What You Need Is a Dust-Reducing Houseplant.
While much has been written about how plants can cleanse the air of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, and volatile organic compounds (based on a much-cited 1989 NASA study), this study has also been rebutted as not having a significant correlation with air quality in your home (for example, the study was conducted in closed cells, two feet by two feet).
While plants cannot rid your home of VOCs, they will add oxygen, potentially reduce stress, and reduce airborne dust by attracting particles to their surface. According to blogger and gardener Tony Colgrove , “Houseplants do remove dust particles from the air by trapping them on the surface of their leaves. Plants with wrinkled and / or pubescent leaves remove more dust than smooth or striped plants. Some of the effects are due to leaves slowing down the movement of air … Some … due to shriveled or hairy leaves physically filtering dust out of the air as it travels across the leaf. “
Top dust collectors
We can say that all factories are dust collectors, and, frankly, we cannot dispute this statement. However, some plants are ideal for this job as they provide a large surface area to trap dust. Now, will they absorb this dust by some amazing scientific process? Unfortunately no. You will still have to dust them from time to time to make sure they are getting enough light for proper photosynthesis and you know to stay alive.
But to make your breath feel good, here’s a list of the best indoor plants to reduce airborne dust:
- Rubber plant
- Dwarf date palm
- English ivy
- Spider plant
- Factory ZZ
- Dripping guanyin
- Bamboo palm
- Lily of peace
- Ferns (although some are known to be difficult to keep alive)
Colgrove adds: “Don’t use this list to exclude any plant from your home or office, any plant you like will trap dust. Only plants with a larger surface area (not just large leaves) will trap more dust. ” (And remember to wipe them off every couple of months – here’s how .)
Even better? Get a self-cleaning plant
Did you know that there are actually plants that collect dust effectively? This is due to a phenomenon known as the “lotus effect” or “ultrahydrophobicity”, which was first discovered by the German botanist Wilhelm Bartlott on the leaves of the lotus flower . As (rather) succinctly stated on Wikipedia , this is when “dirt particles are captured by water droplets due to micro- and nanoscopic architecture on a surface, which minimizes the adhesion of the droplet to that surface.”
Simply put, some leaves have microscopically tiny thorns that create an uneven, rough surface that repels water. When water touches this leaf, instead of being absorbed into microscopic grooves, it rolls off the surface of the leaf, carrying dirt and dust with it. (This process also serves as a layer of defense against disease-causing pathogens.) Other plants that have this property include: violet , aloe , lantana , taro, and Indian cannu .
Whether you opt for (airborne) dust removal or self-cleaning, both provide benefits that make the effort to keep them alive.