Houseplants add a serene beauty to any living space. What’s more, studies reveal that they seem to have positive effects on many aspects of our lives, from stress to productivity. But just how effective are houseplants as indoor air purifiers? Let’s look at what the latest research has to say.
Limitations of the NASA Study
For decades, people have touted houseplants as effective indoor air purifiers, citing the study performed by NASA in 1989. In more recent years, researchers have pointed out that what many fail to take into account are the circumstances involved in that study.
For instance, the plants’ air purification abilities were tested against volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—not viruses, bacteria, or other common indoor air pollutants. Secondly, the tests took place in enclosed environments that were much smaller than an average room, measuring 30x30x30 inches and 30x30x65 inches.
Lastly, NASA’s idea was to create air purification systems by combining plants’ air purifying properties with a carbon filter’s ability to absorb. Plants were never meant to be the sole solution to better indoor air quality.
Do Houseplants Actually Purify Indoor Air?
Houseplants do have the ability to absorb harmful toxins and VOCs (like benzene and formaldehyde) through their roots and leaves. This was demonstrated by the 1989 NASA study.
But are plants effective indoor air purifiers? Contemporary researchers say that it’s highly unlikely for a couple of reasons:
- VOC off-gassing tends to happen continuously in buildings. Without powerful air purification, the indoor air will have persistent VOC levels.
- Simply opening a window significantly improves indoor air quality in a room. To match that air quality improvement with plants, you’d need anywhere from 10 to 1,000 plants for every 10.7 square feet.
Furthermore, plants by themselves can’t eliminate viruses, bacteria, and other germs or filter out dust, pollen, mold, or smoke particles from indoor air.
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Considering we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, taking steps to improve indoor air should be a priority. Here are a few ways to foster cleaner, healthier air in your home:
- Open the windows. When the weather permits, open your screened windows and doors on opposite sides of the room or your home to create a cross-breeze.
- Use your ventilation fans. Run your kitchen exhaust fan when cooking and after cooking on the stove to suck up combustion products, like carbon monoxide. Run your bathroom fan during and after your showers to prevent excessive moisture and mold growth.
- Invest in an Air Scrubber. Our whole-home Air Scrubber works with your HVAC system to eliminate odors, significantly reduce dust, dirt, and pet dander, and destroy up to 99% of airborne contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria.
At Econo Air, we’re dedicated to providing you with custom-engineered, innovative solutions to make your home a sanctuary for peace and rest. To learn more about our Air Scrubber, don’t hesitate to reach out to us online or by phone at (714) 710-1070.