Tony O’Neill, gardener and author of the popular “Composting Masterclass” and “Your First Vegetable Garden,” combines lifelong passion and expert knowledge to simplify the art of gardening. His mission? Helping you cultivate a thriving garden. More on Tony O’Neill
Humans average breathe more than 10 to 20 thousand liters of air daily. Being one of the most vital functions of the human body, it is important to ensure that you inhale fresh air. However, clean and fresh air has become a scarce resource lately.
According to research, the air inside the house is much more polluted than outdoors. This is because the air in our houses is more likely to be trapped. But luckily, there are a bunch of ways in which one can improve the air quality of their home.
Aloe vera can purify and detoxify the air containing formaldehyde and benzene, substances commonly found in floor finishes, varnishes, and detergents.
According to certain experiments, aloe vera effectively eliminates certain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the air. But how true and reliable are these experiments today, and what makes this sweet little plant so effective? Let us discuss how aloe vera helps purify the air and whether it will be equally effective inside your house.
Removes Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Some VOCs can be very easily found in a typical house. Benzene is commonly present in paint products, dyes, plastics, and rubber. On the other hand, formaldehyde is usually found in insulation materials, laminate flooring, and particle-board furniture. So, if you think your household is free from VOCs, there is a high chance that you might be wrong.
However, you can make the air inside your home cleaner with the right plant. Aloe vera is proven to be quite beneficial in eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air.
Moreover, aloe vera can remove xylene (another VOC) from the air in your house. It is usually found in paint thinners, solvents, and varnishes. Besides houses, it is also found in the printing, rubber, and leather industries.
These compounds are chemicals usually released from building materials, furniture, and cleaning supplies. Since these compounds are released through products used in the house daily, they can pollute the air inside the home. So, having an aloe vera plant can prove to be effective in removing these VOCs.
Aloe vera can eliminate these VOCs from the air in your home by:
- Absorbing and sequestering the volatile organic compounds in the cells of the plant.
- Breaking down carbon chains of the compounds and using them again to create safer chemicals such as amino acids or other organic compounds.
- Attracting microorganisms that can help in breaking down the compounds. This process is usually carried out in the root system of the plant.
In the studies, aloe vera was shown to eliminate benzene and formaldehyde, two of the most commonly found VOCs in a usual household.
Not only was the plant really good at filtering and detoxifying the pollutants, but it also makes it quite easy to monitor the air quality of your house.
The plant will start developing brown spots if there is a high level of specific VOCs, transforming into a natural air quality monitor.
Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) Pathway
It is a known fact that plants are the fundamental oxygen pumps on this earth and are responsible for the survival of human beings. But other than the basic function of photosynthesis, some plants have additional and special features that help fight against air pollutants in our houses.
While all plants are expected to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the environment, aloe vera does a little more than this.
An aloe plant uses something that is known as the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) pathway to exchange air with the environment.
These plants have evolved a rare ‘nocturnal breathing’ adaptation that helps them survive better in dry climates. The CAM plants can actively exchange air at night rather than during the daytime.
Thus, this leads to cleaner air and helps you sleep better at night. Because of this function, the aloe vera plant is beneficial in removing xylene.
With CAM, an aloe vera plant can absorb high levels of carbon dioxide from the environment at night and thus releases more oxygen when exposed to the sun again. It is not surprising that aloe vera is known as one of the many ‘oxygen bomb’ plants. According to NASA, aloe vera is as effective at producing oxygen in a room as 9 plants.
How To Improve Air Quality Indoors Naturally?
According to a recent study by Bryan Cumming and Michael Waring, just one indoor plant would do nothing to improve the air quality in your home.
A home with 1500 square feet of space would need around 680 plants to be grown inside to cleanse and purify the air indoors effectively.
But 680 plants are a lot, even for some of the most passionate gardeners. This means that a huge collection of indoor plants can significantly affect air quality. However, housing so many plants would not be feasible or practical for many.
However, if you are planning on building an indoor garden, you can avail yourself of many benefits. While it would somewhat contribute to improving the air quality of your home, having plants indoors can help rejuvenate your mood and enhance the overall vibe of your home. Growing plants has a bunch of mental and physical health benefits.
Is Aloe Vera the Best Indoor Plant For Improving Air Quality?
While aloe vera offers a bunch of benefits, it is not necessarily the best pick when it comes to improving the air quality indoors.
This is because it does not go beyond the scope of eliminating just a couple of VOCs – benzene and formaldehyde. Several other plants can be more effective and help eliminate additional VOCs.
But other than this, aloe vera is still a great plant for your home. Besides being a low-maintenance succulent that can improve the air quality of your home, it is also a plant that enhances your house’s aesthetic appeal and comes with many medicinal benefits.
Where Should I Position My Aloe Vera in My House?
Aloe Vera thrives in the sunshine. So, the ideal location for an aloe planter would be a sunny windowsill if you plan to grow the plant indoors.
Any place that will ensure that your plant receives lots of indirect sunlight would be great. However, you should avoid placing it in direct or bright sunlight. You can read this blog to get a proper idea of how much sun an aloe vera plant needs.
There are quite a few tips that will help you grow aloe vera in a hassle-free way. Watch this video to know more:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use aloe vera instead of an air purifier?
An air purifier’s purpose is to sanitize the air inside your home. This implies it removes toxins, pollutants, and allergens from the air. Air purifiers may even trap dust before it settles down on a surface. This can eventually ensure lesser build-up and even make cleaning easier for you.
However, aloe vera works more naturally. As mentioned, it eliminates harmful microorganisms and VOCs and absorbs carbon dioxide. Aloe vera can be a more cost-effective and natural alternative to air purifiers but is less effective in eliminating various air pollutants. Nevertheless, there are many other benefits of having this low-maintenance succulent in your living room or kitchen at the windowsill.
Can aloe vera really purify the air?
While there are a bunch of studies that show aloe vera as an amazing air purifier, it should be noted that all these experiments are carried out in small and controlled environments. Also, a particular VOC is released in the chambers, much more than what is produced in a usual household.
This means that the research only measures a plant’s ability to purify the air containing a single VOC. In contrast, real-life plants have to encounter a slew of various VOCs constantly.
Moreover, these experiments are carried out in smaller areas. Since the plants are exposed to a smaller air volume, it may boost their purification abilities.
What are some of the best plants to purify the air?
While aloe vera removes benzene and formaldehyde, other indoor plants remove additional VOCs from the air.
Dwarf date palms are Areca palms, some outdoor plants known to eliminate various VOCs. On the other hand, Boston fern, Kimberly Queens fern, English ivy, Lilyturf, Spider plant, peace lily, and Flamingo lily are some indoor plants that can help clean air inside your home in a much better way as compared to aloe vera.
Other Articles On Growing Aloe Vera That Will Help You In Your Journey
Conclusion on Does Aloe Vera Clean The Air in Your Home
Growing plants indoors is a great way to bring greenery into your house. And aloe vera is one of the most beneficial plants and one of the best options for your little indoor garden.
However, when it comes to improving the air in your home, you should not entirely rely on aloe vera and other indoor plants. You can consider improving your house’s overall ventilation system by opening up your room’s windows and doors for a while.
This will help fresh air to enter your home. But if you reside in a region with a poor air quality index, you should consider investing in a good quality air purification system.
So, are you willing to grow aloe vera plants indoors and see how it elevates your mood, rejuvenates your home’s aura, and maybe even improves your home’s air quality?
If you want to read a full care guide for growing Aloe Vera then I have you covered.