15 Of The Best Indoor Plants To Clean Air

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There are 15 of the best indoor plants to clean air in this list along with a chart breaking down what each plant can filter out.

Indoor air pollution has become more of a problem as homes become more and more energy-efficient. Making homes and buildings as airtight as possible will keep cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter from seeping out, but it will also keep all the pollutants in as well. Fortunately, one of the best ways to remedy this is also the cheapest – using indoor plants.

These pollutants consist allergens and a variety of chemicals known as VOC’s. VOC’s are found in everything from cleaning products, paints and glues to mattresses, furniture and shower curtains.

These chemicals enter the home environment through a process called off-gassing, in which the VOC’s are released slowly over a long period of time.

Although some VOC’s can be avoided by buying earth friendly products others are inherent in the home; such as building materials.

What can You Do?

Well first of all open those windows and let the fresh air in for a few minutes each day. According to the EPA the air inside the home is 2 to 5 times more contaminated than the outside.

Buying green products is always a great choice, but of course that can get expensive. You can also buy used furniture pieces, some of my favorites are thrift store finds.

  • Get some indoor plants
  • Or you could do both

NASA did a study on air quality inside the space station and the air cleaning capabilities of certain plants. They found that certain plants were capable removing common VOC’s such as formaldehyde (a known human carcinogen), benzene (carcinogen) and trichloroethylene (toxin and probable carcinogen). The lead researcher of the study came up with a list of 50 air purifying plants.

In his book How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office he shows exactly which plants remove which chemicals, where to place them, what time of day they clean the air and how to care for each individual plant.

Nasa recommends using 15-18 plants in a 1,800 sq foot house or 1 plant per 100 sq feet. They should be spread out over the house. And since not every plant removes every chemical, they should be spread evenly according to the chemicals they clean.

Table Of Toxins and Plants to Counteract

BenzeneGasoline
Inks
Oils
Paints
Plastics
Rubber
Dyes
Tobacco Smoke
Synthetic Fibers
Detergents
Pharmaceuticals
African Daisy
Chrysanthemum
Bamboo Palm
Corn Plant
Dracaena Janet Craig
Dracaena warneckii
Dragon Plant
English Ivy
Gerbera Daisy
Marginata
Peace Lily
Snake Plant
Spathiphyllum
FormaldehydeTobacco Smoke
Plywood
Foam Insulation
Room Deodorizers
Waxed Paper
Facial Tissues
Paper Towels
Permanent Press
Fabrics
Fiberboard
Azalea
Aloe Vera
Bamboo Palm
Boston ferns
Corn Plant
Chinese evergreen
Chrysanthemum
Date Palm
Dieffenbachia
Golden Pothos
Mini-Schefflera
Peace lily
Peperomia
Mother-in-law’s tongue
Philodendron (Heart-leaf, Lacy tree, or Elephant ear)
Poinsettia
Snake Plant
Spider Plant
TrichloroethyleneInks
Paints
Lacquers
Varnishes
Adhesives
Dry Cleaning
Chrysanthemum
Dracaena warneckii
Dragon Plant
English Ivy
Gerbera Daisy
Marginata
Parlor Palms
Peace Lily
Pothos

Best Indoor Plants To Clean Air

Each plant was chosen according to how well they remove toxins, resistance to pests and how easy they are to maintain.

1. Areca Palm

Areca Palm in white pot next to window with a white wall in the background
Areca Palm in white pot next to window with a white wall in the background

Toxins: Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Trichloroethylene

Areca Palm removes the toxins mentioned above such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. It also adds moisture to the air, making it a great choice for dry indoor environments.

2. Lady Palm

Close up of a Lady Palm
Close up of a Lady Palm

Toxins: Ammonia, Formaldehyde

Lady Palm is a slow-growing plant that is great for removing pollutants such as ammonia and formaldehyde from the air. It is also very low maintenance, making it an easy plant to care for.

3. Bamboo Palm

Bamboo Palm in steel bucket sitting on the kitchen table next to a water can
Bamboo Palm in steel bucket sitting on the kitchen table next to a water can

Toxins: Benzene, Formaldehyde

This plant is known for its ability to remove pollutants such as benzene and Formaldehyde from the air. It is also a great plant for adding moisture to the air, making it a good choice for dry indoor environments.

