Sick Building Syndrome
Sick Building Syndrome

Air Filtering Plants – Part II

Sick Building Syndrome
Sick Building Syndrome

In our previous article Air Filtering Plants, we covered few commonly found plants that help purify the air. So if you ever have experienced a burning sensation in your eye, irritation in your nose and a feeling of nauseating in an indoor environment, remember there is always help at hand. These common indoor plants may provide a natural way of helping combat “SICK BUILDING SYNDROME” that is triggered by the following chemicals:

Formaldehyde is a ubiquitous chemical found in virtually all indoor environments. The major sources which have been reported and publicized include urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) and particle board or pressed wood products used to manufacture office furniture. It is used in consumer paper products which have been treated with UF resins, including grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels.

Benzene is a very commonly used solvent and is also present in many common items including gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics, and rubber. In addition it is used in the manufacture of detergents, explosives, pharmaceuticals, and dyes.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a commercial product found in a wide variety of industrial uses. In addition, it is used in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, and adhesives.


Date Palm
Date Palm

Date Palm:
It is a small to medium size, slow-growing slender tree growing to 2-3 meters or 6-10 feet tall. The plant likes partial shade to full sun and is a very common ornamental plant. It has been shown to reduce levels of formaldehyde and xylene in the air.

Common Ivy/English Ivy:
It is an evergreen, invasive plant that can grow 20-30 metres high. It is a climber which clings to the substrate through aerial roots. Bright light, cool, moist air and evenly moist soil will help your English Ivy thrive indoors. Protect it from drafts. Mist the plant often to keep its leaves from drying out. Misting also helps to keep away spider mites that attack this plant.

English Ivy
English Ivy

The English Ivy helps reduce levels of formaldehyde, benzene and xylene in the air.

CAUTION: The leaves of this plant are poisonous if eaten and it can cause skin irritation. It’s a good idea to wear gloves while handling this plant.

Spider Plant:
It is an herbaceous perennial, growing to about 60 cms high. It has fleshy, tuberous roots, about 5–10 cms long. The long narrow leaves reach a length of 20–45 cms and are around 6–25 millimetres wide.

Spider Plant
Spider Plant

Spider plants prefer bright light, and tend to scorch in direct sunlight. However, they will grow in conditions ranging from semi-shady to partial direct sun. They are an essential part of any hanging plant collection. Pot them into simple baskets, provide it with ample water and food, and within two years, you should be rewarded with a full display. Alternatively, they can be positioned atop columns for a beautiful display. Note that plantlets will not form on immature plants. The most common problem is under watering and feeding during the growth season—these are robust plants.

Spider plant has been shown to absorb toxins like formaldehyde and xylene.

To effectively clean the air, a house of 1800 sq ft should use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in six-to eight-inch diameter containers. To simplify it further, a potted plant should be used for every 100 sq ft area in your home, office etc.

Author: Vaibhav Dugar

Me, I am a Green Warrior and yes you are either with me or against me! On paper I’m a telecommunication engineer but professionally, a farmer. Work takes me setting many-a-farms, tilling many-a-lands and playing with soil which I thoroughly enjoy. I love playing football (avidly), going cycling, watching Formula 1 and writing!

If you need company to watch Formula 1, pit stop at Vaibhav.Dugar [at]

To receive updates in your inbox, click here


If you wish to have your work published at Ek Titli, please click here for more details.

Check Also

What is Seed Bombing

Infographic: What is Tree Bombing

Fighter jets are popular for dog fights, death defying stunts, and next generation technologies but rather infamous for multiple bombings over the years that has cost thousands of lives and destroyed unaccountable property. Can these weapons of death, be used to create life?