Most homes have at least one houseplant in their care, whether it’s a small potted plant that lives on the windowsill or a larger display of ferns and lilies that take up entire rooms.
As well as being aesthetically pleasing and a natural form of décor, plants are actually natural wonders at improving the quality of the air we breathe.
For homes that suffer from high moisture levels or indoor pollutants, having a houseplant or two inside can have a very positive effect.
With mold being one of the most common indoor pollutants found at home and one that has serious impacts on our health, using houseplants to target this problem and bring down moisture levels while maintaining air quality is a smart and natural approach.
There’s a lot to learn about using plants for mold removal and the various ways they can improve our air quality, so having the knowledge of how to use them can be invaluable.
You’ll not only be able to keep mold at bay but will control humidity and moisture levels, making the indoor environment of your home as healthy as possible for you and your family.
This guide can show you just what makes plants so special at removing mold and other toxins and which ones are the most effective for these purposes.
With a few carefully placed indoor plants you’ll get an almost immediate improvement in the air you breathe and ensure your home is as healthy as it can be.
Table of Contents
What Makes Plants So Good For Air Quality?
To understand how a plant can be so beneficial for your home’s quality of air, we need to understand the natural processes of plants that give them their status as a natural purifier.
Numerous studies from NASA, the University of Georgia, and Pennsylvania State University among others have proven that plants can indeed clean the air for us and especially indoors.
One of the plant’s main duties, whether indoors or out, is absorbing gases through the minuscule pores that are found all over their leaves.
This gas absorption is all part of photosynthesis, the process of turning carbon dioxide and light energy into chemical energy which allows them to grow and thrive.
What makes them so special at cleaning the air is the added ability to absorb not just carbon dioxide but a number of other gasses and harmful volatile organic compounds.
These volatile organic compounds include substances like benzene, found in pesticides and smoke, or formaldehyde, found in cleaning agents and cosmetics, both of which can be very harmful.
The soil of a potted plant also contains microorganisms that neutralize these pollutants as well, so there are two processes working at once.
Once the plant is done absorbing these pollutants, they then create fresh oxygen for us to breathe and send it back into the atmosphere.
Therefore, having some carefully placed houseplants around the home can be hugely beneficial for air quality and a completely natural approach that requires very little maintenance on your part.
How Do Plants Reduce Humidity and Moisture Levels?
Excess humidity and moisture in the home are usually pretty easy to detect but can be hard to rectify.
You might spot a patch of mold growing or notice a musty smell in the air, both indicating that there are high levels of moisture around that need to be reduced.
Houseplants are one of the most effective ways to balance humidity levels and have even been considered nature’s own dehumidifiers.
Most plants are capable of harvesting moisture from the air and absorbing it, which they do through the stoma in their leaves, sometimes referred to as a plant’s foliar uptake.
During this process, moisture is absorbed and stored in the plant, using it for growth just as it does when you water the soil.
With this logic in mind, you can see how plants that have moist soil are more efficient at harvesting moisture, and these are the best ones if you’re trying to reduce humidity in your own home.
Having balanced humidity levels is important for the overall air quality but it also prevents the growth of mold, mildew, and the breeding of common household pests like dust mites.
Therefore, choosing the right plants that are adept at absorbing moisture is one simple way that you can reduce humidity in the home and the other side effects that come with it.
Can Plants Remove Mold Spores From the Air?
One of the most common indoor pollutants that a home has is mold, and this dangerous fungus is capable of spreading very quickly.
It does this by spreading hundreds of minuscule spores throughout the air which can have harmful health side effects when ingested or inhaled, ranging from bouts of sneezing to serious illnesses of the upper respiratory tract.
An effective way to reduce the number of mold spores in the air is with plants.
Plants are able to absorb toxins by moving these chemicals through to their roots, and this includes the minuscule mold spores that float through the air.
The soil in a potted plant can also absorb mold through the microbes living in it, so it can be removed with a double approach.
One study found that a room with a plant in it contained between 50 to 60 percent fewer bacteria and mold spores than those without any plants.
Those with larger leaves were able to absorb more and some species better than others, so they can be hugely beneficial when you choose the right ones.
The 3 Best Indoor Plants that Clean the Air and Remove Toxins
If overall improved air quality is the goal for your home, you’ll want one of these houseplants that specializes in exactly that.
