Use Plants as Air Purifiers and Improve Indoor Air Quality

Use Plants as Air Purifiers and Improve Indoor Air Quality

Written by Hans Augustenborg
June 2nd, 2024 — 7 minute reading time



Did you know that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air? Particles from cooking, wood-burning stoves, off-gassing furniture, and pollutants from outdoor air – it all swirls around in your home.

The solution? Thorough ventilation. But certain plants can also help create a better indoor environment.

In this article, you can learn how plants improve air quality. Plus, you'll get tips on which plant species to go for.

Plants Bring Life to the Air and Reduce CO2 Levels

Plants help convert CO2 into oxygen.

A high level of CO2 is the biggest indicator that indoor air quality is poor – precisely what your Birdie measures. When we exhale CO2 in our homes or offices over several hours, it degrades air quality.

High CO2 levels can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritated airways
  • Allergies

Opening windows and replacing the air lowers CO2 levels and provides a better foundation for good indoor air quality.

Can Plants Improve Your Indoor Environment?

The short answer is yes.

Plants absorb CO2, but they also help filter harmful substances from the air. This includes formaldehyde and benzene, which have negative effects on our health.

Moreover, plants also help increase humidity levels. This is beneficial in winter when the air is drier. Dry air fosters infection and can also dry out skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.

Are Air-Purifying Plants as Good as Ventilation?

You can't fill your home with plants and avoid ventilating.

Plants don't reduce CO2 levels as dramatically as opening a window does. Therefore, plants aren't nearly as effective as ventilation.

You should view the use of indoor plants as a supplement to other measures: ventilation, humidity control, maintenance, and cleaning.

Plants for a Good Indoor Environment: Which Ones to Choose?

Do you think you're well covered with the plants you already have at home? Then we have to disappoint you. Not all plant species function as air purifiers.

At the plant nursery, you can go for:

Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera plant is good at producing oxygen and thus purifying the air. It's a good plant for, say, the bedroom or living room because it thrives in warmer air.

Mother-in-Law's Tongue

Also known as the "mother-in-law's sharp tongue," this plant produces oxygen and consumes CO2 at night – and it requires minimal care.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

With a fiddle leaf fig, you get a plant that helps remove pollutants from the air and increases humidity.

Golden Pothos

Just like the fiddle leaf fig, the golden pothos is good at removing chemical substances from the air. It can also absorb salts from the air through its stems.


Chrysanthemum is easy to maintain as long as it's placed in a cool location. It also helps remove pollutants from the air, such as ammonia and benzene.

How Many Plants Do You Need to Clean the Air?

Unfortunately, one plant per room won't get you far. In fact, studies show that you need a minimum of 680 plants to clean the air 100%.

Less can still make a difference.

If you focus on creating a better indoor environment, plants are part of the solution. Many small streams – and if you follow the advice for improved air quality while having plants, you'll go a long way.

Here are six tips for good indoor air quality:

  • Ventilate three times a day for 5-10 minutes each time.
  • Ensure humidity levels are between 40-60%.
  • Clean and vacuum at least once a week.
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke indoors.
  • Choose allergy-friendly materials in your home.

Remember to Cultivate Plants Correctly

When you use plants for a good indoor environment, don't forget to handle them and their environmental impact.

Some plants require less care and water than others, making them more sustainable.

Additionally, ensure that the soil isn't too moist and avoid using polluting fertilizers. In the end, this can do more harm than good to your indoor environment.

The green way to a better indoor environment requires a certain level of green fingers. But once planted and placed, they contribute to good air quality.

Aesthetics and Acoustics: Plants Have Several Advantages

Green plants aren't just practical in terms of indoor air quality – they can also improve your mood. Humans have an innate need to feel connected to nature, and indoor plants can contribute to that.

The feeling plants give us can enhance the overall indoor environment experience.

Moreover, large plant walls in workplaces can provide better acoustics, which also enhances the indoor environment.

Checklist for You Who Want to Use Plants as Air Purifiers

Do you want to improve the indoor environment in your home or office?

Then you'll be well on your way with plants.

Remember the following before you rush to the nearest supermarket:

  • Choose plants known for air purification or removing chemical substances.
  • Consider which plants you place in which rooms.
  • Keep the soil adequately moist but not too much.
  • Use environmentally friendly fertilizers.

Now you're hopefully well-equipped for your plant hunt – enjoy improving your indoor environment with air-purifying plants!

Reading next

Humidity is crucial for a healthy indoor climate: Here's how to improve it
How to Improve Your Indoor Climate with 3 Essential Tips