| by Kenneth Chase | 100 comments

A NASA study explains how to purify air with house plants

You’ve probably heard plants can improve your air quality. Just about every paper on the subject, [and I mean literally all of them,] are based on a 1989 NASA study and a follow up by the lead scientist. The scientists collected plants and put them in chambers, then pumped in harmful chemicals like these: After 24 hours, they tested the air quality in each chamber. Some plants were able to remove up to 90% of the harmful chemicals. So which plants were the most effective? NASA scientists tested familiar ones. “All the plants they have in their list are just very common house plants. This is Dr Dennis Stevenson, Vice President for science at the New York Botanical Garden. “I think they picked them because they were looking at things that people would have in their environments. As opposed to some exotic, weird tropical plant that nobody knows anything about.” All of these plants are excellent at getting rid of harmful indoor carcinogens. Here’s how it works: Plants take in the harmful gasses out of the atmosphere and sequester them in their roots and cells. Some of these chemicals are broken down by fungi in the soil and others are stored in the plant. So what about things like…smoke, that might be in your apartment via cigarettes. Or you know…other types of smoke. “Well I would say, they take up stuff in the atmosphere so theoretically they should take up any kind of smoke that’s in your apartment in a certain sense, right. I don’t really know, but I think if one did those tests that probably one would find a positive correlation with that.” Of all of the plants NASA mentioned in its study these three have the best surface area to chemical removal ratio. But keep in mind that a gerbera daisy will never get as big as a lady palm, and the more plant you have, the more harmful chemicals that you can remove. “ A big leaf plant is probably, potentially able to exchange more things with the air you know than something with little needle leaves.” And for those lacking a green thumb? “I’ll tell you, the one in there that’s probably the hardest to kill is the sansevieria, the mother in law’s tongue.” It scores high on removing chemicals and only needs low light. Hello everyone, if you’d like to learn more about the plants or the experiments done by NASA, check out the description below. You’ll find a more detailed account of which plants are mentioned at the beginning of the video. If you’re looking to buy some of these plants or want to learn how to take care of them, don’t forget to check out your local nursery.



Nov 11, 2018, 4:57 am Reply

Sound more that plants suffer from smoke, get polluted and intoxicated than purifying the air from smoke….
Just like us it's not because pollution pollute us and get stocked in our body that we are pollution filter. We just suffer it.

Archangel Tyrael

Nov 11, 2018, 9:43 pm Reply

Yeah that study is not very good, it was done in enclosed compartments with no ventilation. You cannot compare this to a house. The study was meant to test fir plants ton take in to space to purify the air. Second, they tested only soil too and there was not a big difference between the removal of ‘bad’ compounds between the plant and the only soil version. Also, they only had a few plants which actually made a difference. They stopped the study because it wasn’t really working.

Trevor Doge

Nov 11, 2018, 12:31 am Reply

This is why we all ought to live in greenhouses

Lily 45

Nov 11, 2018, 1:55 am Reply

I love my snake plant ???

kevin augustsson

Dec 12, 2018, 12:39 pm Reply

The results of the study isn't really transferrable to the home environment. In the study activated carbon was added to the soil and a fan was used to pull air through it.

help me

Dec 12, 2018, 5:02 am Reply

This is cool but Please do not grow English ivy it is Very invasive

Kianglek Tan

Dec 12, 2018, 6:16 am Reply

So we need rocket science to teach us kitchen wisdom?

Digs Fossils-n-Knives

Dec 12, 2018, 1:36 pm Reply

They used plants that are generally found in households. But did they use toxins that are generally found in homes?


Dec 12, 2018, 6:08 am Reply

Great and I am sure these plants are good to have in your home. But a single 24 hours study tells very little and is not something to base your life on. Idol of Science. House toxins accumulate over years and decades and they did not study actual living conditions, etc, etc. Which plants are really the best then … ?

Webis Tebis

Dec 12, 2018, 2:14 am Reply

I have 2 snake plants but they live in a planter outside with my foxtail ferns and my bigboi plumeria trees with sum orchids.


Dec 12, 2018, 7:49 pm Reply

”Other types of smoke” ?

Zakk Brown

Jan 1, 2019, 1:33 am Reply

What is the song playing at 1:00?

Digital Nomad

Jan 1, 2019, 1:26 pm Reply

I love snake plant looks good too


Jan 1, 2019, 9:53 pm Reply

Nasa lies to people why should i watch this sh it

Member Zombies

Jan 1, 2019, 1:47 am Reply

Yeah I’m not gunna listen to what you say, you called fungi “fun ji” like seriously you can’t be that dumb..

