When most people think of bathrooms, they generally think of them being dingy, drab, and often pretty foul smelling. There are a lot of factors that can go into stinking up a bathroom. Aside from the obvious, odors can come from a host of issues, such as humidity in the air landing on surfaces. Even bathrooms with windows and vents can run into the occasional smelly issue due to excessive moisture. Mildew is one of the smelliest issues that humid bathrooms may face.
So what can you do? You could light candles or incense, but either of these are very long-lasting and both need to be supervised for safety reasons. You could try any number of chemical deodorizers, but most use chemicals that are actually dangerous to any humans or pets that inhale them. One often-overlooked solution to a stinky bathroom is a plant that filters odor-causing bacteria in the air and/or deodorizes the air.
Some Plants Are Natural Deodorizers
If bad odors are an issue you’re fighting in your own bathroom, I’m sure you’ve considered your options. Perhaps you already use a can of air-freshener. While air-freshener works great at the very moment it is used, the smell often dissipates rather quickly. Setting up a plant that has an aromatic scent may be something you want to consider.
All flowering plants produce a scent. Scientifically speaking, the scent of a plant is produced by a combination of compounds emitted by the flowers. This, along with the flower’s appearance and structure are what attract pollinators.
Remarkably, even if two different plants produce flowers that are completely identical in color and shape, no two types of flowers will have an identical scent. This being said, some flowers have more desirable scents and some are stronger than others. By picking a plant with the right scnet you can easily mask some of the most unpleasant bathroom smells. Also, different among plants is each plant’s ability to filter the air (and any odor-causing bacteria along with it).
Some Plants May Actually Remove Some Toxins From The Air
Certainly you’ve heard that plants can purify the air, but how they do it may come as a bit of a surprise.
Some of the most common household toxins that may be hazardous to you and your family health include the following:
- Formaldehyde, found in synthetic fabrics
- Ammonia, found in cleaning products such as glass cleaner and varnishes;
- Benzene, found in cigarette smoke and certain dyes;
- Trichloroethylene, found in paints and varnishes;
- Xylene comes from car exhausts.
These toxins, along with many others that are present in your home, can lead to a whole host of health issues. Some of the health problems that can arise if there are high concentrations of these pollutants include allergy-like symptoms in the nose, mouth and throat. Other problems could be damage to liver and kidneys, headaches, and dizziness.
While it is true that regularly-changed air filters and a working air purifier system can cut down on the toxins and odors in the air, NASA has confirmed that plants can take the purification process one step further. These can be some of the best plants for bathroom smells.
How Plants Purify The Air
Scientists have long suspected (and recently proven) that plants can remove toxins from water, soil, and air.
One example is an environmental scientist, Dr. B.C. Wolvernton, who discovered that plants in Florida swamplands were purifying Agent Orange from the waters. Dr. Wolverton went on to prove the process was occuring in many other water sources as well.
The name given to the process of plants removing or reducing toxins from soil, water, and air is phytoremediation.
One particular study conducted by NASA in 1980 showed that plants were removing formaldehyde directly from the air inside the sealed lab chambers.
NASA also conducted a similar study, a few years later, that proved that 12 particular plants had removed toxins such as trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and benzene directly from the air around them.
Special Considerations for Keeping Plants in the Bathroom
No two plants are exactly the same. Different plants may have different needs to remain healthy and some plants may have particular effects on your household. So when thinking about the best plants for bathroom smells, you also need to think about your houseld and where the plant is going to be positioned.
Different plants have different filtration abilities and one may be better at filtering particular toxins while another plant is more effective on another toxin.
You also need to factor in the high level of humidity in even a vented bathroom. Some plants do well in super humid spaces, like a bathroom, while other plants need dry soil which requires dry air. All the plants listed below, under “The Best Plants for Bathroom Smells” heading thrive in humid environments.
Another thing to consider before choosing your plants is sunlight needs and the available sunlight. A bathroom with a large window should draw in plenty of natural light. Plants that need high levels of natural light will probably thrive in this environment. However, if your bathroom has a small window or no window at all, make sure you look for those plants with low light needs.
If you have pets, you’ll also want to determine if your desired plants are toxic to pets or not. Certain plants like Lillies and Aloe Vera are beautiful and smell delightful but can make your pets very sick if they ingest them.
The Best Plants for Bathroom Smells
Some plants may not be great at filtering toxins from the air but are ideal for smelly bathrooms anyway due to their beautiful aromatic qualities. As previously mentioned, no two plants smell exactly alike and some, when situated next to others, may not be as inviting as when the plants are separate. Here is a list of the top 10 deodorizing plants:
Lavender is a gorgeous plant and works well in bathrooms. It’s one of our top best plants for bathroom smells.
