Fight Pollution Indoors with Air Purifying House Plants

by WriterArtist

We take a stroll to inhale fresh air and plant trees to enhance greenery in our gardens. However;we seem to ignore indoors and spent a major part of our life inhaling polluted air.

According to NASA scientists, we live and inhale some of the poisonous gases indoors that come packaged with furniture, soap, furnishing, detergents and lack circulation. Many factors contribute to indoor pollution viz air conditioning, fresh paints on walls, cosmetics and our furniture that is treated with chemicals.

A NASA scientist while researching on how to keep the space station clean happened to zero on our common forgotten house plants that come to our aid without our knowledge. To his surprise he found that ornamental plants, in addition to looking beautiful are doing us a great deal of service. Not only do they produce oxygen in broad daylight, they help to eliminate the harmful gases indoors.

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Indoor Pollution

The harmful gases pollute the inside of our home whenever we cook using gas stoves and heating furnaces to warm our rooms. Carbon monoxide and Nitrogen dioxide are released when we use such apparatus. In addition, pollutants that we inhale do not come necessarily from indoors but while taking a stroll or going to office, we come in contact with airborne particulate matter and lead. Other pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone gases are created from combustion from vehicles which are again difficult to avoid.

Common House Plants

Carpets and drapes that are treated with formaldehyde contain traces of it. Furniture made of pressed wood and particle boards are deadly too, use instead hardwood and metal furniture.

Boston ferns, Spider plants, English Ivy, Gerberas, Areca Palm, Sansevieria, Golden Pothos and many other indoor plants are excellent for absorbing indoor pollution and insidious gases.

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Sick Building Spaces


A good ventilation in home and office is necessary. Windows should be frequently opened to allow fresh air. No amount of air purifying and filtering can guarantee the fresh air which is achieved from a green cover or a forest.





We live almost 70 to 80 % of our lives indoors, and still not worry about the air we inhale. Indoors get contaminated with ammonia, formaldehyde etc. which are produced by photocopiers, stove and get trapped in a closed building. These add to creating respiratory and allergy problems.




The office building you are working may not have good air circulation. You might feel weary and nauseated. Surround yourself with sansevieria, succulents and tabletop spider plants. Besides purifying the air they are certainly good to look at. Greenery always has cheered everyone.

Air Purifying Plants for Home and Office

A lot of factors contribute to home and office pollution. Air conditioners, inadequate air circulation, ventilation systems and synthetic materials used in building and furniture paints are source of poisonous gases. Our healthcare and medical bills can be reduced if we grow these house plants which also serve as a mood changer, ambience enhancer and spirit uplifter.

Plants go a long way to increase our life span by providing nutritious food and medicinal herbs to cure our ailments. An important part of earth’s eco-system, waste management and recycling  - what we would do without them? The beautiful palettes of green, brown, pink and grey and multi-coloured leaves are a thing to cherish, moreover they are a constant source of oxygen. Anyone would cheer up seeing the green foliage of the ornamental plants. Even without the flora, they brighten up the atmosphere and enhance the appearance.

ZZ Plant for Tabletop or Corner Decor


In my list of house plants, ZZ – Zamioculcas Zamiifolia is on the top for the ease of maintaining, Propagating and multiplying this beautiful species is super easy. It looks awesome as a tabletop plant near your computer on study table or drawing room. The ZZ plant absorbs toluene and xylene from indoor air. It is also called Zanzibar Gem or Eternal Plant. It’s origin were found to be Kenya and it belongs to Aurum family. It is awesome for beginner gardeners. However; all parts of these plant are poisonous. Not to be consumed, this plant especially needs to be kept out of reach of pets and infants.

Which plant do you use on tabletop planter?

Air Purifying Plants

Spider plant for purifying air in rooms

Spider plants(Chlorophytum comosum) are hardy and easy to grow plants. For reason beyond our understanding, they are best removal of air pollutants such as benzene,  trichlorethylene aka TCE and formaldehyde that come from domestic sources. Carpets, furnishings, chemical paints and treated wood are some of the known sources of these indoor pollutants.

