Use Plants to Naturally Purify Your Air

Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul – Linda Solegato


Ecology concept. Potted green plants on window sill indoors

Plants are nice and green and pretty. Adding a few plants to your home has physical and mental health benefits. Plants are alive and interact with your body and mind and can enhance the quality of your life.  From cleaning the air, to promoting happiness and reducing stress, to preventing insomnia, plants have much to offer.

We all know plants absorb carbon dioxide, keep the carbon, and give us back some oxygen but here are a few more benefits you may not be aware of.

We’ve talked about improving the air quality of your home by removing toxic cleaning products and personal care products. Adding a few plants can help remove additional toxins from indoor air, which can be as much as 12 times more polluted than outside air. According to NASA research, plants remove up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide every 24 hours.

VOCs are nasty things like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, all of which can be found in common things like rugs, vinyl, plastic grocery bags, and paint. Plants help purify air by pulling contaminants into soil, where their roots convert VOCs into food. Pretty darn cool.

Plants deter sickness – studies at the Agricultural University of Norway document that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs. This happens because plants release roughly 97% of the water they take in and if you place several plants together you can increase healthy humidity in a room.

Plants improve concentration – a number of studies with both students and workers reveals that studying or working in the presence of plants can have a pretty dramatic effect. Plants have a similar effect to being in nature, and being around them improves concentration, memory and productivity. According to a University of Michigan study, being “under the influence of plants” can increase memory retention up to 20 percent.

Here are some plants recommended for your house along with some of their benefits:

Common Name Benefit Best Use
Spider Plant Purifies air, removes formaldehyde, ethylbenzene, p-Xylene, o-Xylene Living spaces, office
Gerbera Daisy Purifies air, removes benzene & trichloroethylene; releases oxygen at night Bedrooms & living spaces
Philodendron Purifies air, removes formaldehyde Living spaces
Peace Lily Removes mold from air Bathrooms or damp areas
Snake Plant Purifies air, removes formaldehyde & nitrogen oxide; releases oxygen at night Living spaces, kitchens, bedrooms, rooms with wood stoves
Vermeliad Purifies air, removes benzene and toluene Living spaces
Aloe Purifies air, removes formaldehyde & benzene; releases oxygen at night Bedroom, Living spaces

NASA recommends one potted plant per 100 square feet of indoor space.

Plants also reduce background noise so if you live in a city or have traffic close to your house, they can help reduce outside noise.