Skip to Content

Best Indoor Houseplants for Clean Air

Feel free to share

Best Indoor Houseplants for Clean Air

The EPA has ranked indoor air pollutants as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. When you consider how much time we spend inside, it’s easy to see why.

While we think of our homes as safe spaces, they can have harmful contaminants lurking in the air that we can’t see or smell.

These contaminants can cause immediate issues that include dizziness, headaches, nausea, and ear, eye, nose, and throat irritation. Even worse, some are known to cause long-term problems, such as cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and kidney failure.

So what can we do to clean the air in our homes?

Fortunately, there’s one simple answer: houseplants. When NASA scientists were doing a study to see how to clean the air in the space station, they learned that simple houseplants do an amazingly effective job at filtering out a variety of harmful air contaminants.

Houseplants sitting in window

Even better, studies have shown that having houseplants can make you feel happier, increase creativity, help maintain humidity levels, and process carbon dioxide into oxygen. If you’re interested in making your home a safer and cleaner place, consider introducing some of these best indoor houseplants for clean air.

Also, if you have pets in your home, make sure you check out our post on the best pet-friendly houseplants to purify your home’s air. Here you’ll find a list of beautiful and non-toxic houseplants.

1. Spider Plant

Spider Plant

Removes: Formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene

Prefers: Bright but indirect sunlight, well-drained soil, and a chance to dry out between watering

The spider plant is incredibly easy to grow, which makes it one of the best houseplants for clean air and for owners who tend to forget they even have plants in the house. Plus, spider plants send out shoots that eventually sprout baby spider plants, so you can continually grow new plants if you want to.

Related: The Best Plants That Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

2. English Ivy

English Ivy

Removes: Trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene

Prefers: Moist soil with at least four hours of direct sunlight each day

English ivy is a classic plant that grows quickly. Consider hanging a basket in the corner of your room and letting the ivy tumble out.

It’s important to keep in mind that English ivy is toxic to cats and dogs. Also, in some places it’s considered an invasive species, and you’re not allowed to buy it or sell it.

Related: How to Naturally Get Rid of Spiders in Your Home

3. Dracaena


Removes: Benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene

Prefers: Moist but not soggy soil and bright but filtered sunlight

There are over 40 varieties of dracaena plants around the world, so it’s easy to find one for your home. Some, such as the dragon tree, have leaf colors that range from purple to green, which makes them great for adding color to a room.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that dracaena plants are toxic to cats and dogs.

4. Peace Lily

Peace Lily

Removes: Trichloroethylene, ammonia, xylene, formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide

Prefers: Shade and moist soil

The peace lily is one of the best indoor houseplants for clean air because it filters so many air contaminants and it’s easy to care for. If you see the leaves start to droop, you know it needs some water.

Keep in mind that when it flowers, it will shed pollen. If you suffer from allergies, you might want to keep it outside until it’s done blooming. Also, the peace lily is mildly toxic to pets and humans, so you want to wash your hands after handling it.

5. Snake Plant

Snake Plant

Removes: Formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene

Prefers: Some sun and drier soil

Not only is the snake plant (sometimes also called the mother-in-law’s tongue) one of the best indoor houseplants for clean air, but it’s also great for beginners because it’s incredibly hardy. It can survive in a variety of light conditions and temperatures, and it doesn’t require frequent watering.

The snake plant is also an excellent houseplant to have in the bedroom because it releases oxygen at night.

Related: Easy Ways to Create an Eco-Friendly Bedroom

6. Ficus


Removes: Trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde

Prefers: Bright but indirect sunlight and a chance to dry out between watering

The ficus is a hardy plant that’s a relative of the fig tree. Keep in mind that ficus can grow quickly and reach up to 10 feet tall, so you need to keep your ceiling height in mind when deciding where to put your plant.

7. Boston Fern

Bosten Fern

Removes: Formaldehyde and xylene

Prefers: Indirect sunlight, high humidity, and moist soil

While the Boston fern is relatively easy to grow, it’s a little picky about its environment. It enjoys a cool location and moist soil. You should check its soil every day to make sure it doesn’t get too dry, and give it a thorough soak once a month.

8. Bamboo Palm

Bamboo Palm

Removes: Benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde

Prefers: Can handle low light but thrives in full sun, water when soil feels dry

The bamboo palm is is one of the best indoor houseplants for clean air because it grows so tall it can filter plenty of air. In fact, you need to think carefully about where you place your bamboo palm because it can grow up to 12 feet in height.

9. Garden Mum

Garden mum

Removes: Ammonia, trichloroethylene, benzene, xylene, and formaldehyde

Prefers: Full sun and moist soil

We see them all the time at garden centers and probably don’t pay much attention to them. However, the garden mum, also known as florist’s chrysanthemums, is an air-purifying champion in the NASA study.

It filters a number of different air contaminants, yet it’s inexpensive and available at almost all garden stores.

10. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Removes: Formaldehyde

Prefers: Bright sunlight and a chance to dry out between watering

Not only should you consider having an aloe vera plant around your house for its air-purifying abilities, but you should also think about having one for its medicinal benefits.

The plant’s leaves contain a clear gel full of amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes known to have antibacterial, wound-healing, and anti-inflammatory properties that you can use to make your own aloe vera gel at home.

However, it’s important to note that aloe vera is toxic to pets.

More Eco-Friendly Living Tips

Now that you have these best indoor houseplants for clean air in your home, are you looking for even more ways to live a more eco-friendly life? Check out some of our other popular posts:

Spider plant with text overlay 10 Incredible Houseplants for Clean Air in Your Home

Houseplants in front of window with text overlay 10 Air-Purifying Houseplants Even You Can Keep Alive

Collage of houseplants with text overlay 10 Impossible-to-Kill Houseplants That Clean the Air in Your Home

Houseplants in window text overlay Hard-to-Kill Houseplants to Clean the Air in Your Home

Timothy Mercer

Monday 7th of September 2020

House plants don't improve air quality.

Comments are closed.