How effective are houseplants at cleaning the air in our homes?

Most of us know the importance of a clean home – and work hard to ensure that our living environments are spotless and odour-free.

However, the health of your home goes far beyond how shiny your surfaces are – a truly clean home often requires deeper cleaning beyond what you can see.

Modern homes are built to be energy-efficient and are well-sealed against draughts and cold. Unfortunately, an unintended side-effect of this is a lack of air flow, which allows indoor air pollutants to build up over time.

Additionally, chemicals in cleaning products, furnishings and even building materials can carry risks to health, while stuffy indoor environments can trigger allergies and make occupants feel tired and unwell.

In 2014 the MENE study found that people who spent more than two hours a week in nature had consistently higher levels of health and wellbeing than those who spent less. 

Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: 

“We found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.

“People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to greenspace significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.”

At a time when people are spending more time at home than ever, the good news is that the benefits of green surroundings can be enjoyed at home.

In 1989, a NASA study concluded that houseplants are able to absorb toxins from the air in environments with little air flow.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air through photosynthesis, and the external surface of leaves are able to increase humidity, transpiring water vapour and absorbing pollutants.

Another study from 2004 found that micro-organisms present in the soil of potted plants also contribute to the cleaning of indoor air.

Plants have even been found to reduce stress and make people happier, with scientists finding that phytoncides (volatile natural gases that defend against bacteria and fungi) emitted by trees and plants stimulate the parasympathetic system in humans, as well as reducing cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’).

However, Stanley Kays, a professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia, says that these studies are not a reliable indication of how well houseplants might work to improve home environments.

Kays agrees that plants are able to remove toxins from the air, but argues that: moving from a sealed container to a more open environment changes the dynamics tremendously,”

The plants used in laboratory experiments are grown in optimal conditions and used in controlled environments – with the right kind and amount of light used for experiments to maximise photosynthesis in the plants. 

“The amount of light in many parts of a house is often just barely sufficient for photosynthesis,” Kays says.

Plants are also unable to protect against particulate matter or damp. 

For people looking for effective protection against allergies, viruses and bacteria, a more thorough solution is needed.

The PureAir solution

Airius provides a fast and efficient way to remove pathogens, particles, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and odours from your home with the PureAir Series of air purification systems.

Across the NPBI, PHI and Pearl Series’ , ion-emitting air purifiers clean the air, sterilise surfaces and neutralise odours in the home, creating a healthier environment.

The PureAir+ NPBI Series is a step up from traditional air filtration systems, offering continuous cleaning in any space. The system is able to attract the smallest particles and bond them together, making them large enough to be filtered.

The PureAir+ NPBI and Pearl air purifiers use needlepoint bipolar ionisation (NPBI®) technology, combined with a powerful destratification fan to create positive and negative ions and distribute them quickly and effectively throughout your home.

Meanwhile, the PureAir PHI Series employs a unique PHI (photohydroionisation) Cell – a broad spectrum, high-efficiency UV bulb which works in conjunction with a hydrated quad-metallic target to create ionised hydroperoxides. 

These ions and oxides are completely safe, naturally occurring in the highest quantities in rural areas, areas of rushing water and in woodland. 

They are sometimes known as ‘Mother Nature’s cleaning agent’ and are one of the most effective tools that the planet has to clean our air naturally.

Ions are atoms that are positively or negatively charged, meaning that they must either gain or lose an electron in order to become neutral. This makes them ‘magnetic’ to other particles, bonding with them and causing a reaction that neutralises pathogens and eliminates odours.

Airius PureAir systems distribute these natural cleaning agents throughout the space where they neutralise 99.9% of all known pathogens, VOCs and odours and leave the air feeling fresh and smelling clean.

The destratification and airflow circulation fan installed in all PureAir+ NPBI, Pearl and PHI systems has the added benefits of balancing temperatures in the home and improving comfort. 

This cuts heating and cooling costs and even reduces carbon emissions.

Houseplants vs. air purifiers

Faced with the speed and efficiency of Airius PureAir systems, is there any point in buying houseplants to improve indoor air?

Speaking to National Geographic, Michael Waring, an environmental engineer and indoor air quality expert at Drexel University, says: 

“Plants, though they do remove VOCs, remove them at such a slow rate that they can’t compete with the air exchange mechanisms already happening in buildings”

While plants are technically working to remove airborne toxins, “to have it compete with air exchange, you would need an unfeasible amount of plants,” Waring says.

In fact, in order to impact the air quality in a room of any size Waring says that there would need to be around 10 plants per square foot. 

Still, these findings should not put you off having houseplants in your home. 

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that they have plenty of benefits for your health above air purification – you just might want to use them to supplement your Airius PureAir system.

PureAir Home Series: the facts

  • • kills up to 99%+ of surface bacteria and viruses
  • • kills up to 97% of airborne bacteria and viruses
  • • reduces odours by up to 99%
  • • reduces mould by up to 98%
  • • significantly reduces pet dust, pollen and general household dust

Combining a patented PHI (Photohydroionisation) Cell with a powerful, efficient fan unit, the Airius PureAir Home Series is designed specifically for homes and residential spaces.

The unit’s advanced technology emits a broad-spectrum HE/UV light, projected onto a quad metallic target, acting as a catalyst to generate ionised hydroperoxides. 

The fan continuously circulates these safe, healthy cleaning agents throughout the space , where they get to work bonding with harmful particles and pathogens.

Once attached, the oxidation process breaks them down at a cellular level, rendering them inert and odour free.

Tested & Approved

PHI accreditations

For more information visit the PureAir Home product page using the button below or call us on 01202 554 200 where a member of our team would be pleased to offer further information.