Have you heard about the recent “Clean-Air Study” conducted by NASA ?
It’s not just us green-fingered folk who have been relishing in the life-enhancing power of plants; astronauts too!
Yes, you read that right.
Right now, somewhere floating high above the earth is an astronaut admiring the wonders of the humble peace lily, in their small, but oxygen optimised, space station.
Join us as we explore the official NASA Clean Air findings and discover how best to use houseplants around your home to enhance your well-being in this blog.
Skip to Best NASA Approved Plants For The:
Who Are NASA?
If you didn’t already know NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration; it is a US government agency who deal with all things space-related.
In short, they’re kind of a big deal!
They put men on the moon and frequently send astronauts into space to research, explore, and learn about the cosmos.
COVID-19 & The Conversation Surrounding Clean Air
Have you noticed that air, and breathing in general, has been a hot topic for discussion as of late?
With the tragedy of George Floyd, a respiratory-related pandemic, and most of us spending more time at home than ever before due to COVID-19, air, and the necessity of it is, getting it’s fair share of coverage.
At Blooming Haus we enjoy the mood-boosting affects of florals every day, so it felt only right to share this wisdom with the world.
Did you know that the air in your home is 30x more toxic than the air outside?
Pretty shocking, right?
Toxic air pollutants include benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia, when we spend too much time inside surrounded by these chemicals it can have adverse health effects such as headaches, dizziness, eye irritation and much more.
What Is The NASA Clean Air Study?
The Clean Air Study was designed and conducted to explore natural and effective ways to purify the air in small and unventilated spaces such as space stations.
A decade prior to the study, more and more buildings were popping up around the world specifically designed to reduce natural airflow in a bid to save on electricity bills.
However, people living and working in these buildings started reporting irritations and strange symptoms, like rashes and drowsiness throughout the day.
Experts concluded that fresh air was necessary to avoid these symptoms.
Air Purifying Plants
The findings didn’t sit well with NASA.
Because space stations need to be completely sealed.
There is no fresh air in space -so naturally they were worried what would happen to their astronauts who lived in these small spaces over prolonged period of time.
Everyone knows that plants photosynthesise, inhaling carbon dioxide to produce oxygen, but NASA thought that plants might be able to go one step further and actually absorb dangerous pollutants from the atmosphere.
In the NASA houseplant study, they tested the effectiveness of various houseplants, such as English Ivy, Spider Plant and Chrysanthemum, when faced with the following pollutants: formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, ammonia and trichloroethylene.
What Are These Pollutants & Why Are They Dangerous?
Most people don’t know what any of these pollutants are, but they exist all around us.
Here’s where you can find these toxins:
- Formaldehyde is found in tissues, napkins, paper bags, and synthetic fabrics, among other things.
- Benzene is found in plastics, tobacco smoke, glue, paint, wax, dyes and detergents.
- Trichloroethylene is found in paint, varnish, paint stripper, glues and inks.
- Xylene is found in rubber, leather, printing and exhausts.
- Ammonia is found in floor waxes and cleaners.
And here are some of the symptoms that can occur when exposed to them in high doses.
Please note that the severe symptoms, like unconsciousness, comas and organ damage, only occur at very high exposure – much higher than typical day to day use of these products.
- Formaldehyde exposure can irritate your throat, mouth and nose. If you are exposed to a significant amount, you could experience swelling of your larynx and lungs.
- Benzene exposure can irritate your eyes and cause symptoms like dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, heart rate changes, and, in extreme cases, unconsciousness.
- Trichloroethylene can cause euphoria, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness and, in very severe cases, coma.
- Ammonia can cause coughing, sore throat and irritation around your eyes.
As mentioned, the more severe symptoms on this list would occur after exposure to a lot of the pollutant – much more than you would experience in general day to day use of, for example, general handling of paper tissues.
However, the study suggest you might find that you feel more refreshed, awake, and experience fewer symptoms like eye and nose irritation and headaches if you strive to eliminate these toxins from your environment.
In recent months, for obvious reasons, there has been an emphasis on creating a home which function as safe haven – a space that promotes and encourage optimum health.
