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The 16 Best Houseplants for Healthy Indoor Air & Eliminating Allergens

Posted on March 23, 2017 by Chris Lancaster

If you’re not an allergy sufferer, you may not understand the importance of having a place to go where you can breathe clean, fresh, allergen-free air. Springtime is hard on people with allergies. Sneezing, runny nose, that feeling that you want to claw your own eyes out because they itch so badly – we sympathize.

We have some good news for allergy sufferers. While you can’t control the outside air, or even the air at your place of work, you CAN control the air in your home. You sleep in that home at least eight hours every night, so you have the ability to breathe healthy, allergen-free air at least one third of your day. Read on to find out the three secrets to making your home a haven from allergens.

Why Is the Air in Your Home So Bad?

First, to understand why there is so much room for improvement in the typical home’s air quality, we must understand what causes it to be so bad to start with. While there are some well known causes for poor air quality, like car exhaust or carbon monoxide, many of the culprits behind inferior air are household products we use every day.

Air fresheners, pesticides, cosmetic products, types of glues, and even office equipment like printers or copiers can release particles into the air that can sabotage the quality. Not all of these kinds of pollutants will cause serious health damage, but some can cause lesser symptoms like fatigue, irritated eyes or skin, or coughing.

It’s important to remember that air moves through your home – sources of poor air quality in one room rarely stay in that room. However, it’s also worth noting that we like to seal our home up tightly to create more efficient heating and cooling. So, when the air in your home becomes polluted, it stays in the home. If you’re not sure about the air quality in your home, ask yourself some simple questions:

  • Do you have leaking or standing water anywhere inside your home?
  • Can you smell mold or mildew?
  • Have you recently renovated any rooms (painted, installed carpeting, etc.)?
  • Do you use solid fuels (like wood or coal) for heating or cooking?

If you answered yes, you may have some serious indoor air quality issues. These activities, and any others that release particles into the air you breathe, bring down the quality of that air. Most activities that leave a strong smell behind – painting, refinishing wood, grilling or smoking meat – are leaving particles in the air. Careful attention and ventilation are required to keep these activities from polluting the air in your home.

Make Your Home Your Sanctuary

While we are a heating and cooling company, we want you to know that we can help with allergies, too. At Lancaster Brothers, we offer whole-house air cleaners that remove dirt, dust, pet dander, mites, and other allergens from the air in your home. We recommend the Lennox PureAir purification system for allergy sufferers.

What’s Wrong with My Current Air Filter?

Most homes are heated by a traditional heating and cooling system, and with that system comes an air filter. Most of us are familiar with that 1” filter that you normally change once a month. You do realize you have to change that, right?

That 1” filter is designed to capture about 10% of what is flying around your home. Meaning, it really only captures the largest dust spores in the air and not much else. A larger 4” filter is a better option since it will collect about 80% of what is in the air. This type of filter is able to collect more of that dust and smaller particles as well. However, if you have allergy sufferers living in your home, there are contaminants that still remain in the air you breathe. You need a serious air filter.

Weapon #1 – The PureAir Air Purification System

The best option for clean air in your home is an electronic air cleaner. Indoor air contains three classes of contaminants that negatively affect indoor air quality. Many air cleaning systems available today only combat some of the irritants found inside your home. We choose to use this system because it is the only single indoor air quality system that is designed to address all three classes of indoor air contaminants:

  • Airborne Particles – The PureAir system filters out more than 95% small, breathable particles such as dust, dirt, pollen, and allergens down to .3 microns
  • Germs and Bacteria – The PureAir system combats 90% of airborne mold spores, bacteria, and viruses  down to .01 micron
  • Chemical Odors and Vapors – PureAir destroys household odors and chemical vapors from sources like pets, cleaning products, and cooking appliances

For allergy sufferers, this is the best type of air filtration to have in your home. Not only can it be installed on any existing furnace and air conditioner system, it will also provide the cleanest possible air to breathe in your own home.

Weapon #2 Follow These Tips for Allergy Sufferers

  • Shower at Night – This helps remove any pollen and other allergens from your hair that would otherwise get transferred to your pillow…where you breathe every night
  • Go Barefoot at Home – Removing your shoes helps keep from tracking allergens around your home and embedding them into the carpet
  • Keep the House Closed Up Tight – It may be tempting to let the fresh air in, but allergy sufferers will pay for it, so don’t do it
  • Change Your Filter on Your AC Often – Keep the air as clean as possible by replacing your air filter at least once a month
  • Use the Re-circulate on Your Vehicle’s AC – When driving in your car, you can reduce the amount of allergens you breathe by recirculating the existing air, rather than letting fresh air in
  • Lower the Humidity in Your Home – A humidity level of less than 60% will discourage spores from mold growth
  • Pay Attention to the Pollen Count Outside – If the pollen, ragweed, mold, etc. count is high, it’s best to limit your outdoor activities that day

Weapon # 3 Houseplants

One other way to make your home a haven from allergens is to let nature remove them from the air for you. One of the best additions allergy sufferers can add to their homes is houseplants. Plants remove toxins from the air 24 hours a day just by living there!

