No, green plants do not clean up our interiors

We can read everywhere that indoor green plants are depolluting, that they clean the indoor air, capture formaldehyde and other VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) as guardians of our health, and we happily offer you a selection of the 10 most depolluting plants!

This is also the type of article I was about to write to you (by proposing local plants of course). But while looking for the source of this information, I came across a completely different piece of information directly from the Phytair study that took place from 2004 to 2011 and was co-financed by ADEME (Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Énergie).

Intox alert: green plants do not clean up our interiors

The legend of depolluting green plants

It would come straight from NASA! According to American experiments conducted around the 1980s, however, their research was carried out in a very specific context. These concerned the purification of space shuttles that were highly loaded with heavy pollutants and had particular characteristics. The results of this research have indeed proven the proper functioning of phyto-purification (the name given to air purification by plants), but with very large quantities of plants. This did not prevent garden shops and media from simplifying information and self-proclaiming indoor green plants as depolluting!

"The argument "depolluting plants" is not scientifically validated" according to ADEME

As part of the PHYTAIR study, scientists experimented with 3 plants renowned for cleaning indoor air: devil’s ivy (Scindapsus aureus), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) and Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata).

In the laboratory, they capture carbon monoxide, benzene and formaldehyde (in different quantities depending on the plant). Pollutant concentrations would decrease between 30% and 90%” in their presence (over a short period of 24H). But tested in real conditions, those of a ventilated and ventilated living space, the results are completely different. In an 11x10m room, the study reveals that 3 or 4 plants would have no real fact on indoor pollutants. Laurence Galsomiès, who works for ADEME, estimates that “it would take about a hundred plants of this type to achieve a real reduction in pollutants”.

A Danish study adds that other factors modify the capture rate of these plants: their species, light intensity and concentration of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

In short, it is not our few plants scattered here and there on our shelves that will save our lives. It was too beautiful!

What other solutions can we use to clean up our interiors?

There is no magic recipe, the two best solutions are to:

  • Reduce the potential emitters of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from floor and wall coverings, furniture, household products, cosmetics, heating, ventilation systems… by selecting healthy and ecological products
  • In any case: ventilate at least 3 times a day for 10 minutes!
deco plante verte pollution intérieur air dépollution assainir
plante verte depolluante assainissante

But we still love them!

Benefits of plants: concentration and soothing

✔ Ideal for the office, they are soothing, facilitate concentration and reduce stress.

✔ Studies show that plants help to reduce the harmful effects of electromagnetic fields such as fatigue and headaches. They are therefore perfect to decorate your office, close to your computer tools, and to stimulate your creativity.

✔ Their soothing green colour is also a factor in the impact on well-being.

✔ In Feng-Shui, indoor green plants bring vitality to a place, enhance the energy quality of a room and harmonize the circulation of vital energy, Chi in Feng Shui.

Misconception: green plants in rooms

We often hear that you shouldn’t put a green plant in a room. In reality, this is not a risk. The amounts of oxygen consumed are too low to have a negative impact. The proportion of oxygen produced by plants is much higher than the amount of carbon dioxide released. 

And we choose them ecological!

Go to the article Adopt an Urban Jungle Decoration with ecological green indoor plants to learn all about eco-responsible plants.

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