4. Rubber Plant (leaves are toxic to animals)

Burgundy Ficus Rubber plant in a whicher basket with leather handles
Burgundy Ficus Rubber plant in a whicher basket with leather handles

Toxins: Formaldehyde

Although the leaves of this plant are toxic to animals, it is a great choice for removing pollutants such as formaldehyde from the air. It is also a very hardy plant that is easy to care for.

5. Janet Craig Dracaena

Janet Craig Dracaena plants
Janet Craig Dracaena plants

Toxins: Benzene

This plant is great for removing pollutants such as Benzene from the air. It is also very low maintenance, making it a great plant for those who are new to indoor gardening.

6. English Ivy

English Ivy in a planter on the banister of a deck
English Ivy in a planter on the banister of a deck

Toxins: Benzene and Trichloroethylene

English Ivy is known for its ability to remove pollutants such as Benzene and Trichloroethylene from the air. It is also a very hardy plant that is easy to care for and can be trained to climb walls or trellises.

7. Dwarf Date Palm

Dwarf Date Palm on a sandy beach
Dwarf Date Palm on a sandy beach

Toxins: Formaldehyde, Xylene

This plant is great for removing pollutants such as formaldehyde and xylene from the air. It is also a very attractive plant that can add a tropical feel to any indoor space.

8. Ficus Alii

Leaf of a Fikus ali plant
Leaf of a Fikus ali plant

Toxins: Formaldehyde

This plant is known for its ability to remove pollutants such as formaldehyde from the air. It is also a very attractive plant that can add a touch of elegance to any indoor space.

9. Boston Fern

Boston Fern on a white background in a steel bucket
Boston Fern on a white background in a steel bucket

Toxins: Formaldehyde

This plant is great for removing pollutants such as formaldehyde and xylene from the air. It is also a very effective plant for adding moisture to the air, making it a good choice for dry indoor environments.

10. Peace Lily

Close up of a single Peace Lily flower
Close up of a single Peace Lily flower

Toxins: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Trichloroethylene

This plant is known for its ability to remove pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. It is also a very attractive plant that can add a touch of elegance to any indoor space.

11. Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisies in the garden
Gerbera Daisies in the garden

Toxins: Benzene, Trichloroethylenefrom

This plant is great for removing pollutants such as benzene and trichloroethylenefrom the air. It is also a very attractive plant that can add a pop of color to any indoor space.

12. Dracaena Warneckii

Dracaena Warneckii Close up
Dracaena Warneckii Close up

Toxins: Benzene, Trichloroethylene

This plant is known for its ability to remove pollutants such as benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. It is also a very hardy plant that is easy to care for.

13. Dracaena Marginata

Top of a Dracaena Marginata plant
Top of a Dracaena Marginata plant

Toxins: Benzene, Trichloroethylene

This plant is great for removing pollutants such as benzene and trichloroethylene from the air. It is also a very attractive plant with tall, slender leaves.

14. Pot Mum

Potted mums sitting on a wooden deck
Potted mums sitting on a wooden deck

Toxins: Ammonia, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Xylene

This plant is great for removing pollutants such as ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air. It is also a very colorful plant that can add a pop of color to any indoor space and makes a great companion plant for many fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Common questions about purifying plants

Which indoor plant purifies the air the most?

Close up of green boston fern leaves

There are several options, but our top 3 picks based on simplicity and beauty are the Peace lily, Boston ferns, and Mums.

Which indoor plant produces the most oxygen?

Areca Palm in a whicker basket with a green wall in the background

All green plants produce oxygen through the process of photosynthesis, but some indoor plants produce more oxygen than others. The Areca Palm is specifically known to produce large amounts of oxygen.

What plant removes 78% of airborne mold?

Peace lily sitting on table with green tile mosaic behind it

According to a study conducted by NASA, the plant that was found to be most effective at removing airborne mold was the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)

Wrapping up

That wraps up our list of the best indoor plants to clean air. As you can see, you have plenty of plants to choose from. The best way to narrow down your choices is by; local availability, what chemicals you are most concerned about and which plants fit into your decor. Just remember to scatter your indoor plants evenly throughout your home for best results.

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