Houseplants Battle Indoor VOC Issues

Author: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC   Date: 26-Aug-2014.   Category: Mold   Add to Favorites 

VOCs and other indoor air pollutants (such as ozone) have been linked to numerous acute conditions, including asthma and nausea, as well as chronic diseases such as cancer and respiratory illnesses. An plant's ability to remove these harmful compounds from the air is an example of "phytoremediation", which is the use of any plant — indoors or out — to mitigate pollution of air, soil or water. Indoor plants remove pollutants from the air by absorbing these gases through their leaves and root systems. The microorganisms that live in the soil of these potted plants also play an important role in neutralizing VOCs and other indoor air pollutants.  While most leafy plants are adept at purifying indoor air, some of the plants that scientists have found most useful in removing VOCs. 

Before you rush out and turn your home into a green house understand there may be VOC issues created in doing so as well. So remember the pot itself may contribute to higher VOCs. Stay away from plastic pots and use clay pots. Clay pots also breath easier preventing root rot.  Micro-organisms living in the soil can also release volatiles into the building air.

Top of the list is the "Peace Lily"


Easy to care for and great for removing all three of most common VOCs — Formaldehyde, Benzene and Trichloroethylene. It can also combat Toluene and Xylene.

Prefers medium, indirect sunlight very minimal light. Yellow leaves indicate the Peace Lily is  getting too much light. Brown spot and streaks indicate direct sun rays have reached the plant and scorched it. Peace Lilies do fine under florescent lights and some have been known to even thrive in rooms with no windows at all! 

Many growers wait for the plant to droop slightly before watering, allowing the plant to tell them when it’s thirsty. In general, water at least once a week and spritz the leaves with soft or distilled water throughout the summer growing season. Water plant less in winter.



Aloe (Aloe vera)

Another easy-to-grow plant, this sun-loving succulent helps clear Formaldehyde and Benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. Aloe is a smart choice for your sunny kitchen or bathroom window. Beyond its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant can help heal cuts and burns. Although aloe vera is applied on wounds, cuts and burns, it’s not ideal for severe cases. High doses and long term oral use can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Avoid aloe when suffering from intestinal problems, hemorrhoids, diabetes, heart disease, electrolyte imbalances or kidney problems. People who have allergic reactions to onions, garlic and tulips should avoid ale vera as it comes from the same plant family. Aloe vera should not be used by expectant mothers, lactating women or children. When you visit the tropics always remember this, there are Aloe plants everywhere!
Water aloe deeply but then allow the soil to dry at least 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings, in order to discourage rot; water even less in winter. Water no more than once a month.. even every other month in summer, not at all in the winter, it actually will grow faster!

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)


Even if you tend to neglect houseplants, you’ll have a hard time killing this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles Benzene, Formaldehyde, Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Xylene.
They like an evenly moist but well draining soil, allow the top of the soil to dry between watering. Slow down watering a bit during the winter months. It doesn’t care for fluoride usually found in tap water (the common cause for brown leaf tips). Use distilled water or water that has sat for at least 24 hours. If you have an aquarium, it thrives on that water.
Clients Please Login to Learn about 20 other Houseplants that remove even more VOCs !!!

What about Houseplants and Indoor Mold from soil? 

Why yes we have a solution for that!! and remember mold grows on decaying plants not healthy ones
- Client Please Login to Read More