These plants are known for their ability to remove toxins and pollutants from the air most efficiently, giving you fresh oxygen to breathe and enjoy.
Commonly referred to as pothos, this plant is a form of philodendron that is notoriously hard to kill, which makes it perfect for those who want something low maintenance.
It features long tendrils that capture toxins and absorb them, and you can have them hanging up high to get the job done. Common toxins that the pothos removes include benzene, xylene, and formaldehyde.
Dwarf Date Palm
Don’t be fooled by the name, as the Dwarf Date Palm can grow up to 10 feet in size. This pygmy palm is small for the palm family it comes from but very powerful at removing toxins from the air.
The Dwarf Date Palm can absorb both xylene and formaldehyde from the air which are common indoor pollutants, and it grows best in the shade so it’s the perfect houseplant.
Also known as the aglaonema, the Chinese Evergreen is one of the easiest houseplants to grow.
They live in almost all climates but need well-drained soil in order to thrive and medium light conditions. This plant absorbs xylene and formaldehyde so it’s great at improving overall air quality.
The 3 Best Bathroom Plants That Absorb Moisture
The bathroom is one of the most humid areas of the home and the one that is more susceptible to the growth of mold and mildew.
If your ventilation is lacking or there’s not much natural sunlight and air in the room, you can place one or two of these houseplants in your bathroom to take care of the problem instead.
The Peace Lily is ideal for the bathroom because it’s able to absorb moisture through its leaves for growth, even though its soil is also watered.
Even in low light rooms like the bathroom it can still thrive and will keep the levels of moisture down in this notoriously moist room. These plants make a gorgeous white flower when in bloom so they’re a great decoration for the bathroom as well.
Any palm is going to do well in humid situations and the Reed Palm is especially great for the bathroom.
This is one palm that does exceptionally well in low light so it’ll work well in the bathroom and it can grow quite large with even more sunlight. As well as absorbing moisture, the Reed Palm can also purify the air so it does two jobs at once.
Another plant that loves humid climates and would appreciate living in the moist conditions of the bathroom is the Boston Fern.
This indoor plant does a great job of absorbing moisture from the air and also balances humidity levels, making it ideal for the bathroom.
Better yet, they require minimal sunlight and only need barely moist soil to thrive so they’re very low maintenance.
The 3 Best Plants That Remove Mold Spores From The Air And Detox Your Home
If mold is a problem in your house and you want to keep your air clean from its spores, there are some specific plants that can absorb them.
Consider adding these efficient mold removing plants to your home for a natural approach to destroying the fungus, as well as attacking the source of the mold.
English Ivy is a great choice for an indoor plant because it does well in a hanging pot. This means it’s able to trap airborne mold spores while not presenting a danger to animals or children who might want to touch it.
All you need to do to help it grow is keep the soil moist and give it a little sunlight each day, and you’ll be rewarded with your own mold remover.
If you have a bad track record with plants and find yourself killing them even with the best intentions, the Spider Plant will be ideal for you.
This plant is great for absorbing mold from the air and can also purify it by removing harmful pollutants like formaldehyde and xylene from the atmosphere. They can survive in all climates and weathers and with minimal sunlight, with some even living in areas that drop to 2 degrees.
The Tillandsia needs a little more maintenance in order to keep it alive, including watering three times a week and a life in front of a bright, sunny window.
However, if you’re able to keep it alive it will reward you by absorbing mold spores from the air and improving the overall air quality.
A Natural Approach to Clean Air and Less Mold
We often underestimate the importance of clean air at home because it’s hard to see just how many pollutants live in it. Invisible dangers like lead, formaldehyde, and mold spores float around without being seen, and they can come with serious side effects for our health if not removed.
Whether your issue is with mold or serious pollutants like asbestos, choosing the right type of plants to live indoors with you can be hugely beneficial.
There are many species of indoor plants that specifically target these common household pollutants so all you have to do is choose the right ones and let them work their magic.
You might have a single, larger plant or many, but whatever approach you take you’ll be guaranteeing an improvement in the air quality and level of pollutants found in your home.
Most houseplants are low maintenance and easy to take care of, and in return, they’ll reward you with a healthier living environment.
Whether you choose plants that specifically absorb mold spores or those that absorb chemicals to make the air a little fresher, you can put these wonders of nature to work to improve the health of your home and your family.