Houseplants that can Improve Indoor Air Quality

NASA began studying houseplants in the late 1980s, as a means of providing purer and cleaner air for space stations. Many different houseplants, they learned, can help to purify the air. These plants filter out certain harmful compounds and make the air much healthier to breathe. They are easily obtained and can be added to your home to provide yourself and your family with air that is much purer and free from harmful agents.

Below is a list of the 10 best houseplants to improve your indoor air quality. Most of these plants are commonly found at your local florist, nursery, or home improvement store. Purchase one or several and enjoy the health benefits that they offer. The plants will filter out harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene and provide you with oxygen at the same time. Do be aware certain houseplants are toxic to pets, so do your research to keep them safe.


Chrysanthemums are beautiful flowers that you can commonly find at most nurseries or floral shops, especially in the autumn. The colors alone make them a wonderful choice for a houseplant, but they offer great benefits to your air quality as well. Chrysanthemums can help to filter out benzene, a chemical that is very commonly found in many household detergents as well as paints, plastics, and some glue products. They prefer direct sunlight and work well as hanging plants near windows. They also repel roaches, ants, Japanese beetles, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, spider mites, harlequin bugs, and root-knot nematodes. The substance in chrysanthemums that makes them so effective as an insect-repelling companion plant is pyrethrum.

Spider Plant

A commonly found houseplant is the spider plant but also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy, ribbon plant, and is one that is really easy to grow. The leaves grow quickly and help to absorb harmful substances like mold and other allergens, so it is the perfect plant for those who have common dust allergies. Within just two days, this plant can remove up to 90 percent of the toxins in your indoor air. It also helps to absorb small traces of formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.


Aloe Vera

Many people have Aloe Vera in their homes because of its healing ability. The gel inside the leaves is excellent for helping to heal burns and cuts. Aloe Vera is also a great plant to improve your indoor air quality. It is easy to grow, hard to kill, and it helps to keep your home’s air clean and fresh.



English Ivy

The English Ivy, also known as California or sweetheart ivy, is good for those who have pets in the home as it can reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter—but can be toxic to dogs and cats if eaten. It can also absorb formaldehyde which is commonly found in some household cleaning products and furniture or carpeting treatments. Studies show that keeping an English Ivy plant on your desk will help to give you better focus because it can also absorb trace amounts of benzene, a chemical commonly found in office equipment.


Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese Evergreen can be found in many varieties, including variegated forms. It is very easy to care for and can help to rid your home of a number of air pollutants. It produces tiny red berries that are lovely to look at and can help to remove toxins from the air that are commonly found in chemical-based cleaners. The longer you have the plant, the more toxins it will remove, so plan on keeping your Chinese Evergreen for many years for optimal benefits.



Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is a beautiful plant and one that can improve your indoor air quality by as much as 60 percent. It helps to reduce the levels of mold spores that grow in the home by absorbing those spores through its leaves and then circulating them to the plant’s roots where they are used as food. In bathrooms, the Peace Lily can help to keep shower tiles and curtains free from mildew and the plant can absorb harmful vapors from alcohol and acetone.




The Eucalyptus plant has been used for centuries for all types of ailments. It can be a bit difficult to find in houseplant form but if you can find one, definitely consider adding it to your home. The leaves of the Eucalyptus plant are filled with tannins which can raise healthy fluids in the body’s air passages. Just breathing in the scent of these plants can help to lower congestion problems and ward off colds.



Golden Pothos Ivy

Golden Pothos should be grown in a draft-free spot with bright, indirect light and good ventilation. An hour or two of morning sun is acceptable, but full sun in the afternoon will cause the marbling of the foliage to fade. Insufficient light will also cause the variegation to fade. Pothos plants grow very well under fluorescent lighting, especially grow lights. Pothos make excellent hanging plants, but they will never reach their full potential unless they are allowed to climb upright on a pole. Poles give the plant’s air roots something to attach to for support This was NASA’s top recommendation for the removal of formaldehyde from interior air. It is also good at removing carbon monoxide.


Boston Fern

Ferns are very popular houseplants and the Boston Fern is one that offers beauty and healthy benefits. These plants act as humidifiers and can help to restore moisture in the air so they are perfect for those who suffer from dry skin and other cold weather problems. They can also help to eliminate traces of formaldehyde and they look beautiful hanging from baskets all around the home. Remember to keep your Boston Fern in direct sunlight and mist the leaves with water regularly.


Heart Leaf Philodendron

The Heart Leaf Philodendron is a climbing vine that is often best for homes without small pets or children. If eaten, the plant is toxic. However, it is an excellent choice for removing formaldehyde like what is commonly found in particle board. They are relatively easy to care for but again, should be kept high enough that pets and small children cannot access them.

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