NASA conducted a study in 1989 and has since been referenced a gazillion times. Partly because no one has bothered to do such a detailed study again.
The 1989 Nasa study was about house plants. They were looking at growing plants on the International space station that would help in purifying the air.
They needed plants that had the largest surface area for size. Plants that would convert as much carbon dioxide into oxygen. Plants that could remove toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and tri-chloro-ethylene.
Interestingly these are the same toxic gases that exist in our homes! A lot of the furniture we buy keeps leeching these chemicals into the air. New carpets, sofas, and cabinets all could be a source for these chemicals.
The interesting news is that the plants tested by NASA are actually common household plants!
Imagine that, common household plants take care of common household toxins, tested for outer space! I love the thought of it!
I am going to just assume you stay in a big city. Since you stay in a big city I am going to assume it is polluted.
All the pollution reports just give us a figure in PM or particulate matter. These refer to physical particles in the air that clog our lungs. The haze we see on cold mornings. Plants do not help with these particles.
Plants help with the unseen toxic chemicals. Things we are breathing in and don’t know about. The plants absorb these chemicals and then release them into the soil. Thus acting like filters.
I like to use a combination of plants and electrical air purifiers to clean up the air at home. The electrical air purifiers clean the particulate matter and the plants clean up the toxins.
Do remember, that purifying the air at home is useless if you keep the doors and windows open.
So make sure you have the air conditioner “on” and the windows closed when you are at home.
You can air out the room when you are not at home or for a few hours a day. But it is critical to creating a good breathing environment. Especially in today’s ultra polluted cities.
So your habit is to water your new house plant, that you are going to go and buy.
These are my suggestions for the best purification plants.
Any big palm plant; these are easy to find and maintain
A rubber plant; as the leaves offer a large surface area and are easy to clean
A snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue; for homes that don’t have enough space for big palms. They are sturdy and need very little care.
Or a nice Devil’s Ivy plant that can dangle down a cupboard or bookshelf
Remember, that the quality of air we breathe is just as important as the quality of water we drink. So let’s start thinking about it and doing something about it.