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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
- Natural Cold Remedies That Actually Work
- Can Reusable Food Wrap Really Replace Plastic Wrap?
- How to Make Homemade Natural Dyes
- How to Make Natural Face Paint
Monday 7th of September 2020
House plants don't improve air quality.