Oftentimes when we hear the word air pollution, a picture of a large factory pumping out tons of smoke immediately comes to our mind.
However, did you know that the air inside our house can be just as dangerous as that large factory pumping out smoke?
Nowadays more than ever we are spending more of our day inside rather than outside.
With that being the case it is more important that we keep the air inside our home clean. If we were to neglect the air inside our homes, it could lead to regular headaches, allergies, or even asthma.
With that thought in mind, many people wonder: Do spider plants purify the air? If so, how many spider plants would I need for my home or office?
Well, about 40 years ago, NASA conducted a very interesting study that sheds a greater lighter on those questions, and in this post, I want to share that study with you.
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Do Spider Plants Purify The Air?
The answer: Yes, spider plants purify the air and they do it very well. As part of its normal breathing process, a spider plant will breathe in airborne pollutants. Next, the pollutants are transported down into the plant’s roots. There in the plant’s roots, bacteria, and other microbes will destroy the pollutants.
In 1989, in order to find the most effective way to detoxify the air (specifically in space station environments) a very famous NASA study was conducted on how well plants purify the air around them.
Basically, the study was conducted by placing a variety of plants (one at a time) in large sealed containers. Then toxic chemicals were introduced into the containers.
At 12 hour intervals, the chemicals in the air were measured to see just how many toxins the plants were able to remove from the air. The plants were placed in the sealed chambers for a 24 hour period.
3 chemicals were used for this test. Benzene, Trichloroethylene, and Formaldehyde.
The most interesting one for me was Formaldehyde. Traces of this specific chemical can be found in pressed wood products, facial tissues, paper towels. Sounds just like the office right?
After being placed in a large chamber, these 3 chemicals were then injected into the container.
So how did our little spider plant perform?
In a 24 hour period, the spider plant removed 10,378 micrograms of Formaldehyde. How did that compare with other household plants?
Well, the humble spider plant was in the top 3 best plants at removing formaldehyde from the air. Not bad for what may seem to be just an ordinary houseplant.
The study also seems to suggest that there is a correlation between the size of the leave and the number of toxins that it can remove from the air. It seems to show that the larger the leaves the better its ability to purify the air.
Another interesting discovery from this study is that they found that oftentimes the potting soil itself also plays an important role in the air purification process.
You can learn more details about this study by visiting NASA’s website here.
So, How Many Spider Plants Do I Need To Purify The Air In My Office?
I would recommend 2 good-sized plants for every 100 square feet of living space. An average office is between 100 to 200 square feet. With that being said you are looking at 2 to 4 good-sized plants in your office. To get the most out of your plants be sure to have a variety of different plants.
In this study by NASA, the leading scientist Bill Wolverton said “the more (plants) you have, the faster they’ll work.” Later, he recommended two or three plants in 8 or 10 inches pots for every 100 square feet of floor space.
Keeping in mind that every plant handles toxins differently. Some may perform better with certain toxins than they do with others. For that reason, it would be wise to have a variety of different plants in your living space. For example, some broad-leaf plants as well as some narrow-leaf plants.
A word of caution, after reading this post, I would not recommend that you go out and fill your office or your living space with a number of different plants. Remember as plants breathe they also put out a lot of moisture back into the air.
As we have previously mentioned in this blog, spider plants do like humidity, but too much humidity can lead to mold, bacteria growth, or unwanted pests.
You may also enjoy reading: Do Spider Plants Flower?
My Personal Thoughts…
I love reading about science experiments and I especially enjoy reading about studies done on plants. I believe there is so much more we can learn about the effect that plants, as well as our environment, have on us.
However, with that being said, I just wanted to share my personal opinion about this study. But before I do that I just want to make it clear that I am not a scientist, but like you, I am just a plant lover myself. So please don’t take my opinion for more than what it is.
Without a doubt, this study has shown that plants do an excellent purifying the air. However, before you go and fill your office with 20 different plants, I believe there is one important factor to take into consideration about this specific study.
This experiment was conducted in an airtight chamber. And we don’t live in airtight containers. Throughout the day fresh air is bringing brought into our homes or offices. In fact, this research study said that the air in our homes is changed over at about 40 percent per hour rate.
So, we are constantly being exposed to fresh air, but we are also constantly being exposed to pollutants in the air. Yes, spider plants can purify the air, but then that air is just being moved on elsewhere.
Does this mean that I am going to get rid of the plants in my home and office? No way! Without a doubt, they do a great job of purifying the air around them.
Just by looking at the few plants that I have in my office, I feel like I am breathing fresher cleaner air. And now having read about the power of plants I know that I am breathing fresher cleaner air.
However, with that being said, I believe that because we don’t live in airtight containers, there is only so much I can do to clean the air around me. We just have to try to do our best.
To concluded this article, I also wanted to include one more quote from this science experiment.
You may also enjoy reading: Are Spider Plants Safe For Cats?
It is from Jan Roy the director of Plants For Clean Air Council, he said: “I get calls from people all the time who tell me their headaches or sore throats or other ´sick building´ symptoms have either gone away or greatly diminished after they´ve brought in plants.”
So, after reading this article will you be putting more spider plants in your home or office? I am very interested to hear your thoughts about spider plants’ ability to purify our air. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.