Top 20 Air Purifying Houseplants: NASA Helps Clear The Air

I’m going to share with you some amazing air-purifying houseplants that will make your home healthier and happier. Did you know that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, depending on where you live? That’s right, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air can contain harmful pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide, and more. These are known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, and can come from various sources, such as furniture, carpets, paints, and cleaning products! Ew!

Luckily, nature has a solution for us: plants! Plants are natural air purifiers that can remove these VOCs from the air and produce oxygen. In fact, a famous study by NASA found that some plants can eliminate up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in 24 hours. That’s impressive! But not all plants are created equal when it comes to air purification. Some plants are more effective than others at filtering out specific pollutants. So, how do you know which plants to choose for your home? 

Well, I’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of top air purifying houseplants that clean the air the best. These plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance, and beautiful to look at. Plus, they have other benefits such as improving humidity, reducing stress, and boosting your mood. Let’s take a look at them!

Bamboo Palm: Tall Oxygen-Producing Companion

Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) is a tropical plant that can grow up to 12 feet tall indoors. It has graceful fronds that add a touch of greenery to any room. Bamboo palm is especially good at removing formaldehyde and xylene from the air. Formaldehyde is a common pollutant found in plywood, particleboard, and fabrics. Xylene is a solvent used in paints and varnishes. Bamboo palms can also help improve the air quality by increasing the humidity level. 

To care for bamboo palm, place it in a bright spot with indirect light. Water it regularly but don’t let the soil get soggy. You can also mist the leaves occasionally to keep them moist and dust-free for optimal air-purifying performance.

Money Tree Bonsai: The Lucky Air Purifier

Money Bonsai to purify your home.

Cherished for its braided trunk and glossy, vibrant leaves, the Money Tree Bonsai is more than just a symbol of good luck. This attractive plant has air-purifying properties that can enhance the quality of your indoor air.

Though it’s not a part of NASA’s official list, making many experts are undecided as to whether this should be on the list. However, one scientific case study of a building in New Delhi demonstrated that an abundance of these plants resulted in measurably cleaner indoor air. It’s actually pretty fascinating and compelling and may prove that this particular bonsai tree is an incredible air purifier. The study says that the Money Tree “is a very common plant; preferably grows in hydroponics. And this particular plant removes formaldehyde and other volatile chemicals.” 

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Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant): The Ideal Bedroom Plant

Snake plant in your home to purify air.

Mother-in-law’s tongue is also known as a snake plant because of its long upright leaves with yellow edges. It has a striking appearance that adds interest to any space. Mother-in-law’s tongue removes formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene from the air. It also releases oxygen at night, which can improve your breathing and sleep quality. This unique attribute makes them a great addition to bedrooms, ensuring you sleep soundly surrounded by clean, oxygen-rich air. Plus, I love the look of them and actually use them for décor as well in my daughter’s and my bedrooms

To care for the mother-in-law’s tongue, place it in a bright spot with indirect light. Water it sparingly and let the soil dry out between waterings. You can also divide the plant and propagate it by leaf cuttings.

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Golden Pothos (Devil’s Ivy): The Air Cleaning Climber

devils ivy plant

Don’t let the name mislead you – Devil’s Ivy (epipremnum aureum )is truly angelic when it comes to air purification. Devil’s Ivy has been recognized in NASA’s Clean Air Study for its capacity to filter out several toxins, including benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. In addition to these, it can help combat carbon monoxide, contributing to a safer indoor environment. 

This is a great hanging plant that will grow like gangbusters when given the right light and water. You can do some really cool things with it since it acts like almost any other vine and grows along whatever surface it can find. Known for its vibrant, heart-shaped leaves, this plant definitely stands out in terms of its air-cleaning abilities.

Side note: Golden Pothos also works well in filters for aquariums.

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Weeping Fig: No More Weeping From Irritation

Weeping fig houseplant purify air

Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) is a type of ficus tree that has glossy green leaves and graceful branches that droop down. Weeping fig is superb at increasing indoor air quality. One of my favorite plants on the list due to its bushiness and compactness, it’s great if you need some natural decorations in your home. With so many leaves you really do get a sense that it’s cleaning the air around you.

To care for a weeping fig, place it in a bright spot with indirect light. Water it when the top inch of soil feels dry but don’t overwater it or underwater it. You can also repot the plant every few years to refresh the soil and roots.

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Peace Lily: Peaceful Air Purifying Houseplants

peace lily houseplant for your home to purify air

The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a flowering plant that produces white flowers that resemble calla lilies. It has dark green leaves that contrast nicely with the flowers. It’s one of the most effective plants at removing all kinds of pollutants from the air, including formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, ammonia, xylene, and toluene. Ammonia is a pungent gas found in fertilizers and cleaners. Toluene is another solvent used in paints and glues. Peace lily may be healthy for the air, but you’ll need to keep it out of the way of children and animals as it can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.

