Houseplants Purify Your Home Air

We all spend too much time indoors and more and more time on either the internet, watching TV, or reading our nifty new eBook. Where is Mother Nature in our daily lives. 

Every household could use a couple of plants to bring a patch of nature inside, not only for it ability to turn a sterile interior into a more comfortable living space  These days some people skip over the natural plant option and instead opt for a constantly running, energy consuming air purifier.   Air purifiers are helpful if you have allergies or there are mold spores and pet dander that you want to eliminate.

However, there is a natural way to improve your living space and not increase your carbon footprint.  Houseplants. Houseplants purify your home air, no doubt.

There are findings that houseplants serve as natural air purifiers. Many varieties cut microbes and leach poisonous chemicals out of the air. In an effort to figure out ways to purify air in space, NASA went so far as to conduct experiments on the ability of common houseplants.  NASA findings have fueled a debate on the effectiveness of houseplants.

What is for certain, is that plants do have the ability to improve air quality, but the question is to what extent? Philodendrons, spider plants, and pothos proved to be excellent at removing formaldehyde from the air.

Yes, that’s the same chemical that you may remember from science lab that was used to preserve all those creatures you had to dissect. Formaldehyde in your air because many products we use from plastic bags to paper towels are treated with a type of formaldehyde. Gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums are best at reducing benzene levels, which are known carcinogens that often come from wood formed products.

Here’s a list of indoor house plants to known to improve air quality.

When NASA conducted their study they found that plants were able to reduce contaminants in the air in almost every situation.  In addition, studies show that rooms with houseplants have 50% less microbes in the air. Many of these houseplants are extremely effective at purifying air because their natural habitats are tropical – meaning that they are designed to survive under a canopy, with less light, so they are ultra-efficient at converting gases into oxygen. In addition, many of the studies show that the roots and soil are also effective at soaking up contaminants in the air.

The EPA does not fully concur with NASA’s initial findings and claims that the studies were done in a unrealistic controlled environment, not to real-life conditions. When we enter our homes we bring in contaminants and microbes, and its difficult to figure out if houseplants help significantly improve the air in the real world. NASA’s study found that one six inch plant could purify 100 square feet, but that is assuming that once purified, the air would stay purified without outside factors re-contaminating it.

Others have calculated that if plants were used as air purifiers in a normal household it would take hundreds to work. Much the way tree planting cannot be counted on as the sole way to protect the environment from carbon emissions, we also cannot rely on plants to entirely purify our indoor air.

However mother nature is constantly surprising us with her ability to adapt and unknown potential, and the verdict isn’t out yet on houseplants.  If you are looking for a way to improve the air in your home however, you may not be able to only rely on houseplants, every situation is different. But they definitely can’t hurt.  B.C Wolverton even wrote a book to help you sort through this challenge.  Its called How To Green Fresh Air: 50 Plants That Purify Your Home or Office.

Start today and pick up a plant from the local store or adopt a plant from a friend.  Visit the Green Blizzard Store for recommended products and books.

green writer samantha frapart Be sure to check out our green lifestyle store Green Blizzard Store. Check out these related Green Blizzard articles: Seafood Watch, Are We Eating Fish Into Extinction, Carbon Impact of Meats, Local Produce, Sun Tea, or Growing Basil.

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About the author

John R. Garnet

John's work in the energy market fostered his interest in the environment. He recently completed his graduate work at George Mason University, But more interestingly, John has a passion for food and cooking and to provides some light-hearted tips to make people's lives greener while enjoy the good life with everyday practical tips from brewing tea, growing basil, or drinking raw milk.