The 20 Best Air Purifying House Plants to Freshen Up Your Home
We all know that plants make our homes prettier and can even lift our moods. But did you realize many have all-natural air filtration systems built in? The 1989 NASA Clean Air Study famously found that plants are also amazing agents for cleansing the air of volatile organic compounds—aka harmful gases emitted into the air by products in our homes. How does that work, you ask? In simplest terms, plants can’t help but suck up chemicals as they take in carbon dioxide—which then becomes oxygen during photosynthesis. (Pretty neat, huh?)
FYI, NASA’s study was ultimately experimental, and more recent studies demonstrate that it would actually require around 10 plants per square foot to meaningfully impact air quality. (That’s basically an indoor rainforest.) But we still think it’s worth freshening up your space with some greenery. Here, the 20 best air purifying house plants to give your indoor air a little love.
1. English Ivy
According to NASA’s study, this easy-care plant was found to be the number-one best air-filtering houseplant of all. (But heads up, it can cause contact dermatitis, so handle with care.)
2. Peace Lily
This pretty plant was found to neutralize toxic cleaning product VOCs—like ammonia—and it’s also for known for its high transpiration rate, which makes it an all-natural humidifier. Ahhh.
3. Monstera Deliciosa
Sometimes called a Swiss cheese plant for the holes in its huge, glossy leaves, this tropical beauty was found to be one of the most effective greens at reducing overall air pollution.
Bamboo plants have a superpower: They’re effective at filtering out formaldehyde—a nasty toxin found in many construction materials like particleboard and paint.
Fun fact: This sun-loving plant helps purify chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene (which is found in detergents, plastics and pesticides) out of the air.
6. Snake Plant
Psst: In addition to clearing the air of VOCs, this happy house plant emits high levels of oxygen throughout the nighttime. That, combined with the levels of moisture it gives off, can lessen the impact of airborne allergens and dust. Sweet dreams.
7. Areca Palm
This leafy, statement floor plant is also a hard worker: It’s proven to remove harmful toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene (found in dry-cleaning solvents) and benzene from the air.
8. Spider Plant
For a small plant with a big impact, consider the spider plant, which has proven effective at fighting common pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde.
9. Boston Fern
This lush and frilly stunner is the single most effective plant at cleansing the air of formaldehyde, according to a 2010 study from the American Society of Horticultural Science.
Otherwise known as weeping fig, this low-maintenance evergreen doubles as chic decor and a protective agent against benzene, trichloroethylene and toluene (which is found in paint thinner and some nail polish).
Also known as devil’s ivy, this creeping plant is not only an A-plus air cleaner, but it’s also incredibly easy to grow in pots, hanging baskets and even jars of water.
12. Rubber Plant
Rubber plants were found to produce a significant amount of oxygen compared to other plants, and they have a built-in defense mechanism against mold and pathogens. Plus, they’re natural humidifiers—win-win-win.
According to the NASA study, this pretty plant—also called a flamingo lily—can reduce ammonia and formaldehyde levels in the air, all while adding a pop of color to your space.
This subtropical tree is a popular house plant thanks to its easy care, but NASA found it can also filter benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene out of the air. The trees can potentially grow up to 15 feet tall, making them ideal for large spaces.
15. Pineapple Plant
As members of the Bromeliad family, pineapple plants produce oxygen and filter toxins to improve air quality, and they have the added bonus of yielding delicious fruit.
16. Bamboo Palm
Not only are bamboo palm trees air purifiers, but they have the added benefit of being pet-friendly. Give them a sunny spot and they’ll grow tall.
17. Money Plant
While it won’t bring you material wealth, this plant will help rid the air of some nasty chemicals (like benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene).
Commonly called a Chinese evergreen, this ornamental plant is known for being luck-bringing in Asian countries, and NASA found it can filter formaldehyde and benzene from the air.
19. Kimberly Queen Fern
These Australian-native plants are ideal for beginner gardeners since they require very little care to thrive. (Read: They’ll generously clean your home’s air while asking for nothing in exchange.)
20. Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera daisies are bright and cheerful, sure, but they also produce high levels of oxygen at night while removing harmful chemicals from the air (like benzene and trichloroethylene). Place one on your nightstand and reap the benefits.