Just because you can't see pollutants in your home doesn't mean they aren't there. In a recent study, researchers looked at eight common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — the potentially harmful compounds found in paint, cleaning supplies and other common household items — and plants that excel at absorbing those compounds through their leaves and roots. These are the five plants they looked at and the VOCs they absorb best.
This succulent isn't just fun to look at. Researchers also found it beats out the other plants at removing toluene, which is found in paint thinners, lacquers and adhesives — jade wiped out 91% of the pollutant over a 12-hour sampling period.
The chemicals found in items like ink and rubber weren't a problem around this guy. The spider plant, which gets its name from its shape, was the best at removing ethylbenzene (62%), p-Xylene (92%) and o-Xylene (93%) from the air over a 12-hour sampling period.
This plant is more than just a pretty face. Not only was it the most effective at removing pollutants overall — it wiped out more than 80% of six of the eight compounds — but it also took the cake in getting rid of 92% of benzene, a gas found in cigarette smoke.
All of the plants were great at removing acetone — the chemical found in nail polish remover — but dracaena did the best, removing more than 94% of the chemical in only 12 hours.
And here we thought cacti couldn't get any cooler. The Caribbean tree cactus removed a handful of VOCs from the air: 80% of p-Xylenes, ethylbenzene and acetone, and 60% of toluene, o-Xylene and benzene.