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  • Nate Scharping

No, House Plants Can’t Purify the Air in Your Home

To purify your air with house plants, you'd need anywhere from 10 to 100 plants per square meter — enough to turn your apartment into a jungle.

If you go for a walk in the forest, the air feels fresh. People often attribute that to trees’ and plants’ air-purifying abilities. They suck up CO2 and exhale oxygen, removing pollutants from the air. So it seems the same should go for the air inside our houses as well.


Humans have tried to bring the forest to their homes for decades, installing ferns, ficuses, bromeliads, peace lilies and more in our urban abodes. Besides looking nice, the assumption is that the greenery will grant us cleaner air through the magic of plant respiration.


But like your watering can, a new study pours cold water on our assumptions about plants’ purifying abilities. To clear out the chemical compounds wafting through our homes, we’d need to install a literal jungle, according to two Drexel University researchers.


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