People spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors. But our dwellings are subject to all kinds of air pollutants, from pollen and pet dander to molds and bacteria. Even upholstery, furniture, cleaning products and synthetic building materials can off-gas toxic compounds. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency ranked indoor air pollutants among the top-five environmental risks to public health.
Luckily, it’s easy to filter the air in your home with the same air filters the earth relies on: plants. Here are the best plants for filtering out some of the most common indoor air pollutants. And don’t just take our word for it—this list was gleaned NASA research and studies published in the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science and elsewhere.
Aloe is one of those plants that will make you feel like a master gardener with very little effort. You hardly have to water it, it loves to grow, and as long as it’s near a sunny window it’s going to be just fine. It also removes formaldehyde, found in cleaning and personal-care products, toilet paper and tissues from the air. But aloe’s even more of a wonder plant than that: If you didn’t already know, its leaves are walking medicine chests. Crack one open and you’ve got a treatment for cuts, burns, and other minor skin irritations and inflammations.