The Ancient Romans were quite impressed when they discovered how well this plant deodorized both air and water in their public bathhouses.
Lavender does a wonderful job of masking bacteria-causing odors and the musty, mildewed smell of a poorly ventilated bathroom.
Lavender has such a soothing scent that many who promote it swear it is relaxing and conducive to sleep.
Crotons are a little less known than some of its counterparts. These plants can be recognized by their broad, feather-like leaves. Depending on the variety, you can find Crotons with simple, green and yellow leaves, or you may come across leaves that range from bright yellow to deep reds.
The scent these leaves put out is a faint, sweet scent that is strongest when the leaves are crushed.
Crotons may smell delicious but they don’t do well in overly wet soil. This plant is best in a bathroom with a good exhaust system that removes excess moisture from the air.
3. Peace Lily
Also known as the agreement lily or a harmony lily, this jasmine bloom puts out a very sweet scent that is strongest in the evening time.
Like most lilies, this plant loves its soil somewhere in between dry and moist. A bathroom that produces average humidity is an ideal place to keep the peace lily.
The peace lily also likes confined lighting, which also makes it perfect for a bathroom. However, if you find it starts to look a little droopy, you should place it in a well-lit location or under synthetic sun lighting until it begins to look lively again.
The fabulous, white, star-like blossoms of this plant are not only heavenly to look at but emit a strong and deep tropical aroma. Even the smelliest of smelly bathrooms can’t stand up to a gardenia or two. In addition to be being one of the best plants for bathroom smells they’re also really beautiful to look at.
Gardenias do well in sticky, humid locations, as they do belong to the family of tropical broadleaf evergreens, but do thrive best with a lot of sunlight.
One possible complication that this plant brings to most bathrooms is its sheer size. Most gardenias can grow to anywhere between 3 feet and 6 feet tall (if fertilized right). You can, however, keep the size down somewhat with regular pruning.
5. Sweet Bay
Due to the sweet bay shrub’s Mediterranean origins, it absolutely thrives in environments with high levels of moisture, such as bathrooms. In fact, unless you have an indoor hydroponics system, the bathroom is probably the only room suitable for it. Even then you may need to water it and check its soil moisture level constantly.
Most varieties of sweet bay consist of smallish dark green leaves but there are a few that sprout a couple of dainty, white flowers.
Aside from emitting a lovely little scent, the edible leaves can also be used in desserts, stews, and soups. There are probably smoothies that also contain these leaves.
6. Moth Orchid
The moth orchid is arguably the most beautiful and popular variety of indoor orchids. Due to its popularity, this plant is very easy to find in various department or grocery stores.
This orchid just loves humidity. The more humid, the happier it will be, making this plant perfectly equipped for most bathrooms.
The one need that you may run into trouble with is its need for sun. Luckily it prefers indirect sunlight. So if you can get it near a window that has at least some sunlight beaming through, this plant should do ok.
7. Cattleya Orchid
Even with its somewhat quirky demands, this orchid also does very well in high humidity environments. Not just high humidity, but super high humidity. While most homes have a humidity level of around 33%, this flower needs a humidity range of 40 to 70%. That being said, just sitting in your bathroom, soaking up the humidity might not be enough to keep the cattleya thriving. You may need to consider purchasing a humidifier.
In addition to needing super high humidity this plant has one unusual need: constant airflow. Without it, it can develop root rot and whither away. For this reason, it is advisable to have fan (on low) pointed at the plant at all times. One more reason is that it will need extra moisture.
8. Palm Trees
Palm trees make even the dingiest bathrooms look warm and inviting. There are a lot of varieties to choose from but those that are considered the best indoor types include Lady Palm, Date Palm, and Parlor Palm.
These palm trees can thrive in nearly all temperatures and love the humidity that is found in most bathrooms. All palm trees do need sunlight though they are still pretty flexible and do well in anywhere from partial shade to full sunlight.
A special treat with palm trees is their ability to filter out many toxins from the air, including xylene, formaldehyde, and ammonia.
9. Boston Fern
Naturally found in rainforest regions, this plant loves humidity. Typically a hanging plant, it does best when its soil is pretty moist, but not soupy.
One of the benefits of this plant is it needs very minimal amounts of light, making it ideal in bathrooms with small or no windows.
The Boston Fern is phenomenal at removing smelly odors and toxic chemicals from the air such as xylene, toluene, and formaldehyde.
Well, hopefully you have found a plant or two that would work nicely in your bathroom. As you have seen there are many different types each with their own care requirements and capabilities. However, these are the best plants for bathroom smells.