A few years back, before I started this blog, I already dived into this study about plants and there affects on the polluted air around us. It’s time to share this intelligence with you.

The Study

The NASA Clean Air Study  has been led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA). Its results suggest that certain common indoor plants may provide a natural way of removing toxic agents such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichlorethylene from the air, helping neutralize the effects of sick building syndrome.

The first list of air-filtering plants was compiled by NASA as part of a clean air study published in 1989, which researched ways to clean air in space stations. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, as all plants do, these plants also eliminate significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and trichlorethylene. The second and third lists are from B. C. Wolverton’s book and paper and focus on removal of specific chemicals.

NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space. Other research has shown that micro-organisms in the potting mix (soil) of a potted plant remove benzene from the air, and that some plant species also contribute to removing benzene.

Past and present

The Plant Air Purifier is not a new air cleaning appliance that utilizes the already discovered air-cleaning capacity of root-associated microbes living synergistically with common houseplants to trap and consume toxins in the air. The research behind this was done By B. C. Wolverton while working in NASA’s space program. “Low levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone, while higher concentrations of numerous toxic chemicals can be removed by filtering indoor air though the plant roots surrounded by activated carbon. The activated carbon absorbs large quantities of the toxic chemicals and retains them until the plant roots and associated microorganisms degrade and assimilate these chemicals. (“Foliage Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality,” B. C. Wolverton, Ph.D., National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

It is well known that as fossil fuel prices rise inexorably, buildings are being constructed ever more tightly to save on energy costs. As a result, a new and dangerous phenomenon has become more common: Sick Building Syndrome, that is, a building that tends to sicken the occupants of the building. With the proliferation of household consumer products such as cleaners of various sorts added to the out-gassing from carpets, drapes, plywood and finishes, more and more people recognize the need for addressing indoor air quality.

A great number of air cleaning products have been created to address this need. The most common type of air cleaner is an air filter system in which room air is drawn through a filter media with extremely small gaps in the fibers – gaps so small that air pollutants get trapped in the filter media. Obviously, the filter media must be changed out on a regular basis or eventually the air filter will add more toxins to the air than it removes. The Plant Air Purifier trumps all of the competition because it never needs filter replacement, as it is self-cleaning.

How does it work

The Plant Air Purifier consists of an outer pot with the integrated high-pressure blower, a perforated inner pot that allows air flow and porous potting media. As air is drawn through the hydro-culture (sterilized stone) potting media and activated carbon granules, toxins are attracted to the carbon surfaces where root-associated microbes then feed on them, changing the toxins into harmless substances that are used as food by the plant in the pot. All one needs to do is water the Plant Air Purifier regularly and feed the plant with dilute liquid plant food every three or four months. This innovative system allows one plant to do the cleaning work of fifty to one hundred plants potted conventionally in soil.

People have become accustomed to modern technology making their lives easier, though in many cases that technology has contributed to poor air quality and compromised health. The Plant Air Purifier is the only air purification system that successfully neutralizes formaldehyde, as well as many other air pollutants, and at a lower cost than many standard air filters.


With hydroculture, you grow plants without soil. It’s also known as passive hydroponics. Plants get support from specially made ceramic stone or expanded clay. The growing media’s wicking action provides minerals and moisture to the roots. No messy transplanting every year, and no harboring bacteria, mold or bugs. The media is odorless and inert. This method helps remove allergens like dander and dust as well as odors, making it a great choice for those who suffer from allergies.


All plants can clean the air, but golden pothos and snake plants are especially recommended. They are very adaptive to new environments and robust. Plants sometimes have a shock period when moved from soil to hydroculture, and golden pothos and snake plants handle this acclimation better than some others.

If you have more experience with hydroculture and the maintenance required for transplanting and post-potting, these are often used due to their proven removal of toxins: lady palm, rubber plant, dumb cane, arecca palm, peace lily, warnecki dracaenas and corn plant. Choose a plant that best suits your situation.

Compared to HEPA Filters: A HEPA filter by itself won't remove Volatile Organic Compounds, but the Plant Purifier will. Some HEPA filters have activated carbon, but not nearly as much as the Plant Purifier (five pounds). The Plant Purifier adapts to pollutants and VOCs over time so it becomes even better at eliminating them. HEPA filters lose effectiveness over time and require replacements. The Plant Purifier just needs water and occasional plant food. Plus, the Plant Purifier is much more attractive.

Compared to Electronic Precipitators: The efficiency of an electronic precipitator decreases as the plates get loaded with particles or as the velocity of air flow decreases. Because it is self-cleaning, the Plant Air Purifier maintains a constant cleaning rate. This increases over time as the plant microbes adapt to the environment. Collector plates in electronic precipitators need to be cleaned regularly.

Compared to Normal Potted Plants: Indoor plants in soil can provide some air purification, but the Plant Air Purifier has a much better air movement and access to root microbes, making it up to 60 times better as an air cleaner than other plants.

Fungus, mold and insects can be a problem with soil but are much less of a concern with hydroculture. Because the surface of hydrocultured plants pebbles dry quickly, it doesn’t support fungus and mold growth.

So I have decided to make my own Air Purifier.

More to come soon.

Do you have any questions? Leave a comment down below!



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