Drexel researchers show decades of potted plant studies don’t hold up outside the lab.

Plants can help spruce up a home or office space, but claims about their ability to improve the air quality are vastly overstated, according to research out of Drexel University. A closer look at decades of research suggesting that potted plants can improve the air in homes and offices reveals that natural ventilation far outpaces plants when it comes to cleaning the air.

“This has been a common misconception for some time. Plants are great, but they don’t actually clean indoor air quickly enough to have an effect on the air quality of your home or office environment,” said Michael Waring, PhD, an associate professor of architectural and environmental engineering in Drexel’s College of Engineering.

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