Number of Plants to Purify air in a room


Exactly how many plants are needed to purify the air is a point of debate. NASA conducted study in a close room space. Our homes and offices have several variants. Dust mites, mold and allergens are also some of the factors contributing to the quality of air indoors.  At least one plant per 100 square feet of floor space is excellent. If you can’t, don’t despair, put plants that have long and thicker foliage, they have a larger surface area and hence more capacity to absorb the long list of volatile organic gases.

The more plants, the better chances of purifying the air. One should remember to ensure healthy plants, it is necessary to keep them outdoors every alternate week or at least after a month for a period of 7 to 14 days depending upon their health and climate conditions.

Air Purifiers


Air purifiers are as good as their filters. They can remove dust and smoke from air but for very fine particles and allergens, the filters are ineffective. The quality of air again depends upon how much air they can purify and how effectively they are. HEPA filters were used to eradicate radioactive dust from atomic plants, but they can be expensive for domestic purposes. In nutshell, the plants inhale this minute poisonous particles and give out oxygen.

How to Purify Indoor Air on YouTube?

Updated: 09/16/2019, WriterArtist
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Have you considered adding indoor plants for reducing air pollution?

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WriterArtist on 11/16/2019

@blackspanielgallery Good to know that Radon escapes from the cracks of alluvial deposits from homes. I always thought, the radioactive gases to be very harmful for human race.

WriterArtist on 11/16/2019

@DerdriuMarriner - I have two Sensevieria, one is indoors and other outdoors. My outdoor plant is doing very well, It has thrown offshoots but the inside one is slow. I may have to take it outdoors. The pot is heavy and difficult to move.

Yes - keeping the air inside garages, balconies and basements with these plants is a good idea. However; one must take them outdoors once in a while.

Coming to the movie, someday I might pick up courage to watch a scary one.

WriterArtist on 11/16/2019

@Tolovaj - Nothing better than living amidst greenery. You are lucky to have woods nearby.

Tolovaj on 09/23/2019

Sure I did. The quality of air in my apartment is top priority to me. Luckily I live close enough to the woods and we have a good number of trees in the city too. But it's always a place for improvement. Thanks, WriterArtist, for your valuable info!

DerdriuMarriner on 09/19/2019

WriterArtist, Thank you for the practical information and, especially from Costa Farms, the product lines.
Is your beautiful sansevieria healthy from direct or reflected light?
Isn't it wonderful the way houseplants can do indoors what trees do so generously outdoors? I love the scenes in one of my few favorite scary movies, When a stranger calls, where Camilla Belle moves around and through the indoor garden with its phytoremediating plants.
You mention that "One should remember to ensure healthy plants, it is necessary to keep them outdoors every alternate week or at least after a month for a period of 7 to 14 days depending upon their health and climate conditions." Wouldn't that be a lovely way to clear the air around garages, on balconies and flat roofs and outside basements?

blackspanielgallery on 09/17/2019

Radon does not need a source from man, it occurs naturally as heavy elements break down. Since it is a gas it creeps upward, and can even pass through bedrock into home foundations where houses are right on rocks. Here, it is not a problem since we have alluvial deposits which are porous, so it simply migrates out from under homes.

WriterArtist on 09/17/2019

@ blackspanielgallery - Your reasoning is logical. A plant that absorbs poisonous gas may become poisonous due to the inherent reason of absorbing poison. Although the VOC are broken, most of these plants are poisonous in nature.
Man-made "Radioactive pollution" occurs due to mining and nuclear explosions. Radon and plutonium are dangerous elements and it is best to distance yourself from such substances. Research is ongoing to find out which plants can absorb radioactive contamination. The unfortunate side of this "Phytoremediation" is that it takes relatively longer time and the question of where should these plants be disposed of is of utmost importance. If left unattended, they will lead to poisoning of food chain.

blackspanielgallery on 09/16/2019

I have heard of absorption of carbon dioxide and the release of oxygen. If other substances are absorbed they, or their elements from which they are made, must show up as part of the absorbing plant, or be released back as oxygen is. This makes a plant that absorbs poisonous compounds more likely, if the compounds are not broken down, to itself become poisonous.

One harmful element, radon, creeps through the Earth into homes from below. It is not possible, even if absorbed, to make radon lose its radioactivity. It is one element that we must deal with and have no help from plants. Ventilation is the only defense.

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