8 Indoor Plants that Clean the Air

Last updated 11/9/2020 | , |

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These 8 indoor plants clean the air while they beautify your home. These house plants are easy to care for, and they improve air quality and reduce toxins too. Includes recommended varieties and growing tips.

room full of house plants

The Benefits of Air Purifying House Plants

House plants are like nature’s air filters. We all learned in school that plants take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which is part of their air cleaning magic.

But did you know that these air purifying house plants also remove ground-level ozone from the air? This is an irritating gas formed by a combination of common air pollutants.

One is an environmental toxin called VOCs (which stands for volatile air compounds). These are released by plastics and are responsible for the famous “new furniture smell” you notice when you get new carpet or a new office chair. A lot of common building materials release VOCs.

Another is NOx, or nitrogen oxides. These are produced by vehicle exhaust, kerosene heaters, gas stoves, burning wood, tobacco smoke, and other combustion processes. These are especially common in the winter months when many homes rely on combustive heating processes.

cozy fireplace and chair

Other common pollutants include formaldehyde, benzene, trichlorethylene, xylene, ammonia, mold, allergens, and many others.

All of these pollutants can irritate the respiratory system and cause symptoms like fatigue, foggy thinking, headaches, and dizziness. This is why having indoor plants that clean the air is so important!

How many air purifying house plants do you need?

A good rule of thumb is one plant per 100 square feet of space. That usually means 1-2 plants in offices, bedrooms, and bathrooms. For larger spaces, consider adding 3-4 plants.

assorted house plants in pots

8 Indoor Plants that Clean the Air

There are a lot of amazing indoor plants that clean the air, but today I want to narrow it down to a few of the very best. These plants were listed in a NASA report about using indoor plants for air pollution abatement (cool, huh?).

Rubber Tree (ficus elastica)

rubber tree plant

Basics: The rubber tree is a large plant that produces tons of oxygen.

Toxins Filtered: mold, bacteria, formaldehyde, VOCs

Growing Tips: needs well-drained soil and lots of indirect sunlight.

Looks great when planted in: this chic ceramic pot with saucer.

Spider Plant (chlorophytum comosum)

spider plant on table

Basics: Spider plants remove chemicals from the air quickly. They’re also pet safe!

Toxins Filtered: carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde

Growing Tips: needs some indirect light and medium moisture.

Adorable when planted in: a whimsical planter shaped like a head.

Snake Plant (sansevieria trifasciata)

snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) in red pot

Basics: Snake plants have long, waxy leaves and are easy to keep alive.

Toxins Filtered: formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, allergens

Growing Tips: needs minimal water and indirect light.

Especially striking when planted in: a cylindrical matte black planter.

English Ivy (hedera helix variegata)

english ivy in hanging pot in front of window

Basics: English ivy is highly effective for filtering out toxins in the air. However, this is not a child or pet-friendly plant.

Toxins Filtered: mold, formaldehyde, allergens, benzene

Growing Tips: needs humidity and medium amounts of direct light.

Looks amazing in: this white speckled hanging planter.

bamboo palm in pot

Dragon Tree (dracaena marginata)

madagascar dragon tree in pot

Basics: Dracaena is known for producing lots of daytime oxygen. It also thrives with very little care.

Toxins Filtered: benzene, VOCs, xylene, formaldehyde

Growing Tips: tolerates low light and only needs weekly watering.

Show off its beauty in: a modern white ceramic planter with saucer.

Aloe Vera (aloe vera)

aloe vera plant in windowsill

Basics: Aloe vera is easy to grow and can be used for home remedies, too.

Toxins Filtered: carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde

Growing Tips: does best with lots of light and warmth. Mine is in the kitchen on top of the dishwasher.

Happiest when planted in: a wide, shallow terracotta pot.

Tree Philodendron (philodendron selloum)

philodendron in pot on table

Basics: The philodendron thrives with basic care and has large leaves that make it one of the most powerful air purifying house plants. However, this is not a good plant if you have kids or pets.

Toxins Filtered: formaldehyde

Growing Tips: needs indirect light and moderate water.

Charming when planted in: a stylish grey and white ceramic planter.

Bamboo Palm (chamaedorea seifrizii)

bamboo palm in terra cotta pot

Basics: The bamboo palm is leafy, large, and perfect for bathrooms. If it produces berries, discard them immediately--they are highly poisonous.

Toxins Filtered: ammonia, VOCs, formaldehyde, xylene

Growing Tips: tolerates low light, needs warmth and humidity.

Plant in: this simple glazed ceramic planter.

What Air Purifying House Plants Will You Try?

Have you tried any indoor plants that clean the air? Do you have any tips or questions? Share in the comments below!

dragon tree in pot

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Hi, I’m Pam! I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here, and please check out the resources in my Natural Living Shop!

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I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here! Learn more about me.

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