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I do a lot of soldering in my room which smells. Not only that, I find my room smells stale anyway.

Ideally I want a fairly small plant that is easy to maintain and doesn't grow into a forest/ palm tree. It should be widely available too. I live in Manchester in the UK.

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Sansavarias or dracenas would be your natural pick then... Luck bamboo being a small dracena could work if you are an overwaterer most sansavarias would be better for you if you are an underwaterer. –  Grady Player Jun 19 '12 at 13:28

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Plants do exchange air but in direct relation the amount of light and water available. This post goes into detail about what kind of plants and mentions a ratio of one plant per 100 square feet. To get an effective filter rate you need good light and adequate water.

From a health and safety point of view this article has a long list of things you could be breathing when you solder including ozone, carbon monoxides and various metal ions. You would be safer using a fume hood which exhausts to the outside and buying a plant to deal with the rest.

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Metal ions perhaps... Certainly voc's... Soldering isn't energetic enough for ozone and won't produce CO unless they are using a torch... You are certainly right that the plants should be in an active state of growth. –  Grady Player Jun 19 '12 at 14:00

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