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The Truth about Air Cleaning Indoor Plants

Updated: Mar 6

In our environment we are exposed to many chemicals, from exhaust fumes to cleaning detergents. Working in an office or factory you could easily be exposed to chemicals which are in common use, such as formaldehyde, ammonia and benzene.

Good ventilation does help mitigate the effect of inhaling these chemicals. Without good ventilation these toxins can contribute to symptoms such as skin irritation, allergies and in extreme circumstances even, in extreme circumstances, lead to unconsciousness.

We have to find new methods to create healthy conditions for our teams to work in. It has been suggested that plants help improve air quality by filtering toxins out of the air and help keep temperatures cooler.

Woman with closed eyes covering her nose
Woman with closed eyes covering her nose

A NASA study conducted a clean air study to find explore natural ways to find clean air in ventilated rooms. NASA found that some plants are more effective at doing this than others and that the micro-organisms around the roots did the majority of the work, although leaves do their air share of filtering out specific chemicals.

How to apply this in your home or office

Most plants will have a be able to filter the air so you can choose the houseplants that you like, the larger the surface area of the leave the better. Plants recommended by the NASA study included the Parlour Palm, Spider Plant and Snake Plant.

You would need about two plants per room. but the more plants the more effective the filtering will be. Keep in mind that these tests were conducted in a closed environment so in your home or office space you would have to use a large amount of plants indoors to maximise on their air-cleaning properties.

However, there is no substitute or fresh air so to keep employees productive, it is better to maintain a healthy flow of air in the room.

Cholorophytum plant (Spider plant) in a pot, in a shady area
Cholorophytum plant (Spider plant)

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