How Inexpensive Indoor Plants Help Improve Air Quality

Plants make beautiful additions to any indoor space – whether it’s at work or home. Their vibrant color and calming presence helps to brighten moods and lift spirits. In this article, we’re going to discuss how inexpensive indoor plants help improve air quality.

Green plants naturally recycle air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. As such, all greenery is vital to life on earth. We couldn’t survive without an abundance of oxygen-producing trees and plants.
natural air purifier

Nature’s Gifts Deliver In Multiple Ways

But that’s not all these marvels of nature do. Plants also serve as natural air purifiers.

According to scientists at NASA, the University of Georgia, Pennsylvania State University, and other respected institutions of higher education, plants provide additional value by filtering harmful airborne chemicals commonly found in workspaces and homes.

Being closer to nature by bringing plants inside helps make our indoor environments healthier places – in more ways than one.

Choices Abound

There’s a vast array of house plants capable of cleaning and purifying indoor air. These plants do so by absorbing harmful gasses – mostly by way of their leaves, but also through the roots too. Leafy green plants are natural air scrubbers that consume harmful gasses through the porous surface of their leaves.

Leafy green plants are natural air scrubbers that consume harmful gasses through the porous surface of their leaves.

Beware Of The Dangers

Indoor air can be harmful – even more than outdoor air – from all the pollutants that spew from the things we fill our indoor spaces with like furniture and flooring.

Dangerous airborne pollutants include:
Benzene – from plastics, pesticides, lubricants, synthetic fibers, and rubber
Formaldehyde – found in furniture upholstery, carpeting, adhesives and paint
Trichloroethylene – lurking in carpet cleaning formulas, paint removers, and adhesives
Toluene – found in adhesives, acrylic paints, paint thinners, varnishes, and gasoline

Inside, we’re often in confined spaces where these chemicals leach out into the air we breathe.

Without a constant stream of fresh air, these toxic chemicals often remain. So it makes sense to go after these potential dangers in the safest, most natural way possible – with an abundance of indoor plants.

Popularized By NASA

It was the NASA study back in the 1980s that made popular the notion of plants as natural air purifiers. But those tests were completed in controlled conditions.

A fixed amount of these harsh chemicals were introduced into a contained environment. But they were only added one time, instead of continuously. But they were only added one time, instead of continuously.

Let’s Get Real

The problem is that in the real world, chemical emissions from carpet, drapery, paint, and building materials tend to go on for some time. So the degree of effectiveness of these natural air filters in a typical setting probably won’t be as effective as in the controlled study.

The bottom line is that while indoor plants are helpful in removing airborne pollutants, your mileage may vary. So you might want to also add a quality air purifier to your home or office – or both.

How Many Plants Do You Need?

There’s a popular rule of thumb that states that you should have at least one plant for every 100 ft.² of indoor space. But that will likely only produce minimum results. So, the more plants you have, the more your indoor air quality will naturally improve.

So, the more plants you have, the more your indoor air quality will naturally improve.

Look For Opportunities To Add Greenery Indoors

But it’s best to introduce additional plants slowly. Since houseplants release about 97% of the water they absorb, this will increase the humidity of your space. While this may be helpful for minimizing the effects of dry air on the throat and skin, it could make your space uncomfortably humid.

All plants are helpful in removing toxins from the air, at least to some degree. And the larger your army of plants, the more effective they will be collectively in protecting your indoor air.

Some Top Picks For Natural Air Cleaning

While there is a wide variety of plants available, the following are among the best natural air purifier’s you can get:

Peace Lily – This beautiful and popular flowering plant thrives in the shade, making it perfect for indoor use. This plant actually does well in both low light and brighter areas.

Peace Lilly

Spider Plant – A decorative plant that loves bright, indirect sunlight and well-drained soil, the Spider Plant can go if you days without watering and can grow be grown in a variety of conditions.

Philodendron – The Philodendron is an attractive ornamental plant with heart-shaped leaves. This  popular indoor plant also likes to spread out and requires little water and indirect light. It doesn’t take much to care for a Philodendron, so it makes an excellent addition to any indoor space.



Additional Favorites

Snake Plant – The snake plant has long upright leaves with distinctly yellow edges. It’s a hearty and durable plant that’s easy to grow and maintain. It prefers drier conditions and requires little sunlight.

English Ivy – The English Ivy is adaptable and easy to grow. It’s a trailing plant that likes to spread its wings, making it perfect for the tops of bookcases, wall units, or office credenzas. It tends to do best in average lighting and moderate temperatures.


Golden Pothos – This plant is ideal for room corners that are out of the range of any direct sunlight. The Golden Pothos only needs periodic watering, when the soil becomes dry to the touch.

Weeping Fig – The Weeping Fig prefers direct sunlight and dry soil. Infrequent watering works best.

Fern – there are many types of these beautiful lush plants and they seem to be increasingly popular in offices as well as homes. Ferns are available in a range of textures and can thrive in low light or bright light.


Aloe Vera – This helpful plant is another one that’s easy to grow. For best results, place in direct sunlight and water only sparingly.

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