House Plants to Improve Air Quality

A picture of a house plant

House Plants to Improve Air Quality

If you’re looking to improve the air quality in your home, many articles suggest investing in some house plants. But do they really help?

House plants definitely look great and make any space feel more alive. Some plants are even said to reduce toxins in the air, though there isn’t evidence that they make a significant difference in the day-to-day quality of your air. House plants aren’t a substitute for proper HVAC filtration, but they can help boost your mood and mitigate problems such as humidity. Here's a quick overview of how plants can and can’t improve your home's air quality.

How Do Plants Improve Air Quality?

Plants use energy from sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into food for themselves and oxygen for you.

Certain plants may purify the air by absorbing some harmful toxins like formaldehyde and benzene—which are released by everyday items such as furniture, paint, carpets, and cleaning products—though studies are inconclusive. Healthy plants could offer a slight boost in air cleanliness while also beautifying a room.

Plants That Improve Indoor Air Quality

There are many options when it comes to houseplants. Some of the potentially best plants to improve air quality include:

  • Lady Palm

  • Peace Lily

  • Golden Pothos

  • Snake Plant

  • English Ivy

  • Rubber Plant

  • Bamboo Palm

  • ZZ Plant

In general, larger and leafier plants are thought to have the best potential for purification. Before you bring plants that clean the air home, make sure they’re not poisonous to your kids or pets.

Do Indoor Plants Actually Make a Difference?

While it’s true that house plants can improve air quality, you need many plants to see a noticeable difference. A recent study shows that you’d need roughly ten potted plants per square foot of space to purify a room noticeably. To put that in perspective, for a 320-square-foot room, you’d need 3,200 plants that improve air quality. That’s a lot of space dedicated to plants!

For most, converting their home into an indoor jungle is out of the question. Plant owners dedicated to air quality also need to take exceptional care of their plants. If you own plants, you need to make sure you keep leaves clean of dust and mildew and don’t overwater, which can produce mold. You shouldn't notice any adverse effects if you keep plants clean and healthy. Plus, when cared for correctly, indoor plants offer other benefits besides improving air quality.

Other Benefits of Indoor Plants

Indoor plants have several benefits, even in small amounts. A 2018 study found that house plants helped to:

  • Reduce stress

  • Support pain management

  • Increase overall sense of well-being

This study also noted that workers in plant-friendly environments had lower stress levels, enhanced problem-solving skills, and improved job satisfaction. Living in an urban environment like Sacramento, bringing plants indoors is a great way to increase your green space without paying for a large yard.

Other Methods to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Establishing a baseline is the best way to start if you’re looking for a simple way to improve the air in your home. An indoor air quality test lets you know how much your air needs to improve, which will inform your next steps.

The One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Sacramento team is here to help. Reach us at (916) 472-0390 or request a service online.