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How Plants Help to Clean the Air

Connor Bjarnason

Jun 21, 2022

Heart Felt
The ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) and ZZ Floor Plant are great choices if you are looking to add air purifying plants to your home.

With their large, glossy leaves or tropical flowers, houseplants add a pop of color to any space. Plus, they are good for our minds, bodies and souls.

But there’s a bigger payback.

Indoor plants are more than just a pretty face; they scrub the air clean, add moisture to dry air and release oxygen, the very air we need to breathe.

According to NASA, houseplants remove up to 90 percent of toxins in the air. You can’t see or smell these pollutants, but they can come from regular household items. Eek! The EPA estimates indoor air can be up to 1,000 times dirtier than outdoor air! Indoor pollutants can build up and aggravate asthma, allergies, and other illnesses.

And since Americans are considered the ‘Indoor Generation,’ spending most of our time indoors, healthy, clean air quality should be a top priority.

How Plants Clean Indoor Air

A job well done
Some plants act as air purifiers. See our Air Purifying Plants Collection.

Plants absorb gases through their leaves. That’s how they convert carbon dioxide and light into energy, a process called photosynthesis.

But that’s not all they absorb. Researchers found that house plants also absorb VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, from the air. VOCs include things like benzene from plastics and fabrics, or formaldehyde found in things such as cleaning products, beauty products, fragrances, dry-cleaned clothes, paraffin wax candles, carpets, and furniture.

The air cleaning benefits of plants are enormous, including:

• Reducing carbon dioxide levels

• Increasing humidity

• Reducing levels of certain pollutants, such as formaldehyde, benzene and nitrogen dioxide

• Reducing airborne dust levels

• Keeping air temperatures down

Heart Felt
The Baby Rubber Plant (Raindrop Peperomia), Snake Floor Plant (Sansevieria), and Money Tree Plant are perfect for purifying the air.

Plants’ ability to remove these pollutants from our air is extraordinary. They also absorb the carbon dioxide and viruses we exhale. When plants absorb gases through their leaves, it stays sequestered or moves into their roots. Microorganisms that live in the soil, help breakdown and neutralize the toxins before turning them into food.

Filling your home with attractive houseplants is a beautiful step in detoxifying the air. In fact, houseplants make people feel more relaxed and calm while beautifying every room in the house. 🧘‍♂️

So now we know how plants clean the air, but it's important to note that not ALL plants have the air purifying qualities of others! Visit the Air Purifying Plants Collection on plants.com to learn more.

Find out the 8 best plants to detox your home and make you happy.