Can Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality?

Indoor air pollution is a serious issue. In fact, it can cause problems that range from itchy eyes and sinus congestion to headaches, fatigue and respiratory issues. If you’re concerned about the air in your home, you may have thought about adding some houseplants to your home decor — but can indoor plants really improve air quality?

The answer is: sort of. 

While plants don’t use filtration to remove contaminants from the air like an air purifier does, certain kinds of plants can improve air quality. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been studying how plants affect indoor air quality for over 20 years and has concluded that some types of plants do have an impact. 

How Plants Contribute to Air Quality

Plants undergo a process called photosynthesis that converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. While a home filtration system purifies the air, it’s not able to add oxygen to it. This makes indoor plants the perfect complement to a home air-filtration system. 

Plants also undergo another process, called phytoremediation, that pulls airborne toxins out of the air and into the plant’s leaves and roots. According to the NASA study, rooms filled with plants contain 50 to 60 percent fewer bacteria and airborne mold than rooms with no plants. There’s also anecdotal evidence that having plants indoors can improve productivity and concentration, reduce stress and boost your mood. 

The Best Indoor Plants for Air Quality

When it comes to improving air quality, not all plants are created equally. Here are a few of the most effective air-cleaning plants that you may want to consider adding to your home collection.

Elephant Ear Philodendron

Known for their oversized leaves, the elephant ear philodendron is one of the most popular houseplants thanks to its ability to tolerate most indoor conditions. These plants have been shown to improve air quality by removing formaldehyde.  

Bamboo

Bamboo is a bit challenging to grow indoors, but once you learn how, it makes an interesting addition to your houseplant collection. Both bamboo and reed palm will remove formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene from the air. 

Ficus

The ficus, also known as a “weeping fig,” is another popular option among plant lovers. It has also been shown to remove formaldehyde from the air. However, this species can trigger allergies in some people, so you may want to avoid it if someone in your home is sensitive.

Rubber Tree

Novice plant owners love rubber trees because they’re quite attractive and are also very difficult to kill. They contribute to air quality by removing formaldehyde from the air. 

Peace Lily

The peace lily is a beautiful plant that looks great on a shelf or tabletop. It removes acetone, benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air. However, this plant is poisonous to cats.

Lady Palm

The lady palm is an air-cleaning superstar. It’s been shown to pull multiple types of toxins out of the air, including some that have been linked to cancer! 

Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ (Corn Plant)

If you have a smoker in the house, you’ll definitely want to invest in a few corn plants.They can help clear out both cigarette smoke and benzene. 

Spider Plant 

The spider plant is notoriously easy to grow and is known for its distinctive striped leaves. This plant has also been shown to eliminate carbon monoxide from the air. 

Aloe Vera

This cool-looking plant will pull toxins out of the air, including formaldehyde. As a bonus, it’s also handy to have around in case you get a burn!

Improve Your Air Quality Today

Not only do houseplants make a great addition to your decor, but if you get enough of the right types of plants there’s a good chance you’ll see some improvement in your air quality. However, if you’re truly concerned, it’s a great idea to take extra steps to ensure that you and your family are breathing the safest air possible.

The pros at Maeser can help you out by evaluating your home and providing services including installing air purification systems, cleaning and repairing your air ducts, changing out your air filters and more. Give us a call at 502-547-2084 or use our convenient online form to schedule an appointment. 

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