Breathe Easier in Your Home With These Air Purifying Houseplants

The amount of indoor air pollutants in the average home is astounding. From carpets and mattresses to cleaners and air fresheners, toxic vapors are everywhere. Lucky for us, there are a number of houseplants that double as air purifiers. They’ll sit on your shelf looking pretty while making your home safer and healthier.

First let’s go over the three most common toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that you’re likely to have in your home, then we’ll cover which magical air purifying houseplants will get rid of them.


Photo licensed via Creative Commons from Flickr user Genista


Formaldehyde is found in carpets, bedding, insulation, hair products, air fresheners, furniture, paint, and pressed wood, among many other common household items. It’s a known carcinogen and it releases gases at room temperature, making it a dangerous toxin in your home. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause allergy symptoms, nausea, chest tightness and, in large doses, cancer.

The best air purifying plants for clearing formaldehyde out of your home:

  • Aloe
  • English Ivy
  • Boston Fern
  • Snake Plant
  • Golden Pothos
  • Peace Lilly
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Spider Plant
  • Red-Edge Dracaena
  • Azalea
  • Rubber Plant
  • Areca Palm

Wax begonia

Photo sourced via creative commons from Flickr user Mel Sharlene


Benzene is commonly used in dyes, furniture wax, paint, detergents, plastics, rubber, adhesives and fibers. It’s also a known carcinogen and evaporates easily into the air. Benzene can cause respiratory conditions, including asthma.

The best air purifying plants to clear benzene out of the air:

  • Peace Lily
  • Snake Plant
  • Golden Pothos
  • Wax Begonia
  • Spider Plant
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Chinese Ever green
  • Areca Palm


This toxic industrial solvent is found in de-greasers, rug cleaners and adhesives. When it is inhaled, it depresses the nervous system and causes headaches, dizziness and confusion.

The best air purifying plants for clearing trichloroethylene out of your home:

  • Peace Lily
  • English Ivy
  • Snake plant
  • Red-Edge Dracaena
  • Chrysanthemum

There are some plants that stand out as clear winners for reducing air pollution. The NASA Clean Air Study has listed the following plants as having the ability to reduce the presence of all of the above VOCs as well as a few other pollutants such as carbon monoxide.

It’s recommended to have at least one of these plants for every 100 square feet of space in your home.

Our Top 4 choice air purifying houseplants for the home:

1. English Ivy

This beautiful houseplant is tolerant of full sun or shade, moist soil or drought, making it the perfect plant for every home. It’s listed by NASA as the number one best plant for cleaning indoor air.

English Ivy

Photo licensed via Creative Commons from Flickr user Aaron Gustafson

2. Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is extremely easy to grow and produces beautiful white flowers from summer until fall. They enjoy lower light, making them a great choice for those lacking a lot of windows. Peace Lilies are also known to reduce the amount of carbon monoxide in the home.

Photo licensed via Creative Commons from Flickr user BFree

3. Variegated Snake Plant

This succulent is also known as Mother in law’s tongue. The snake plant is an expert at reducing indoor air pollution, but is highly poisonous if eaten by children or pets. They’re great for the indoors as they tolerate light shade and infrequent watering.

snake plant

Photo licensed via Creative Commons from Flickr user woodleywonderworks

4. Red-Edge Dracaena

The Dracaena is relatively low-maintenance and will grow well indoors. This beautiful plant is great for indoor air management, but be sure to give it lots of space to grow.

Red Edged Dracaena

Photo Licensed via Creative Commons from Flickr user Blumenbiene

Strategically placing these beautiful air purifying houseplants around your home will decrease indoor air pollution, leaving you to live a healthier life.

You might also enjoy our 6 essential tips for healthy houseplants and our list of 10 low maintenance houseplants for black thumb gardeners.

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