To care for a peace lily, place it in a bright spot with indirect light. Water it when the soil feels dry but don’t let it wilt. You can also mist the leaves regularly to keep them humid and shiny. 

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Cornstalk Dracaena: The Robust Air Cleaner

cornstalk dracaena for your houseplants

If you’re into tall plants then this one is a good one for you. Cornstalk Dracaena holds a noteworthy spot among the best air-purifying houseplants. It’s not only an attractive addition to your indoor space but also a diligent cleaner of your home’s air.

What makes Cornstalk Dracaena particularly appealing is its tolerance for lower light conditions and its ability to withstand periods of neglect. This makes it an ideal choice for those new to houseplants or anyone with a busy lifestyle. However, keep in mind that they prefer a semi-shaded spot and don’t appreciate overwatering.

If you’re lucky, you can find a pot with multiple plants of varying sizes. This adds a new dimension to any room but I’m not sure if eventually all of the plants catch put to each other in size.

Incorporating a Cornstalk Dracaena into your home isn’t just a choice of aesthetics. It’s a step towards a cleaner, healthier living environment. With its toxin-absorbing capabilities and striking appearance, this plant can indeed be a game-changer for your indoor air quality.

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Areca Palm: A Breath of Fresh Air

Areca Palms are known for their lush leaves and air-purifying qualities. They are particularly adept at absorbing not only carbon dioxide but many other harmful irritants as well, making them a refreshing presence in any home. 

Heartleaf Philodendron: Heart-Shaped Air Healer

Heart Leaf Philodendron for home

Another beautiful hanging plant, the Heartleaf Philodendron gets its name from the heart-shaped leaves.

Recognized in NASA’s Clean Air Study, the Heartleaf Philodendron has shown proficiency in filtering out formaldehyde, a common toxin found in many household items, from particleboard furniture to certain types of insulations. This makes it a beneficial addition to homes or offices where air quality may be compromised due to off-gassing materials.

Beyond its air-cleaning abilities, it’s fairly easy to care for as long as you give a decent light source, and don’t forget that plants need water every once in a while.

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Rubber Plants: The Hardy Toxin Busters

Rubber Plants (Ficus elastica) combat indoor toxins, thus securing their spot on NASA’s list of air-purifying plants. Rubber plants are tough houseplants, tolerating dim light, cooler temperatures, and infrequent watering. 

To care for rubber plants, place them in a bright spot with indirect light. Water it when the top inch of the soil feels dry. You can also prune the plant to control its size and shape because it can get quite large.

Dumb Cane: The Air-Cleaning Giant

dumb cane plant

Don’t be fooled by the name “Dumb Cane.” This plant is anything but ordinary. With its lush, variegated foliage, it adds a splash of green to any indoor setting, all while silently battling indoor air pollutants. This is a plant that gets pretty big and bushy, especially when you consider the size of the leaves.  

The Dumb Cane, recognized in NASA’s Clean Air Study, has been found to be effective in removing several common indoor toxins. It works diligently to filter out pollutants like benzene and xylene, contributing to a cleaner and healthier indoor environment.

Dumb Canes are relatively easy to grow, making them a popular choice among houseplant enthusiasts. They enjoy bright, indirect light and prefer their soil to dry out a bit between waterings. However, it’s important to note that these plants are toxic if ingested, so they should be kept out of reach by pets and children.

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Chinese Evergreen: Nature’s Air Filter

Aglaonema houseplant

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is one of the most popular air-filtering houseplants because of its adaptability and beauty. It has glossy green leaves with silver or red markings that vary depending on the variety. Chinese evergreen is excellent at removing benzene and formaldehyde from the air. Benzene is a carcinogen found in gasoline, tobacco smoke, and plastics. Formaldehyde is also a carcinogen that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. 

To care for Chinese evergreen, place it in a low to medium light spot. Water it when the top inch of the soil feels dry. You can also wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and pests.

If you want to propagate this plant then you just have to take the offshoots and plant them elsewhere. Buy one plant and in a year you’ll have 15 natural air filters around your house.

That’s a pretty good deal.

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Flamingo Lily: The Flamboyant Air Purifier

The Flamingo Lily (Anthurium andraeanum), with its vibrant, heart-shaped blooms and glossy foliage, is a show-stopping addition to any indoor garden. But it’s not just a pretty face – this flamboyant plant is also a strong contender in the world of air-purifying houseplants.

The Flamingo Lily is known for its ability to remove common indoor pollutants from the air. These common indoor pollutants, often found in household cleaners and synthetic materials, are efficiently absorbed by the plant, thereby improving your home’s air quality.

