Detox’s Little Helpers—House Plants

By Melissa Lum

House plants do a lot more than just brighten up a room—they also help remove the toxins that cause indoor air contamination. Former NASA scientist Bill Wolverton harnessed his knowledge of the purifying powers of plants with his recent invention of a high-tech air filter that looks just like an ordinary potted plant ( However, we prefer the real thing. These five household plants do exceptionally well at removing formaldehyde (found in carpeting, plastics, and synthetic fabrics), which the EPA lists as a possible carcinogen.

Spider Plant: Does best in medium to bright light; water thoroughly, and let soil dry out between watering.

Peace Lily: Blooms in medium light; keep soil slightly moist.

Bamboo Palm: Keep in medium to bright light; thrives in humid environments.

Janet Craig (Corn Plant): Keep in bright light but out of direct sun; let soil dry out between watering.

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant): Very durable and grows well in all lights; be careful not to overwater.