Can Your Plants Improve Your Home’s Air Quality?


Link: https://unsplash.com/photos/green-leafed-plant-NwBx723XaHw

Plants are known allies for better air quality, but how much are your potted pals actually doing for your household? The short answer is greenery does a lot. It improves home air quality by providing natural air filters, humidity regulation, oxygen production, and more.

1. Natural Air Filters

Plants are an upgrade from air fresheners. The latter claims to filter your air, but they contain volatile organic compounds that evaporate into the air whether they’re in use or not. Poor air quality can cause dizziness and headaches for home occupants. Extremely severe cases can even impact lung growth and trigger asthma attacks.

Plants are a better option since they absorb carbon dioxide through their leaves and roots and use it as food for photosynthesis. Since there is an abundance of this resource in the house from the occupants, greenery around your home is essential.

Plus, most air fresheners are packed with chemical scents. Instead of filtering out the atmosphere, they simply mask your home’s natural odor while adding those pollutants. Turning your air fresheners off can lessen fragrances by up to 96% within two weeks. You can also just properly dispose of them to keep your home clean.

All plants can convert carbon dioxide, so you can choose almost any species. If you want greenery for decorative purposes, prioritize options like the Gerbera Daisy or the Peace Lily. Snake plants and aloe vera are great for beginners who want to hone their green thumb.

2. Purifying Properties

Carbon dioxide naturally occurs, but other toxins can contribute to poor air quality. Air fresheners are one culprit since they create VOCs, but you should also be wary of other home materials. Certain wood products and paint contain formaldehyde, which irritates the eyes, nose and throat. Gas space heaters produce carbon monoxide.

Plants also helpful for tackling those toxins. For instance, chrysanthemums can effectively absorb formaldehyde from the air, while spider plants reduce carbon monoxide.

Only certain species are capable of eliminating harmful chemicals. Some are more general air detoxifiers, like the rubber plant and weeping fig. Research what specific chemical you want to protect your household from. You can also take a test to figure out your sensitivity toward toxins and narrow down what you need to avoid.

Your plants may still have limited effectiveness. When the concentration of toxic chemicals exceeds the number of potted greenery in the house, homeowners must utilize other solutions to help with the space’s purification.

3. Humidity Regulation

Plants can also improve the home’s air quality by regulating the humidity. Homeowners deal with unpredictable climates depending on the season. Few would turn down having subtle help regulating the temperatures.

Experienced gardeners may already have had some run-ins with how plants react in a humid home compared to a greenhouse. Orchids will usually have one leaf per 10% humidity, so having fewer leaves is a testament to the change in the environment.

The relationship is symbiotic for plants, though, since they can control air humidity. Their stomata release tiny water droplets into the air, which can increase temperatures. Some plants can decrease a space’s high humidity thanks to the stomata’s transpiration.

You can increase or decrease the humidity in your space. Spider plants and jade plants have a reputation for improving indoor humidity. Greenery like peperomia or English Ivy works best in the long run if you want to dry out the atmosphere a bit.

Remember to be particular about your plant placement. Kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas typically have a higher humidity level due to their appliances and fixtures. They will likely require more dehumidification than the bedroom or living room.

4. Oxygen Production

Remember how plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air? After using it for growth, they can convert that resource into oxygen. Replacing all the bad toxins and supplying the household with oxygen is a great exchange since humans need this gas to live and have energy.

As oxygen production is a natural part of photosynthesis, you can look forward to all your natural plants creating this clean gas. That said, most plants only generate oxygen during the daytime. They need the sun to power up production.

Alternatively, some plants only produce oxygen at night. Species like cacti and bromeliads keep their stomata closed throughout the day.

Homeowners should also remember that the number and quality of plants can still influence oxygen production. Many healthy plants produce more oxygenated air quality than a few dying ones.

5. Pollution Indicator

Plants can improve your home’s air quality, but they also signal when pollution is too much. They tend to wither because they have been exposed to pollutants. For example, sulfur dioxide can make leaf veins appear ivory or brown on plants like geranium and poppies. Take these factors as a sign to run an air quality test and see a doctor.

Some plants handle pollution. In fact, certain variations thrive in areas with poor air quality. Golden shield lichens thrive in areas with high nitrogen dioxide and ammonia levels, so they appear on properties right next to farmlands or high-traffic roads.

There may be other reasons your plants die. For instance, they might not have received enough water or sunlight indoors. Temperature can also play a role, as some herbs, vegetables and flowers aren’t as heat-tolerant or cold-resistant as others.

Plants can still be a great addition for your home’s air quality. However, you have to give them the nourishment they need. Bring them closer to the window and set a watering schedule. Some species may also need pruning to stay healthy. Giving your greenery what it needs will make it easier to deduce whether it’s dying due to poor air quality.

Add Plants for Indoor Air Quality Assistance

Plants can improve your home’s air quality. Choose the right species for your household and practice proper maintenance. Your greenery will take care of your property’s atmosphere when you take care of them.

Jack Shaw is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, gardening, and caring for the outdoors. He’s the senior writer of Modded and has contributed his advice through sites like Green Living Journal, House 2 Home Organizing, Log Cabin Hub, and more. You can reach him via LinkedIn.