Incorporating more plants in the home, not only as an impact on our physical and mental health, but they look great too.
Why Did NASA Do The Study?
In the sealed space stations with no fresh air, astronauts were more at risk of inhaling these pollutants and experiencing intense effects due to the lack of air-flow and restricted ventilation.
Rather than turn to technology, NASA decided to experiment with something that has been around since humans have walked the Earth: plants.
Some plants, like Parlour Palm, absorbed all of the pollutants that it was tested with.
Other plants, such as the Boston Fern, were a little more selective about what they absorbed.
“However, all of the plants that were tested absorbed formaldehyde.
Can I Use the NASA Clean Air Concept in My Home Space?
Of course, NASA did the testing in a sealed space station.
This was the ideal environment for testing, as contaminant levels were high and there weren’t any other ways for toxins to exit the atmosphere.
However, can still replicate this to a degree at home and enjoy purer air and more oxygenated air in your surroundings.
It is an especially good idea to do so if you live in a small apartment in a city – but even if you live in a farmhouse in the countryside, you can still experience the life-enhancing power of plants by applying their findings.
How Many Houseplants Should I Have?
NASA recommends one plant every 100 square feet – which is about 9.2 square metres.
In a home of about 1800 square feet in size (roughly 167 square metres), NASA recommends 15-18 houseplants.
However, the exact number depends on what plants you opt for – you’ll need fewer plants if they are larger and more efficient at reducing toxins.
Which NASA Recommended Indoor Plants To Use
You will most likely purchase plants to put in your bedroom, living room, and other rooms like your home office or your children’s playroom.
Here’s a list of some of the best NASA clean air study plants for each room.
NASA Approved Plants For Your Living Room
The Areca Palm is not only a very aesthetically pleasing plant, but it also removes many of the toxins that NASA tested and produces a large amount of oxygen.
It does need to be watered often, so it’s a good plant to take centre-stage in your living room.
You should water it every two to three days and fertilise it every two weeks or so.
You could also invest in a Dragon Tree for your living room.
These are slow-growing tree-like plants that can reach over two metres – so make sure that they are kept in a room with high ceilings, like your living area!
Water your dragon tree whenever the topsoil is dry – which will usually be about once per week.
NASA Approved Plants For Your Home Office
Money plants are one of the best houseplants for air purification, and they are a good option for your study.
The Money Plant has a high purification rate and can remove most of pollutants that we’ve discussed in this blog.
However, the leaves are toxic to humans and animals – so it’s essential to keep it out of the way of pets and small children.
For this reason, it’s a good plant to keep tucked away in a corner of your home office, out of the reach of anyone who it could do harm to.
It also thrives in indirect light, so don’t worry if your study only has a small window.
Water it every 1-2 weeks, or more often if it gets more sunlight.
In the winter, it needs less watering – keep an eye on it as all plants are different, but you might get away with only watering it once a month.
NASA Approved Plants For Your Children’s Playroom
Spider plants are non-toxic to humans (and dogs and cats as well), making them a great choice to clean the air in your children’s playroom.
Of course, make sure that the plant is out of your kid’s reach anyway – you still don’t want to be down a spider plant because your child thought the leaves looked like a tasty snack.
Spider plants are great for purifying the air from xylene and can even help to reduce carbon monoxide, which is a very dangerous gas.
You should water your spider plant about once a week, and don’t worry if you overwater it – they are typically quite thirsty!
NASA Approved Plants For Your Bedroom
Be careful with plants in your bedroom.
Many plants stop the photosynthesis process at night, producing carbon dioxide instead – which is the opposite of what you want!
However, the following plants continue to produce a good level of oxygen when it is dark, helping you breathe in cleaner air and wake up refreshed.
The interestingly named Mother-In-Law’s tongue, or the Snake Plant, works best at night.
It works to remove toxins and produce oxygen while you sleep, helping you wake up feeling much more rested and ready to tackle the day!
Snake plants should be kept near a window, but they only need watering every 2-8 weeks.