Justaway Productions

Jan 1, 2019, 12:29 pm Reply

Project purity 2.0

sheldon pereira

Jan 1, 2019, 9:15 am Reply

So he didn't check for smoke


Jan 1, 2019, 5:40 am Reply

This is bullish

Grunka Lunka Union Rep

Feb 2, 2019, 6:42 am Reply

Way to make a 3 minute video out of 20 seconds of information

Joseph Ang

Feb 2, 2019, 2:02 pm Reply

Don't EVER put the Snake Plant in your garden. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get RID of it later. It is an EVIL plant.

Sid Thevar

Feb 2, 2019, 8:09 am Reply

yeah…….but can it neutralize my awesome farts………?

The Zoltan

Feb 2, 2019, 5:29 pm Reply

My grandmother always had tons of house plants, never understood why. Now I'm 25 and I'm like I NEED PLANTS lol

Arch 2D2

Feb 2, 2019, 9:38 pm Reply

please never say fun dji again

Nithya Muralidharan

Mar 3, 2019, 2:06 pm Reply

Wait does this mean this study is applicable only to Western countries where these plants are native?

Nenée Parra

Mar 3, 2019, 2:38 pm Reply

can you maybe learn how to pronounce fungi for the next video????


Mar 3, 2019, 8:24 pm Reply

Checks out local nursery,

i suck dick and

Mar 3, 2019, 2:47 am Reply

Did she just say…

F U N J I ? 1:25

Smite Matrix

Mar 3, 2019, 1:40 pm Reply

Good For Environment
Save Our Planet
Create Awareness

kaz z

Apr 4, 2019, 10:19 pm Reply

Do you belife in NASA ,its a one of the grate liar of all time example that fake moon mission they pretent with big cameras i not belife what they say

Anna Mace

Apr 4, 2019, 4:12 am Reply

Man: I don't really know, but if they did studies there may be some positive correlation
Video: positive correlation! Plants remove smoke!
Urgh smh

Zoe Bueche

Apr 4, 2019, 1:58 pm Reply

Am feeling better now with ferns i think is getting rid of rat crap pollution prob is killing me eeew! Mt cats will eat them soon is fine lol nature!✨????


Apr 4, 2019, 12:21 am Reply

Really wasn't expecting such angry comments for a video on freaking house plants. Y'all need to chill

NiX aKi

Apr 4, 2019, 1:27 pm Reply

However, the experiment was contained in a small dome. You would need a forest of potted plants in an average apartment size inorder to get the same results as the experiment.

44 Liam

Apr 4, 2019, 8:16 pm Reply

This video had a lot of weird pauses in it


Apr 4, 2019, 12:46 am Reply

You'd need hundreds of plants hundreds upon hundreds.


Apr 4, 2019, 6:21 pm Reply

1:34 lol

Hilt Tilt

Apr 4, 2019, 7:44 pm Reply

8 thus far. Christmas Cactus, Poinncetta, Green onions, and 2 Aloe Vera plants thriving. Recently started some Basil, and sprouted 2 Lemon trees from seeds. These 3 are doing really good but still seedlings.

fin juvo

Apr 4, 2019, 8:42 pm Reply

This video is SOOOOO SLOOOOW

faraz bahrami

Apr 4, 2019, 7:21 pm Reply

She call em “funjai”? ?

Denzel Dickenson

Apr 4, 2019, 2:11 am Reply

Can weed do this too

Home Air Quality Guides

Apr 4, 2019, 9:19 pm Reply

We wrote a blog post recently on this exact topic. It's important to note that while plants can purify the air, they're not as efficient as air purifiers. Air purifier machines can remove many contaminants that plants cannot such as dust, pollen, allergens and other solid particles. Plants are good for some things like carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds including acetone, benzene, and formaldehyde. But, if you want to remove up to 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size then you'll want to invest in an air purifier device.

Bella YourFella

Apr 4, 2019, 2:00 am Reply

Yay pathos are good


Apr 4, 2019, 6:41 pm Reply

This is the most unscientific video I have seen. Before anyone shares, take a look at the literature and attempt to work out their true effectiveness at removing pollution..e.g. a single pot plant will do jack..

Prasetyo Sunardi

May 5, 2019, 2:08 am Reply

Well it is just a logical thinking. Those houseplants you suggested are plants that cant tolerate a range of low light condition! But, when there's light, the plants have photosynthesis. And when photosynthesis is being done, the plants use CO2 as their source. And, as a result, they produce O2! And, at night, you turnnon the light, VOILA! They produce O2. This is really tricky into leading people to think that it is somewhat magical or anything. Lmao.


