once did. It means stale air builds up with┬ápollutants such as dust mites and toxins released from off-gassing furniture and other household items and products and doesn’t escape.

That’s where plants come in. Along with absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, many houseplants do a great job of filtering some of the nasty things floating around in our homes, like formaldehyde and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Here’s a list of some of the top performers.

Building on that, this great article lists 35 of the best indoor plants for your home, not just for cleaning the air, but ones that are almost impossible to kill or are super-low-maintenance. It even gives preferred growing conditions and whether or not a plant is hazardous for children and pets.


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