Reading the World Health Organization’s statistics and facts about the link between household air pollution and health is frightening.

To summarise the problem – the average person spends 90% of their day indoors. The air inside the home contains a multitude of toxins and pollutants (in many cases 2 to 5 times more than the air outside, and in the worst cases 100 times more) that are responsible or at least contributing factors to severe allergies, asthma, lung cancer and heart problems.

Most of us are probably conscious of the quality of the roughly two litres of water we drink per day. But what about the 11,000 litres of air that we inhale each day?

Fortunately, there are some instant improvements we can make. Opening the windows, avoiding harsh cleaning products, fixing any leaks, vacuuming regularly, replacing old carpets, cleaning areas of mold, washing and airing bedding frequently…

But studies have also shown the efficacy of certain indoor plants. Science tells us that in isolation, a single indoor plant can contribute between 0.9 and 9% of pollutant removal. Though this may not be staggering, in conjunction with some of the other suggestions, you can make a real improvement. Not to mention the added mental and emotional benefits of surrounding yourself with plants!


Here are a few suggestions:

  • Rubber tree/plant – the rubber tree’s secret superhero power is fighting off mold and bacteria. It is also one of the highest oxygen producing plants. Keep out of reach of plant-partaking pets.
  • Spider plant – having little to do with spiders, this plant sprawls from its pot and looks great on window sills. It is pet friendly, and helps to remove chemicals in the air.
  • Mother in Law’s Tongue – sporting a cool name, this plant is easy to grow and happy in any lighting condition. It filters toxins and doesn’t take up much room. Toxic to household pets.
  • Golden Pothos – a fast-climbing vine, it looks great crawling along a shelf or draping down a wall. It filters toxins and is very hard to kill. Should be kept out of reach of household pets.
  • Bamboo palm – this magnificent indoor palm is sure to grace any space. It is safe for pets, and filters toxins from the air.

– Ronja Skandera