May 5, 2019, 5:35 am Reply

I came here thinking I can purify weed, guess not.


May 5, 2019, 8:07 am Reply

Does an air purifier do the same?


May 5, 2019, 1:00 am Reply

This video does not AT ALL address whether the chemicals tested in the study occur with ANY frequency in homes.
Plus, it pretends that a scientist's guess is equivalent to a scientific positive correlation… Shameful.

I would've found this video more interesting if it were more honest because you hear this all the time. All you did was parrot the same thing everyone else says and even twist words to parrot it more precisely and blindly. How utterly boring.

Franky Gustavo

May 5, 2019, 4:54 am Reply

I have a snake Plant. This plant need nearly zero attention. It always look green. Didn't water the plant for 2 weeks? The snake plant doesn't care. Awesome plant.


May 5, 2019, 5:33 pm Reply

Loved this

Sanjay Matsuda

May 5, 2019, 5:56 pm Reply

That's cool and all, but people don't keep open tubs full of formaldehyde at home, and a major cause of cognitive decline is carbon dioxide, of which household plants only absorb minuscule amounts in any timely manner. Playing gardener and keeping Big Plant in business is no substitute for a good CO2 scrubber.

Alexander Damm

May 5, 2019, 6:14 pm Reply

I’m really disappoint in the quality of this video, how could you mislead us like that? I trusted Quartz for cool but true information. Yet now your credibility is damaged.


May 5, 2019, 11:06 pm Reply

Right now the lack of quality air in my city is mind-blowing, there have been a lot of fires these last few days and I have felt that I can't breathe. I was looking into oxigen tanks (yes it's that bad), but I'm going to buy and fill up my space with plants so that my air quality will always be good and not feel like I can't breathe.


May 5, 2019, 9:26 am Reply

Why is this video making people angry? Like get a life lmao, it's just stating facts that people might not know


May 5, 2019, 10:30 am Reply

I know a better way to cleanse the smoke, simply don't smoke cigarettes, weed is okay.

eduardo mendoza

May 5, 2019, 2:13 am Reply

I thought this was a vox video…. no wonder its bad

Quoro Quay

May 5, 2019, 10:13 am Reply

my-not-so-intellegent-self feel so amazing when know about house plant can reduce chemical an other things.

when i read a comment ,i read some comment and ohhh… thats the way you/team have to be done. I love smart people

Victor Zhou

May 5, 2019, 11:47 pm Reply

Yes great alternatif to air purifier.

Victor Zhou

May 5, 2019, 11:50 pm Reply

Where to buy

na x

May 5, 2019, 1:19 pm Reply

I have a 1000 yr ago redwood in my bathroom.

Pattie Bell

May 5, 2019, 9:15 pm Reply

Is it safe to have house plants in bedroom considering During daylight hours, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen through photosynthesis, and at night only about half that carbon is then released through respiration.


May 5, 2019, 5:46 am Reply

Wait s minute, that dude is speculating things and Quartz is making it out like it is a fact?! The f***?!

"I speculate the smell of my sh** is harmful to you"
Quartz: "smelling sh** is harmful to your health – fact"

Omair Ahmed

May 5, 2019, 10:26 am Reply

What a lame professor. He tested different carcinogens but not the basic smoke i.e. present in homes. Loool

Matouš Kolátor

May 5, 2019, 6:34 pm Reply

Yeah, I have weed in my room that also helps


May 5, 2019, 2:15 am Reply

IMPORTANT NOTE: mother-in-law's tongue is SUPER POISONOUS to house pets if they eat it

ed me

May 5, 2019, 12:11 pm Reply

if your a smoker no need for plants. a filter will get more many times faster. you would need a jungle in your house to get industrial amounts of toxcics. it is just an extra bonus when you have plants. just open your windows more often to circulate air. change furnace filters so air circulation is always good during winter.

Child of Light

May 5, 2019, 9:23 am Reply

So this is why English ivy was everywhere in the 80's.

Lion Alesso

Jun 6, 2019, 2:53 am Reply

I did this study too at 11 with old people smoking in their rooms and they had really good air quality… My sansevieria is bringing another new leaf, all my African violets are blooming like crazy, I bought them with few broken leaves which nobody wanted to buy and I felt sorry for them. 😀

Cameron Jinks

Jun 6, 2019, 12:33 am Reply

One time I got high, and my plant started giggling at me. It was almost like it was high too …


Jul 7, 2019, 9:45 pm Reply

What about aloe plants?


