Category Archives: Life Hack

Houseplants: An Affordable Way to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

At the beginning of the year, we want to detoxify our lives after the excesses of the holidays. We eat clean, exercise and focus on our health more than any other time of year. But one aspect of our overall health is often overlooked: the indoor air quality in our homes.

Indoor Air Quality and Why It’s Important

As we’ve seen in Flint and countless other places around the world, the quality of the water we drink is directly related to our overall health. That’s why we invest in water filtration systems from companies like Brita and PUR. But what can we do to filter the air we breathe every day?

We love our electronics and household products, but they emit chemicals that can be hazardous to our health. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) come from many unlikely sources, including air fresheners, cleansers and disinfectants. Exposure can cause short term and long term health effects as listed on the EPA’s website.

“EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s “Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study” (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas.”

The quality of the air we breathe directly impacts our quality of life. And we spend most of our time at home.  The Florida Department of Health recommends several companies that can check the quality of your indoor air. But most of us don’t have a budget for fancy air purifiers or new AC units. Luckily, NASA offers a more practical solution: add houseplants to the environment to process VOCs and pump out fresh oxygen.

A post shared by NASA (@nasa) on

NASA’s Clean Air Study

In the 1980s, NASA conducted several studies to find an efficient way to remove VOCs from indoor air. They concluded that root systems of certain houseplants do a good job of cycling the chemicals in the air and pumping out clean air naturally.

Thanks to NASA’s research, we now have an affordable (and aesthetically pleasing) way to purify our indoor air. Most houseplants cost as little as lunch at a fast food restaurant. Just one small plant can help purify the air in 100 square feet. They’re also pretty easy to take care of. How’s that for a value proposition?

Best Affordable Houseplants to Purify Your Indoor Air

NASA studied many different types of houseplants and determined that some do a better job than others. Among the top performers for air purification are the Peace Lily, Boston Fern, Spider Plant, Dracaena Janet Craig and Snake Plant.

Golden Pothos, Dracaena Marginata and Fiddle Leaf Figs are also great plants for air purification. These are used a lot by interior decorators, so adding them to your space will also bring some contemporary style to your home decor. You can find most of these houseplants at the garden center at your local Home Depot or Lowes.

If you’re in Miami, check out Midtown Garden Center in Wynwood. They offer a beautifully curated selection of affordably priced plants for inside and outside your home. It has a cool local vibe, with food trucks, classes and entertainment. Many of the plants listed by NASA to purify your indoor air can be found there.


Sign up for The New Miamian Newsletter