Modern homes and offices are getting ever more energy efficient and, while this is great for you heating bills, it’s not doing you any favors when it comes to the air quality in your home. An energy efficient home basically means keeping as much of the heat (and indoor air) inside as possible while keeping as much of the heat (and outdoor air) out as possible.
If you live in a heavily polluted area then that’s clearly a good thing but there are plenty of nasty pollutants to be found inside the average home as well.
So what can you do about it?
Increasing ventilation (opening the windows more often) is a good start. It lets more fresh air in and encourages air circulation which is good for your health but again, not something that’s helped with our modern, energy-efficient homes.
You can also try and switch away from harsh, chemical filled cleaning products and switch to more natural ways to clean (Vinegar, anyone?)
Lastly (and the reason you’re here), you can add more plants to your home to help improve air quality. The NASA Clean Air Study found that indoor plants can be effective at removing volatile organic pollutants.
Do Succulents Improve Air Quality Like Other Plants?
Like all plants, succulents take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of the photosynthesis process. This helps improve air quality and flow around your home so it’s a good idea to have plants of any kind around.
Unlike other plants though, many succulents don’t stop releasing oxygen at night so they can make an even better choice for the bedroom, helping you sleep better with all that extra fresh air.
Modern air conditioners or heating systems can dry out the air, leaving you dehydrated or making your throat sore. Succulents can and other plants increase humidity levels which can help aleviate these symptoms, making the room a much more pleasant place to be for extended periods of time.
Best Succulents For Improving Air Quality
While all succulents (like any plant) will help improve the air quality in your home, some are more effective than others due to the rate they consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Some of the best succulents for improving air quality are:
One of the plants used in the NASA study, Aloe Vera has always been a popular plant to have around the house and now you have even more reasons (as if you needed more!) to grab a few extra Aloes next time you pass a garden center.
Aloe Vera has been shown to remove benzene and formaldehyde, two common indoor pollutants, and is known to store up carbon dioxide at night before releasing lots of lovely oxygen in the morning when it’s hit by sunlight.
Add in the fact that Aloe is crazy easy to care for, looks great and can even be used to treat minor burns, and you’ve got a real household hero on your hands here!
Portulacaria Afra, AKA Elephant Bush
If you’re less worried about chemicals in your home and are just looking for more of a ‘carbon sponge’ to soak up excess carbon dioxide around the home, then look no further than the Elephant Bush.
Elephant Bush has been shown to be one of the most efficient plants at soaking up carbon from the air which makes it a great choice to keep in your house.
In its natural habitat, an Elephant Bush can grow to around 15 feet but most people either keep them as a small bush or bonsai tree – just don’t let your pet elephant near them!
Sansevieria trifasciata, better known as the Snake Plant, is another air-cleaning powerhouse and was found to be one of the most efficient plants at removing VOC’s in NASA’s clean air study.
Lots of the other plants in the study only removed one or two toxins from the air but snake plants were super effective at removing four of the compounds tested, including those well known bad guys – formaldehyde and benzene.
Not only do they stand up to nasty things in the air, Snake Plants are pretty tolerant to most conditions (other than overwatering of course) so they are a great, low maintenance way to improve the air around you. They need almost no day-to-day care and will keep on happily sucking up those toxins while you get on with enjoying all that lovely fresh air.
The key takeaway here is this – more plants in your home (especially succulents) will help to clean the air and make it an overall nicer environment to live in.
Even if the air in your home is relatively clean and fresh, it’s still nice to have plenty of plants around. Not only do they make a room look more attractive, but they can also reduce stress, increase your productivity and creativity and give your overall mood a boost.