plants that clean the air

10 Beautiful, and beneficial, House Plants that clean the air

How much time do you spend inside? If you’re like the average American, it’s around 80-90% of your time. That’s a lot of time spent breathing.

How clean is the air you’re breathing in, and is there any way to make it cleaner? Yep, plants.

Plants are awesome indoor air cleaners. In fact, NASA did a study some years back that showed some of the best. So, we’ve picked our top 10 house plants that clean the air. It’s time to bring a little nature indoors.

But first…

What are you breathing in?

What’s the big deal anyway? You vacuum and change your furnace filters, right? Well, there are still tons of invisible little molecules floating around. And you’re breathing ’em in. All.The.Time.

Some of the most common indoor pollutants are things like:

  • Benzene – found in detergents, pesticides, furniture wax, glue, synthetic fibres
  • Trichloroethylene – found in paint, varnish, printer ink
  • Formaldehyde – found in paper bags, tissue, paper towels, paper napkins, wax paper
  • Ammonia – found in floor wax, fertilizer, wind cleaner
  • Xylene – found in pesticides, varnish, paint thinner, cleaners

See? Big deal.

Research shows these pollutants can really do a number on your health. They can cause everything from allergies, eye irritation, and headaches, to nervous-system disorders, even cancer.

So, clear those bad boys out.

House Plants that Clean the Air

So, which plants are going to filter the air best? NASA’s study introduced us to a few, then others have been added to the list over the years. But we’re animal lovers here, and a few on the list, while great at clearing the air, are not so safe for your dog or cat. So, we went through that list and picked our top 10 that are ok for your pets, just to be super safe.

plants that clean the air

1. Gerber Daisy

One of the most recognizable plants on the list, the Gerber Daisy has bright, colored flowers. It’s good for filtering out trichloroethylene and benzene. Just make sure it gets lots of sunlight, has well-drained soil, and water it a few times a week.

2. Areca Palm

NASA’s top pick for air purification is the Areca palm. Not only does it filter xylene and formaldehyde out of the air, it also acts as a really powerful natural humidifier. Take good care of these plants; water them regularly and repot every few years to give them fresh soil. Keep in mind, these plants can grow quite large, so you probably won’t be able to keep them on a table or countertop for very long.

3. Boston Fern

Like the Areca palm, the Boston fern is effective for removing formaldehyde and xylene from your space. Be sure to keep it in a spot with high humidity and indirect sunlight. Make sure the soil stays nice and moist.

4. Spider Plants

Don’t let the name scare you; these lush green plants are lovely to look at. And as far as air purification, they pack a powerful punch against formaldehyde and xylene. They’re well known as easy-to-care-for plants. They need a little water, some indirect sunlight, and some well-drained soil.

5. Turf Lily

The Turf Lily is typically considered an outdoor plant, used mainly as edging in decorative gardens. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t thrive indoors – it does! It needs a little shade and water on a regular basis (it prefers somewhat dry soil). Give it some love and it’ll filter out trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia.

6. Bamboo Palm

The Bamboo palm is noted for it’s ability to get rid of benzene, formaldehyde, trichoethelyne, and xylene. Talk about a powerhouse! This tropical plant is one of the few that actually thrives without bright, all-day sun. Give it a little indirect light and it’s good. Like the Areca palm, the Bamboo plan actually grows quite large, so give it some space.

7. Broadleaf Lady Palm

Another grower here. Lady palms can thrive in any kind of light, from shade to full sunlight. They prefer soil that’s moist, but don’t overwater. They’re good for formaldehyde, xylene, and ammonia.

8. Dwarf Date Palm

The Dwarf Date palm, also known as the Pygmy Date palm, is formidable against both formaldehyde and xylene. Once mature, it looks a lot like a typical palm tree. These plants prefer moist, well-drained soil and indirect sunlight.

9. Money Tree

This little tree with the unique braided trunk is a popular housewarming gift, supposedly bringing luck and fortune to the owner. But it also brings powerful air purifying qualities. Keep this little tree to clear out  benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

10. Moth Orchids

Orchids are great at filtering out xylene. These beauties also bring a little color along with those air purifying qualities. Orchids don’t require a lot of work either, which is always a bonus.

Not-so-Pet-Friendly Air Purifying Plants

To be fair, not everyone is an animal person (what! – I know, right?), so here are some of the other house plants that clean the air, but are not so safe for pets:

  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Weeping Fig
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • English Ivy
  • Flamingo Lily
  • Peace Lily
  • Red-Edged Dracaena
  • Florist’s Chrysanthemum

Plants are actually the best natural air purifiers you can get. NASA recommends having at least one plant per 100 square feet of space, so grab any or all of these and breathe a little easier.