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, yes, that NASA) did a Clean Air Study in 1989, in an effort to find ways to clean air in space stations. That study revealed a number of plants that not only absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen (as all plants do), but also remove other toxic agents like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air. Their recommendation efficient air cleaning is to use at least one plant per 100 square feet of space. Here is the list of the 16 best plants you can add to remove toxins from the air.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’)

Chinese Evergreen Plant

This plant likes low light and humid air. Mist the leaves lightly to keep them from turning brown.

  • Removes: benzene and formaldehyde
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy House Plant

This climbing vine does well in low light environments and prefers moist soil and occasional misting.

  • Removes: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

pleace lily

This plant can grow in low light and blooms year round. Weekly watering is required, but it lets you know when it’s thirsty by wilting, but quickly recovering when watered. It has a high transpiration rate that will humidify your air.

  • Removes: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

Broadleaf Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)

Broadleaf Lady Palm

Palm trees are relatively easy to care for and add a tropical feel to any home. They prefer cooler temperatures (60-75 degrees). Dwarf date palm, bamboo palm, areca palm, and parlor palm are all good air cleaners in the palm family.

  • Removes: formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, ammonia, and acetone
  • Non toxic to dogs & cats

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Boston Fern

The Boston fern is considered one of the most efficient air purifiers, but can be temperamental requiring constant moisture. They require weekly feeding in the warmer seasons when they’re growing, monthly during the winter, and they like to be watered and misted regularly. The Kimberley Queen is a larger fern with broader leaves that fares better in drier air. It’s a great natural humidifier.

  • Removes: formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene
  • Non toxic to dogs & cats

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake Plant

This plant’s common name is mother-in-law’s tongue, named for its long, sharp leaves. It thrives in low light and humid conditions making it perfect for placement in the bathroom.

  • Removes: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

Red-Edged Dracaena (Dracaena marginata)

Red Edged Dracaena

This slow-growing shrub has purple-red edges on its narrow leaves. It can reach up to 15 feet in height.

  • Removes: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

Warneck Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckei’)

Warneck Dracaena

This shrub is also slow growing but features white stripes along the leaf edges and requires even less sunlight than the red-edged variety.

  • Removes: benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

Aloe (Aloe vera)

Aloe Vera

Aloe is easy to grow, and loves the sun. Besides cleaning the air, the gel inside the aloe plant helps heal cuts and burns including sunburn.

  • Removes: benzene and formaldehyde
  • Warning: toxic to dogs and cats and dogs

Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

Gerbera Daisy

Gerberas (sometimes called gerber daisies) like well-drained soil, a little misting a couple of times a week, and at least six hours of sunlight a day. Brightly colored cut blooms can last as long as two weeks. Bonus – their happy, colorful flowers stay fresh for a couple of weeks when cut.

  • Removes: benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene
  • *Non-toxic to dogs and cats

Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)


Mums, as they’re commonly called, love bright, direct sunlight. Choose a floral variety, not a garden variety for inside use.

  • Removes: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia.
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Weeping Fig

Ficus trees can be finicky. They prefer bright, but indirect light and don’t like large fluctuations in light or temperature. Once you get the light conditions and watering schedule right, they last a long time.

  • Removes: formaldehyde, xylene and toluene
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron cordatum)

Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf philodendron are very low-maintenance plants. They thrive with indirect light and very little maintenance. Like other vines, it can trail from a hanging container or can be trained to climb trellis.

  • Removes: formaldehyde
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

Rubber Plants  (Ficus elastica)

Tolerates very little sun (the less sun, the slower the growth) and is aesthetically pleasing.

  • Removes: formaldehyde
  • Non-toxic to dogs and cats

Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis)

Janet Craig

Janet Craigs will also tolerate very little sun, but are hardier than the rubber plant and will survive more abuse and neglect than the rubber tree.

  • Removes: formaldehyde
  • Warning: Toxic to dogs and cats

These beautiful additions can allow you to experience the difference of a home free from allergy inducing particles. If you know someone who suffers from allergies, share this blog with them to let them know they have options!

Want more information? Call the professionals at Lancaster Brothers Heating & Cooling at (913) 851-3399 or send us your questions at today!

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