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 (www.phytofilter.com). 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.