NASA Studies Show Common Plants Improve Indoor Air Quality

Plants inside your home or office not only are decorative, they can absorb several toxic gasses and clean the air. Dr Bill Wolverton, formerly a senior research scientist at NASA’s John Stennis Space Centre, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA. evaluated the use of a several common indoor plants for indoor air purification and revitalization to determine their effectiveness in removing key pollutants associated with poor indoor air quality.

Wolverton’s study showed Philodendron, Spider Plant and the Golden Pothos were most effective in removing formaldehyde molecules while flowering plants such as Gerbera Daisy and Chrysanthemums rated superior in removing benzene. Other beneficial plants include Dracaena Massangeana, Spathiphyllum, Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen, English Ivy, Dracaena Janet Craig, Dracaena Marginata, Dracaena Warneckii and Mother In-Law’s Tongue.

Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves,” Wolverton said. “But research in our laboratories has determined that plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapors. A living air cleaner is created by combining activated carbon and a fan with a potted plant. The roots of the plant grow right in the carbon and slowly degrade the chemicals absorbed there.”

Living plants are so efficient at removing toxins. By placing plants in your home or office, they improve the quality of the air, making it a more pleasant place to live and work. You will feel better, perform better and enjoy life more.

See NASA and Dr Wolverton’s list of plants and chemicals here

A further study can be seen at Science Daily (Feb 09).

Plants not only provide habitats for wildlife, they can also lower greenhouse emissions and reduce home energy costs. Trees with high canopies on the west side of the home provide shade from the afternoon sun. Shrubs in the lower canopies allow filtered light and breezes and more localized shading to east and west facing windows. Deciduous trees and vines provide foliage to shade against the summer sun while allowing light and warmth during the winter. Even small plants will help cool your home through transpiration.


  • Carol Parr

    We’re glad you’re here. We’re Carol and Tony, founders of one of the longest running Healthy Home Blogs in the world, Mitey Fresh Australia. We’ve been on this journey for the last 25 years and are passionate about helping families sift through health hazards and triggers like allergens, mould, water damage, chemicals and EMFs, to get clarity about what’s toxic and what’s not so they can create a healthy and happy home for their family they love. Each month, people visit this blog seeking focus on the health and wellbeing of their loved ones, sustainable and effective practice tips and guides, to help create and manage healthier indoor spaces, improve the built environment that is pleasing to the senses and support healthy living and nature, every day. Starting this blog was to help change people’s lives, one family at a time, and we can’t wait to share how its allowed us to stand next to you and show you how interpreting these synergies between buildings and the environment they are built in will impact upon the health and well-being of those who occupy them. Find out more about Healthy Homes and what this blog can do for you!

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