Updated August 2023

Many homeowners in Elk Grove, CA, are dismayed to learn that their indoor air quality is two to five times worse than the outdoor air. Indoor air pollution comes from many sources, including your freshly dry-cleaned clothing, new furniture, hobby activities, cooking, and other products and activities. There are many ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality, and houseplants are a simple and attractive option. Consult this list in order to find out the top five houseplants for improving indoor air quality.

1. English Ivy

If you have one or more “brown” thumbs, English ivy is a great choice for a houseplant. It grows well in dim or indirect lighting conditions. This is an evergreen vine, and it will climb up curtain rods, shelves, or a trellis if you put one nearby. They also do well in hanging baskets. Over the years, the vines can grow up to 50 feet in length. English ivy does need rich organic soil, so you may need to fertilize it once every couple of months. It needs about one inch of water each week. Avoid getting the leaves wet when watering the plant.

The plant’s leaves absorb benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from your home’s air. It can also remove airborne bits of fecal matter, making it a good choice for growing close to the ceiling in a room with a cat’s litter box. Avoid putting English ivy within reach of children or pets. The leaves are poisonous.

2. Peace Lily

The peace lily is an elegant plant that produces white flowers. The leaves are broad and vivid green in color, and the flowers have a cup shape. Avoid using tap water when watering a peace lily. The fluoride will cause the leaves to turn brown. Instead, use distilled or rainwater. Peace lilies prefer humidity levels of 50% or more. They thrive in bright, direct sunlight. Bright light is required in order for them to produce blooms. Peace lilies rarely need fertilizing. At maturity, they reach up to 16 inches tall. It’s a good idea to replant the peace lily each spring. This gives its roots a chance to grow and become stronger. If it gets too large for its pot, it can be broken up and divided. It grows by rhizomes, so each broken section needs to have a good clump of rhizomes.

This plant also removes benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from your home’s air. A NASA study found that these plants are the most effective houseplant for removing TCE from indoor air and can remove almost 23% within a 24 hour period. Keep in mind that all parts of the peace lily plant are poisonous. They contain calcium oxalate, which is toxic to pets and people. Keep these plants out of their reach.

3. Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palm is a sturdy plant that grows three to six feet in height. It can grow in low light conditions, but it will get taller if it has a moderate amount of light. Bamboo palm needs rich soil in order to produce vigorous growth and vibrant green color on the leaves. It does best in a sunny location with indirect light and away from any air vents or breezes from windows. Use room-temperature, filtered water for it. Use a time-release fertilizer during the spring. Make sure to water the fertilizer into the potting soil. If any leaves turn brown, remove them. Once per week, check the leaves for mites. Wash the leaves with a mixture of warm water and biodegradable dish soap if you notice mites.

The bamboo palm plant does an exceptional job of removing formaldehyde from your home’s air. For this reason, it makes a great addition to a living room or bedroom. If you’re planning to buy new furniture, throw pillows, or other accessories, a pot of bamboo palm will absorb the gases your furnishings and fabrics release. Bamboo palm isn’t poisonous, so it’s safe to place a pot of it on the floor if your home includes pets or children.

4. Spider Plant

If you travel a lot, are extremely busy or forgetful, a spider plant is an excellent houseplant for detoxifying your home’s air. These plants have long been known as the “gift plant.” That’s because they grow a long shoot from which a baby plant develops. The baby plant can be snipped off the shoot and planted into a new pot of soil. The baby plants are also called pups, offsets, or shoots. Allow the baby plants to reach at least two inches in diameter before cutting and repotting them.

Spider plants can be ignored for weeks, and they’ll typically do fine. If you forget to water them, their leaves will fade in color. However, they can go for a couple of weeks without water and still survive. After watering a thirsty spider plant, the vibrant green color comes back, and the long fronds look perkier. Spider plants need moderate to bright indirect sunlight and soil that drains well. They grow quickly, so you may need to replant them once or twice per year. Avoid putting a spider plant next to a window. Its leaves could get burned from direct sunlight.

Another NASA study testing houseplants ability to clean air and found that the spider plan can remove 95% of formaldehyde from the air in 24 hours. Spider plants absorb fumes from leather and rubber. If you’ve purchased a leather sofa or headboard, add a spider plant to the room. There are several varieties of spider plants, and they all do a good job of purifying indoor air.

5. Aloe

Even if your home’s indoor air quality is good, aloe is an ideal plant to keep in your home. This succulent is one of the most widely-used medicinal plants in the world. The liquid produced in its leaves treats burns, skin irritations, and itchiness. The gel’s antimicrobial properties are also good for treating small cuts and abrasions. Its leaves bear spikes and are broad and slightly curved. Aloe doesn’t usually need to be fertilized. If its leaves lose color, try springtime fertilization. Use a fertilizer that is heavy in phosphorous, but dilute it to half-strength. Aloe typically grows slowly. The plants are long-lived, and those that are a decade old can get quite large.

Aloe plants are low maintenance. You’ll need to begin with a potting soil that is formulated for cacti or succulents. Add Perlite or potting sand. Aloe will not tolerate standing water. The soil needs to be well-drained, and the pot should have multiple drain holes. Aloe does well in soil that is moderately dry. When you do water the aloe, drench the soil, but allow the water to drain. These plants require bright, direct sunlight for at least six to eight hours every day. For the best results, put your aloe plant in a south- or west-facing window.

Aloe does a good job of removing volatile organic compounds from your home’s air. This includes chemicals from cleaning agents and paints. If you’ve just remodeled your home or you do a lot of cleaning, add an aloe plant or two to your living spaces.

At Huft Home Services, our skilled and NATE-certified technicians are prepared to provide you with indoor air quality improvement solutions, quality heating and air conditioning repairs, maintenance, installations, and replacements in Elk Grove, Sacramento and the surrounding area. We also offer home insulation, heating and cooling inspections, whole-house fans, and comfort programs. To learn more or schedule service, call us today.

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