While the Flamingo Lily is undoubtedly attractive and beneficial, it does require a bit more care than some other houseplants. It thrives in warm, high-humidity conditions, prefers bright, indirect light, and requires consistent watering. Its blooms can last for several weeks, adding a splash of color and tropical flair to your indoor space.

Spider Plant: The Beginners’ Best Friend

spider plant in a terracotta pot, air purifying houseplants

For those new to the world of indoor gardening, the Spider Plant is an excellent place to start. This low-maintenance plant is renowned for its ability to combat pollutants in your home. Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are fast-growing plants that produce long slender leaves and small white flowers. It also produces baby plants or “spiderettes” that hang down like spiders on a web. It’s also one of the more colorful houseplants with a cool white strip going down the middle of each leaf.

To care for the spider plant, place it in a bright spot with indirect light. Water it regularly but don’t overwater it. You can also propagate the spiderettes by planting them in soil or water.

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English Ivy: The Elegant Air Purifier

English ivy for air purification

English Ivy (Hedera helix), with its cascading vines and charming leaves, is an iconic plant that’s as beneficial as it is beautiful. The smallest plant on the list serves as a great desk ornament. It might not look like it can do a lot of work but it does a great job of removing benzene from the air.

According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, English Ivy is highly effective at purifying indoor air. It’s particularly proficient at reducing airborne particles of fecal matter and mold spores.

Besides its air-cleaning abilities, English Ivy is also admired for its adaptability. It can flourish in both bright and low light conditions, and it’s relatively forgiving when it comes to watering. However, to see it thrive, provide it with plenty of indirect sunlight and keep its soil evenly moist. A cooler environment is ideal for this plant, and it prefers a bit of humidity, making it a good choice for bathroom decor. 

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Lady Palm: First Lady Of Clean Air

The Lady Palm, with its fan-like fronds and elegant form, adds a tropical vibe to your indoor spaces. But this plant isn’t just about a vibe; it also packs a punch when it comes to air purification.

Lady Palm is known to efficiently filter out a range of indoor air pollutants, including ammonia. These toxins, often found in household products and materials, can compromise your indoor air quality, making the Lady Palm an excellent addition to your plant family.

Lady Palms are relatively easy to care for. They prefer more direct sunlight but can adapt to lower light conditions. They are also tolerant of different watering schedules, though it’s best to let their soil dry out a bit between waterings.

Boston Fern: The Humidity Enhancer

Boston fern air purification

Famed for their feathery, green fronds, Boston Ferns not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home but also work hard to remove allergens. The Boston Fern does a great job of removing formaldehyde from the air. In fact, it does it better than any other plant on the list. I guess you can say formaldehyde is it’s Sour Patch Kids. Put those in front of me and I’ll remove them better than anyone in the room.

This plant also acts as a great humidifier.

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Barberton Daisy: AKA Gerbera Daisy

The Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) brings a dash of color, from yellow to red, to your indoor space with its vibrant and large blooming flowers. However, its appeal is not just skin-deep. This bright and cheery plant is also an effective weapon against indoor air pollution.

The Barberton Daisy is celebrated for its ability to filter out toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. These are common toxins found in a variety of household materials and products, from synthetic fibers and rubber to certain types of inks and adhesives.

Caring for gerbera daisies requires a bit more attention compared to some other houseplants. They prefer plenty of bright, indirect light and require regular watering to keep their soil consistently moist. In return for this care, they will reward you with their beautiful blooms and cleaner air.

Aloe Vera: Jack of All Trades

Most of us know Aloe Vera as the go-to plant for sunburns and skin irritations. But did you know it also purifies your air? A worthy addition to your home’s botanical collection.

Caring for Aloe Vera is relatively straightforward. These succulents require minimal watering (every 2-3 weeks) and love sunny locations. But be careful not to overwater them, as this can lead to root rot.

What plant removes 78% of airborne mold?

The English Ivy is a plant known for its ability to significantly reduce airborne mold levels in indoor environments. In fact, a study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that it could remove up to 78% of airborne mold spores in just 12 hours. This means its air-purifying abilities may be beneficial for people suffering from allergies or asthma. 

While houseplants like the English Ivy can help in reducing mold levels, they should not be the primary method of mold control. If you have a serious problem though, it’s important to address the root causes, such as leaks, humidity, and lack of ventilation, and if necessary, consult with a professional.

Which indoor plant purifies the air the most?

The Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) stands out as one of the most effective indoor plants for air purification.

Can plants purify air?

In conclusion, yes, plants can purify air. By removing harmful toxins and pumping out fresh oxygen, these plants contribute significantly to healthier indoor environments. But, it’s always good to mention that while houseplants can contribute to indoor air quality, they alone are not sufficient to drastically improve air quality in a typical home. Proper ventilation, maintaining a clean environment, and using air filters if necessary are all important in ensuring good indoor air quality.

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