Be careful that you don’t overwater it; snake plants don’t take well to too much hydration and can rot easily.
You could also try the Gerbera Daisy.
These plants have green leaves and red flowers and will blend effortlessly into any classy bedroom – but they are also excellent at purifying the air at all times.
Gerbera Daisies continue to produce lots of oxygen at night and clear the air from benzene, trichloroethylene, and more!
In the spring, summer and autumn, place your Gerbera Daisy near the window where it will enjoy bright sunlight.
In the winter, it likes to recharge with indirect light.
Water your Gerbera Daisy about once a week, and make sure that the soil is kept moist.
NASA Approved Plants For Your Bathroom
The Lady Palm is an excellent NASA-approved plant for the bathroom.
It can help remove the air from ammonia, a toxin found in many cleaning products, which you probably use in your bathroom.
This plant also loves humidity, so don’t worry if you like to have long hot showers.
However, do bear in mind that you won’t need to water your lady palm as much if it is in the bathroom, as the natural moisture will give it some hydration.
The Best Flowers For Your House
While houseplants are great, there’s nothing like brightening up your house with a beautiful bunch of flowers!
If you’re looking for flowers with all the benefits that we’ve mentioned above, try some bright Chrysanthemums.
These beautiful blooms come in orange, yellow, red and pink colours and they’ll brighten up the greyest of days.
However, these plants are more than just a beautiful bouquet – Chrysanthemums are air cleaning plants, working to eliminate ammonia and benzene and leaving you with fresh, purified air to breathe.
The best part?
At Blooming Haus we just launched our new Online Flower Shop.
Blooming Haus Online Flower Shop
We’re continuously adding our latest creations for you to purchase and be delivered directly to your home.
Right now, we only deliver to UK postcodes all I can say is watch this space. 😉
Our beautiful bouquets are the easiest way to add a little lux to your home and brighten up your space.
What Are The Benefits of Filtered Air?
As well as avoiding symptoms and illnesses like those caused by the toxins listed above, houseplants can be really beneficial to our physical and mental health.
Houseplants help to mimic ‘fresh air’ by producing oxygen.
They also increase humidity in the atmosphere as they release water vapour.
This can prevent dryness around the nose and mouth, which many people experience during cold winters or after too much time indoors.
There are substantial mental benefits to having houseplants as well.
COVID has seen us spend more and more time in our house – for those who live in apartments; this has been especially difficult.
However, plants help us to bring nature inside.
They can boost our mood, remind us of nature’s healing power, and make us feel more grounded and centred.
There have been many studies of plants positively affecting our mental health – one looked at the impact of putting small plants on employee’s desks at an office in Japan.
After four weeks, the study summarised that the staff members who had a houseplant on their desk had lower stress and anxiety levels than those who didn’t.
Bringing More Of The Outside, Inside
At Blooming Haus, we believe that bringing the outside, inside, is a trend we are going to see more of in 2021 and beyond.
Let the power of plants continue to prevail!
Thank you for reading – don’t forget to share this post with your green-fingered friends!
If you have any questions be sure to leave them in the comments section down below, we would love to hear from you. 🙂
The best air purifying plants according to NASA include:
- English ivy (Hedera helix)
- Spider plant (Chlorophytum elatum)
- Devil’s ivy, Pothos plant (Epipremnum aureum)
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)
- Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)
- Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
- Variegated Sanseviera, (Dracaena trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
- Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron cordatum)
- Selloum philodendron, lacy tree philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)
- Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)
- Red-edged dracaena, marginata (Dracaena marginata)
- Cornstalk dracaena, mass cane/corn cane (Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’)
- Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
- Barberton daisy, gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
- Florist’s chrysanthemum, pot mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
- Aloe vera (Aloe vera)
- Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig”)
- Warneckei (Dracaena deremensis “Warneckei”)
- Banana (Musa oriana)
Additional Resources You May Find Useful
- Blooming Haus Corporate & Event Flowers
- Blooming Haus Contract Flowers
- Sustainable Floristry at Blooming Haus
- The Best Potted Blooms to Brighten Up Your Home Office