Jul 7, 2019, 10:44 am Reply


The Darkmoon Blade

Jul 7, 2019, 3:48 pm Reply

I really want them in my house and had couple of houseplants before but THEY DIE TOO FAST! I GAVE UP.

fatima ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Jul 7, 2019, 7:50 am Reply

short answer – snake plant


Jul 7, 2019, 8:51 pm Reply

Lazy video


Jul 7, 2019, 1:12 pm Reply

2:50 what's the name of the music ?? Help


Jul 7, 2019, 3:17 pm Reply

Edible plants also clean the air and you learn how to grow your own food and eat healthier. Why plant so many plants in and around our houses that are only decorative when you could also be producing most of your food and medicine?

Neko Mochi

Jul 7, 2019, 1:31 am Reply

Quartz at it again with the bullshit.

Flavia Silva

Jul 7, 2019, 10:03 am Reply

Yes, thats what I needed! More reasons to get more plants <3 IF YOU HAVE PETS AND OR CHILDRENCHECK IF YOUR WANTED PLANTS AREN'T HARMFUL TO THEM stay safe and have a nice day

Park Yoga

Jul 7, 2019, 12:20 am Reply

I've had those snake plants growing up like crazy in my yard…. I don't even know that was supposed to be an indoor plants….

Maximillian Tarmidi

Jul 7, 2019, 3:51 am Reply

Can venus flytrap and other carnivorous plant purify air?

Max C.

Jul 7, 2019, 4:52 am Reply

love, junk science…

Ciel Cam

Jul 7, 2019, 5:22 am Reply

In my country, Sansiviera or Snake Plant is often referred as "Mother in Law's Tongue".. Lidah Mertua..

Harshit Mishra

Jul 7, 2019, 9:04 am Reply

yeah cut 100 years old trees and plant tiny plants in your house to clean your air … . what a disgusting way of living life 😀

колючка слизь

Jul 7, 2019, 11:15 am Reply

Why not to use phytoplankton

Thalyssa Araujo

Jul 7, 2019, 10:20 pm Reply

Vox wannabe

Kaizzad Gustad

Jul 7, 2019, 12:50 am Reply


Stevie Dass

Jul 7, 2019, 4:23 am Reply

The NASA professor said "I don't really know"!!! END OF STORY!

Esequiel Tovar

Jul 7, 2019, 8:33 pm Reply

Is there a plant that moves up and down so it can blow some air to me

Aaron Roam

Jul 7, 2019, 2:13 am Reply

This video missed some pretty important distinctions…. For starters, that the plants studied and actually enabled 90%+ reductions had air circulating on their roots and activated carbon mixed into the medium.

I recall someone mentioning fhat a potted plant would see 1/60th the effect of a hydroponic, airflow enabled, activated carbon-using plant. It might've even been Wolverton.

Elijah Medi

Jul 7, 2019, 9:01 pm Reply

Typical low quality pseudoscientific show. This is how you NOT do it. Quite disappointed I have to say.

Kunchang Lee

Jul 7, 2019, 5:21 am Reply



Jul 7, 2019, 2:14 pm Reply

My million dollar smoke cleanser is more cost effective and useful than these stupid house plants.

Luiza Moreira

Jul 7, 2019, 6:11 pm Reply

"not some weird, tropical plant no one's ever heard about"
me, someone born, raised and who currently live in a tropical country: hm

Tori Petry

Jul 7, 2019, 6:59 pm Reply

i currently have 180 succulents in my house. i’m LIVING

sudhamai srikumar

Jul 7, 2019, 5:11 am Reply

It’s very difficult to read all the script in the video.
Too quick , too many writings ,
You need to put less text and run the video slowly


Jul 7, 2019, 4:57 am Reply

So why are you all using a 30 year old source? You people at quartz could not find a more recent study? The amount of research and technology has improved drastically since then.


Jul 7, 2019, 6:11 pm Reply

What do you mean by "other types of smokes?" ?


Jul 7, 2019, 6:12 pm Reply

This is actually not that good of a video

Amaan Raichuri

Aug 8, 2019, 5:24 am Reply

Watching this while sitting next to my snake plant


Aug 8, 2019, 4:08 pm Reply

That was not an English ivy lol

Daniyel Gazelus

Aug 8, 2019, 3:07 am Reply

I don't know why but the way the video is being made doesn't sound convincing at all ???

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