Myth or Fact: Can Plants Help Indoor Air Quality?
It’s no secret that a few nice houseplants can do wonders for your home decor. They can brighten up a corner and add life to a room in an instant. But are they actually good at cleaning the air? And can a few well cared for fiddle leaf fig trees do enough for your air quality that you don’t need an air purifier?
The short answer is no, at least not in any significant way. Purchasing a few houseplants certainly won’t hurt your indoor air quality. But, it also won’t make much of a difference in maintaining healthy indoor air and it’s certainly nowhere near as effective as an air purifier with a high efficiency air filter and a strong motor.
A 2019 study reported on Nature.com found that potted plants don’t efficiently improve indoor air quality. The study found that plants can only have an effect on indoor air quality in extremely high concentrations. The kind of concentrations that just wouldn’t be reasonable — unless you lived inside a conservatory and were employed as a full time gardener.
According to that study, you’d need between 10 and 1,000 plants per every 10 square feet to start making a noticeable difference in air quality.
This obviously isn’t a realistic way to maintain healthy indoor air quality. Having a potted plant taking up every square foot of your home, apartment, or office makes the room completely unlivable. Not to mention potted plants cost $20 on the low end, which means a 1,000 sq ft apartment would require $20,000 worth of plants covering every part of your living space.
It’s safe to say that choosing your indoor plants based on what you like and what looks great with your decor is a much better way of going about it.
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
There are several things you can do to maintain healthy indoor air quality that doesn’t require turning your home into a forest.
Routinely cleaning your home will go a long way in improving your indoor air. Using a soft cloth to pick up dust that has settled on surfaces and vacuuming carpets reduces airborne dust that can cause allergy symptoms. Keeping your air ducts clean is another essential to reducing household dust that makes indoor air quality unhealthy.
Monitoring your indoor air quality and humidity levels is a great way to track when you need to make changes to your routine. Running an air purifier with a clean filter and having a dehumidifier if your home has higher humidity levels should maintain healthy indoor air quality.
The easiest and most effective way to improve your indoor air quality is to purchase an air purifier with a high efficiency air filter and a strong motor. Cleaning regularly picks up dust from surfaces but an air purifier can filter out airborne dust and other particles like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pet dander, and pollen that make indoor air quality unhealthy before they’ve settled onto surfaces.
Not to mention the financial savings by purchasing an air purifier like Oransi’s Mod+ versus a forest of potted plants. The Mod+ is currently priced at $295 and cleans an indoor area of up to 1,361 square feet with two air changes per hour. This makes the air purifier a more efficient and well priced solution to indoor air pollution. And it doesn’t need regular watering either — just an easy filter change every 12 months.
Plants are a great friend and source of joy in your home, apartment, or office. They can liven up any space and bring a great sense of the great outdoors inside, just don’t fall for the myth that they can do anything significant to clean the air.