Improve Your Indoor Air & Fend Off VOCs

Improve Your Indoor Air & Fend Off VOCs

How Household Plants Fend Off VOCs

Scientists have always known that plants help purify the air around us to some degree, but recent studies have found some to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful indoor toxins.  A study conducted by a group of researchers led by Vadoud Niri, an analytical chemist at the State University of New York, found that certain plants were better for removing specific harmful compounds from the air. This is good news for the fight against indoor air pollution, which can contain three to five times more contaminants than outdoor air.

After compiling loads of data on the absorption of toxins by plant life, research also discovered that plants absorb far more than carbon dioxide, absorbing high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCsare one of the main categories of indoor air pollutants that researchers believe have the potential to be extremely harmful. They come from building materials like carpeting, adhesives, paints, varnishes, and solvents. They’re also found in products such as cosmetics, cleaning solutions, and air fresheners.

What scientists discovered was that plants could eliminate two common indoor VOCs:

  • Benzene, which is found in some plastics, pesticides, fabrics, and cigarette smoke.
  • Formaldehyde, which is present in some dish detergents, fabric softeners, cosmetics, carpet cleaners, and more.

So far, scientists have found leafy plants to be the most adept at purifying the indoor environment and removing VOCs: aloe veraareca palms, Boston ferns, English ivy, golden pathos, Japanese royal ferns, peace lilies, purple waffle plants, snake plants, and spider plants. In Dr. Niri’s personal experiment involving harmful chemicals found in a nail salon, he discovered it was a Dracaena that removed the most acetone from the air.

Why It Matters

VOCs, along with other indoor air pollutants, have been linked to numerous acute and chronic health conditions such as asthma, respiratory illnesses, and cancers. The health community is particularly concerned about their effect on babies and children, whose organs are not fully developed. But even for adults, inhaling large amounts of VOCs can lead to what’s known as “sick building syndrome,” which has been shown to reduce productivity and cause dizziness, asthma, and/or allergies.

Plants are a truly green solution to improve your indoor air quality. You can help your family breathe easier and avoid illnesses by taking proactive steps to remove harmful indoor toxins. To improve your own home’s air quality, focus on the following:

  • Reduce the number of harmful chemicals by using natural, chemical-free cleaning and beauty products.
  • Use the recommended houseplants to filter the air.
  • Use a probiotic air and surface purifier.


BetterAir’s Biodify is designed to harness the power of probiotics to consume harmful pollutants on your home’s surfaces 24 hours a day. It’s 100% chemical free and can help restore a more balanced indoor environment to your home. To learn more about the role probiotics can play in keeping your home pollutant free, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

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