It’s no secret I love houseplants. One of the million reasons I love them is because many of them have the ability to clean the air of toxins!
In the 1980s, NASA researched houseplants and their abilities to clean the air of “VOCs” Volatile organic compounds. The studies showed that yes, plants can purify the air, but it needs to be a sealed environment. According to the scientists, you would need between 100 to 1,000 plants for every 10 square feet to make a measurable difference in fighting indoor air pollution.
When I found out about the NASA Clean Air Study, I researched specific air-purifying houseplants and bought several of them. My favorites right now are the Snake Plant and the Spider Plant.
These are some of my favorite houseplants that clean air in your apartment, home, office, or anywhere!
Pictured below is my Spider Plant. I recently re-potted him into a hanging planter, and I am debating whether to put him in the sunroom, our bedroom, or the bathroom. Did you know that Spider Plants have the ability to clean the air??
Air filtering systems are so expensive, and I’ll fully admit we have several, but isn’t it great that just adding more plants to your house can help you breathe even easier?
My Favorite Air Purifying Houseplants
English Ivy in your house is great for reducing airborne particles. They are great houseplants for your bathroom because they need a lot of water and enjoy humidity. English Ivy is native to the woods to thrive in bright (but filtered lighting) or consistent low-light. Ivy does not like temperature changes and will need occasional pruning. Contrary to popular belief, ivy is not easy to take care of because they do not like temperature changes, need occasional pruning, regular misting, and repotting every 2 years.
These plants have the color variations of a snake and are also known as “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.” They are perfect plants for the bedroom because they are low-maintenance and give off oxygen, making it easier to breathe at night. Snake Plants are incredible air filters and remove formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air. They are easy to take care of – seriously; they are nearly indestructible. If you are a serial houseplant killer, I highly recommend getting Snake Plant! (I also recommend you check out my #stopkillinghouseplants posts)
Spider plants are non-toxic to animals and great for reducing toxins in your home or office. They love humidity, so they thrive in bathrooms. If you are noticing the leaves’ ends turning brown, give it a tad more water or move it to a location with higher humidity (such as the above-mentioned bathroom). Another reason the leaves’ tips are turning brown is that there may be too much fluoride in your tap water; trim off the brown tips and switch to distilled water.
Aloe Vera is another great houseplant for purifying the air. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Like other succulents, Aloe needs well-draining soil, lots of sunlight, and time to rest during the winter.
The Madagascar Dragon Tree is another excellent option for purifying because it reduces benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air in your office, home, or apartment. These spiky-looking, beautiful plants will grow slowly but can get up to 6ft tall. They should be kept in a room with a tall ceiling and a reasonable amount of sunlight; I have mine in our gym.
The older leaves will start dying and peeling off at the base – do not worry, this is how it sheds leaves for new growth.
This plant is toxic to animals. Cats love to nibble on them because the leaves are so narrow it resembles grass.
Another option you have for air-purifying houseplants is the Chinese Evergreen. These green varieties are great plants for beginners because they can thrive in low-light.
The varieties with white or pale yellow markings will need more light. You can mist the leaves regularly, so you can prevent them from turning brown.
Once again, the bathroom is a great location for these plants because they love humidity. I personally think they look awesome in hanging planters.
Gerbera Daisies are great plants for cleaning toxins such as Benzene from the air. Breathing in Benzene has been linked with leukemia. The chemical can enter your home from vehicle exhaust or fumes from glues, solvents, paints, and art supplies. They are beautiful and come in a variety of colors.
They love lots of light and should be placed on a windowsill. The soil should be kept moist but drained well at the same time because they can easily get root-rot if overwatered.