Which Plants Are Best for Cleaning the Air?

Reviewed on 3/25/2021
Air-purifying plants are a group of recognized natural house plant varieties used for detoxifying indoor air
Air-purifying plants are a group of recognized natural house plant varieties used for detoxifying indoor air

Air-purifying plants are a group of recognized natural house plant varieties used for detoxifying indoor air by the removal of air contaminants and improving air quality for breathing. There are numerous air-purifying plants that are effective in clearing out airborne toxins, dust, and germs that are found in various household products, materials, and furniture. These plants reduce indoor air pollution by filtering and trapping the harmful toxins from indoor air, releasing cleansed air. The introduction of authentic, cost-effective, and therapeutic properties of indoor plant varieties in household has shown a greater impact in enhancing the mood, productivity, and overall lifestyle of human beings.

Some effective air-purifying plants:

Healthy air quality is considered a top priority because people spend most of their time indoors. Some of the best suited indoor plants that aid in the removal of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene and provide a classic and elegant look to the house include:

  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)
  • Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata)
  • Pot mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”)

Mechanism of air purification by indoor plants

Indoor plants play a prominent role in maintaining a healthy indoor environment by efficiently removing carbon dioxide from the surroundings and absorbing chemicals, volatile organic compounds such as benzene and formaldehyde, and other fine particles. These plants may have several pathways to withdraw volatiles from the air. Differences in the uptake of volatiles between plant species can often be related to the number of leaves, hair present over the leaves, etc.

The most obvious pathway is the mechanical process of deposition on plant parts such as leaves or flowers. A second mechanism is an absorption in the cuticle, at the upper side of the leaf. A third mechanism is the uptake of volatiles through the stomata, only if the volatiles are small enough to pass the stomatal cavity. When the volatiles are absorbed by the plant tissue within this cavity, a concentration gradient occurs, and the volatiles are subsequently drawn in the leaf by diffusion.

Harmful effects of indoor air pollution

Most indoor air pollution comes from sources that release gases or particles into the air. Human daily activities generally cause indoor air pollution by the discharge of waste gases, tobacco smoke, pesticides, solvents, cleansing agents, dust, mold, fibers, and other allergens. The effects of indoor air pollutants range from short-term effects such as eye and throat irritation to long-term effects such as respiratory diseases like bronchitis and cancer. Exposure to high levels of some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, can even result in immediate death. The effects of indoor air pollution can be life-threatening and have been linked to a wide variety of adverse effects such as:

Benefits of having pure air

The simple addition of indoor plants is a natural way to help remove pollutants significantly. The presence of having pure air indoors has shown many therapeutic effects on overall health. The important beneficial effects include:

  • Feeling fresh and being more productive at work
  • Reduced feelings of anxiety, anger, and sadness
  • Control of humidity within the optimal levels for human health
  • Temperature control and cooling effect
  • Absorption of carbon dioxide and emission of oxygen-refreshing air
  • Improved concentration levels
  • Reduction of absenteeism in workplace
  • Faster recovery from mental illness

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References
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077

https://www.lung.org/clean-air/at-home

https://community.aafa.org/blog/why-healthy-indoor-air-quality-is-important

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