House Plants that Clean the Air of Xylene and Toluene

On Friday, we finished the survey that NASA did of house plants that clean the air. But that’s not the end of the story. Other scientists have since expanded on that study and added other chemicals that they wanted to study, bringing to the final number 6 chemicals that house plants remove from the air.

This later group was studied BC and JD Wolverton. BC Wolverton was one of the principal investigators in the 1989 NASA study. You can find a great chart showing a list of all the plants studied, the chemicals they remediate, and whether they are toxic to pets, summarized here.

Why would you have xylene or toluene in your home or work space? These chemicals are primarily found in copiers, printers and beauty products–so most of us come in common with them in daily life.

And while I do not have a microgram comparison for these plants, some of the best plants for removing these chemicals (which appear to have been studied together) are as follows:

Spider plant, peace lily, Chinese evergreen, bamboo palm, dracena marginata, snake plant, florist mum–in other words, most of our old friends from our other studies. Interestingly enough, dendrobium and moth (phalaenopsis) orchids also seem to work well for this purpose.

So once again, there is a plant for just about everyone in this list if you are concerned about removing these very common chemicals from your home, work space–or home office!

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