Purify Your Home’s Air Through Plants

4 min read
Purify Your Home's Air Through Plants

We don’t need to give you the hard sell on houseplants: They instantly add color, vibrancy, and a breath of fresh air to your space, no matter the size. As it turns out, these greens – ferns, palms, and ivy to name a few – also breathe a little life into you, too.

How Do Plants Purify Air?

How Do Plants Purify Air

Let’s take it back to science class: During photosynthesis, plants convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen and remove toxins from the air we breathe. NASA tested this theory in a landmark 1989 study when it examined how popular houseplants diffuse toxic chemicals including:

  • Formaldehyde, which can cause irritation to the nose, mouth, and throat.
  • Benzene, which can cause irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness, an increase in heart rate, headaches, and confusion.
  • Trichloroethylene, which can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

Through the study, NASA found several, no-fuss plants that filter out the bad stuff and easily grow indoors.

Choosing the right air purifying plants for your home can detoxify the air in your living spaces, meaning your houseplants not only look lovely but work a little harder to clean the air you breathe.

NASA’s Clean Air Study found that there are quite a few air-purifying plants that can detoxify your home from specific airborne toxins, dust, and germs that can be found in a variety of household products, materials, and furniture.

To give your home a healthy breath of fresh air, here’s our list of the best air-purifying plants and where to keep them.

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10. Barberton Daisy

Barberton Daisy

As well as injecting a cheerful burst of red, yellow, orange, or pink into your home, the Barberton daisy is an effective cleanser of the toxins formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene, found in a range of household materials from paints to synthetic fibers.

Care advice: Place the plant in a room with plenty of natural light and keep the soil moist but well-drained.

9. English Ivy

English Ivy

This easy-growing perennial vine is particularly effective at reducing airborne fecal particles which makes it the perfect air purifier for your bathroom or en suite. In addition, studies have shown that the ivy can also help combat mold levels in the home.

Care advice: Provide your English ivy with generous watering and four hours of direct sunlight a day, and it will return the love to you with clean, detoxified air.

8. Snake Plant (aka Mother-In-Law’s Tongue)

Snake Plant Aka Mother In Law's Tongue

With this plant in your bedroom, you’re in for a great night’s sleep. Also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, this yellow-tipped succulent releases oxygen at night, helping you to breathe better while sleeping. It is one of the best plants for filtering the air of formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene.

Care advice: Be mindful not to overwater, as the roots are prone to rot in moist soil.

7. Chrysanthemum 


Brighten up your kitchen or living room with a chrysanthemum. These pretty blooms help to filter out a host of toxins including ammonia and benzene, which are often found in plastics, detergents, and glue.

Care advice: This plant loves sunlight, so place it in a spot near a sunbathed window.

6. Spider Plant

Spider Plant

For those of you who are houseplant newbies, the resilient spider plant is a perfect choice. It will quietly battle toxins including carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the printing and rubber industries. If you have pets, this is one of the few houseplants that are non-toxic to animals.

Care advice: You can also re-pot the tiny ‘spiderettes’ and grow a whole family of plants that will pretty much take care of themselves, and you.

5. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

A healing aloe plant is a lovely addition to your kitchen windowsill, as it loves a sunny spot. While being on hand to soothe any kitchen burns, this succulent will purify the air of formaldehyde and benzene, found in varnishes, floor finishes, and detergents.

Care advice: This plant will thrive in a sunny location.

4. Broad Lady Palm

Broad Lady Palm

This is one of the few plants that can help reduce levels of ammonia that can be found in a range of cleaning products. They are expensive to buy fully-grown so you might want to shop around for a smaller one or start from seed.

Care advice: Humidity-loving, this plant will be very happy in your bathroom.

3. Red-Edged Dracaena or Dragon Tree

Red Edged Dracaena Or Dragon Plant

Trichloroethylene and xylene are amongst the pollutants fought by this spiky, slow-growing plant. The leaves have a bright red trim which adds a flash of color to your home.

Care advice: This plant has the potential to grow to 8ft, so keep it in a room with high ceilings and reasonable sunlight.

2. Weeping Fig

Weeping Fig

Popular houseplants since the Victorian times, weeping figs can help to tackle levels of formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.

Care advice: They are fussy plants that don’t like change. Keep your weeping fig in bright, indirect light away from drafts, and it will be a trusty purifier for many years to come.

1. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen

This tropical plant is proven to be an effective cleanser of formaldehyde and benzene, found in detergents and cosmetics.

Care advice: The Chinese evergreen enjoys low-lit and humid conditions, so it will thrive in your bathroom. If you choose to keep the plant somewhere else, remember to mist the leaves occasionally to prevent browning.