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Home should be a sanctuary, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air within most houses (and office buildings) can be more polluted than the air outside in even the largest, most industrialized cities. The culprit: volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde, which are offgassed from plastics, upholstery, furniture, and other synthetic (and so-called “natural”!) materials. While it’s nearly impossible to prevent this indoor air pollution, there is a low-tech purification fix: houseplants. “Plants are as efficient at filtering air as some of the most high-tech machines,” says Renée Loux, green-living expert and author ofEasy Green Living. “Plus, they’re beautiful and add moisture to the air.” Here, Loux’s advice on finding the right plant for you.
If you don’t have a green thumb…
Try a snake plant.
“They tolerate neglect very well and are easy to nurse back to health if they start looking sad,” says Loux.
If you travel a lot…
This succulent thrives in desert conditions, so it can easily go a week or two without water. Just be sure to leave it in a sunny spot, as aloe needs lots of light.
If your home doesn’t get a lot of light…
Try a spider plant.
Spider plants aren’t as sensitive to low light as other plants. “Keep in mind that a lack of sun will mean they grow slowly,” says Loux.
If your home is drenched in sunlight…
Try a rubber plant.
Rubber plants thrives in direct sunlight and is one of the most effective formaldehyde removers.
If you love to buy cut flowers…
Try potted peace lilies, mums, or Gerbera daisies instead.
They’re all flowering plants that scrub the air.