Can Indoor Plants Purify The Air In The Room

Thomas Angas by Thomas Angas | Last Updated: July 20, 2021

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You’ve probably heard about the benefits of houseplants and indoor pollution time and time again and now you might be wondering – how can indoor plants purify the air in the room?

While it’s certainly true that houseplants can purify the air in your home, it’s not quite as simple as people may have you believe.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at can indoor plants purify the air in the room and separate the facts from fiction.

image with text can indoor plants purify the air in the room

A Note On Air Purity

The average person spends 90% of their lives indoors and it’s been found that poor air quality can lead to coughs, eye irritation, headaches, and even respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

This study by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor levels.

For employers, good air quality is particularly important with a 2015 collaborative study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, SUNY Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University, finding that people who work in well-ventilated offices have significantly higher cognitive function scores when responding to a crisis or developing a strategy.

In other words, good air quality leads to happier and more productive workers with the study finding that those experiment participants who worked in the green environment scored on average twice as high in cognitive performance tests as those who worked in a regular office environment.

Can Indoor Plants Purify The Air In The Room?

When most people talk about the benefits plants make to purifying the air, they’re probably basing their opinion on the findings from a well known 1989 Nasa experiment that found the plants used in the study were able to reduce the amount of benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde in the environment.

The study also found that the best indoor plant for removing impurities from the environment was the Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) and that plant roots and microorganisms play a major part in the chemical removal.

Finally, based on the research it’s unlikely that a few houseplants would be able to remove sufficient pollutants to have many benefits to humans.

The Bottom Line

Can indoor plants purify the air in the room? While most studies have found that houseplants can certainly help purify the air, the level in which they’re able to do this isn’t sufficient to have any meaningful difference on the air quality inside most rooms.

Image by Jeff chenqinyi

Thomas Angas, the founder of Authority Gardening lives with his wife and two darling pups. He spends his free time writing, hiking and learning how to become a better gardener. He launched Authority Gardening in 2017 to help people all over the world their gardens grow.