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5 Best Houseplants for Clean Air

Plants are known for bringing natural beauty into our living spaces, but they do far more than just look pretty. Plants are essential for detoxifying the air we breathe and are actually directly connected to our overall well-being! Whether you live in a small apartment or a large house, introducing plants into your home is an easy way to improve both your health and happiness.


Today, indoor air quality is one of the top five environmental risks to public health. This is largely due to hidden household toxins from furnishings, personal-care products, synthetic building materials, and cleaning products that can emit a variety of toxic compounds. These include formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene - three of the most common indoor air pollutants. In fact, a meta-analysis found 45 potentially toxic chemicals in household dust samples – and 10 of these harmful chemicals were found in 90% of the homes tested.

The good news is that plants provide relatively easy, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing ways to combat the icky stuff we may be breathing in. Not only do plants produce oxygen and absorb small amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), but they can also help maintain humidity which may reduce the risk of certain airborne pathogens. A NASA study found that several houseplants can filter formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene in small, enclosed environments. In addition to their air-improving effects, the natural calming effects of houseplants are linked to reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and an improved state of mind. They might even help you feel more creative and focused, making them the perfect addition to any room in your home!

Here are a few of our favorite houseplants that are proven to clean the air in your home (and how to care for them):

Peace Lily

Calla Lilly flower in a vase

Peace Lily plants may be small in size, but they still pack some major air-cleaning abilities. Believe it or not, this beautiful, white-flowered plant is easy to grow, extremely low maintenance, and tops NASA’s Clean Air Study list for removing all three common air pollutants - plus xylene, toluene, and ammonia! For optimal plant health, make sure your Peace Lilies are in a shady spot and keep the soil moist without overwatering.

Snake Plant

Snake plant in black pot

Also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, the Snake Plant is one of the most recommended plants for improving air quality. Not only does this yellow-tipped succulent absorb over 107 airborne toxins, but it also releases copious amounts of oxygen at night, helping you to breathe better while sleeping. Better yet, this plant seems to thrive in just about any climate with low light and little maintenance, making it an excellent choice to keep in the bedroom.

Barberton Daisy

Pink daisy

Add a pop of color to your home, lift your spirits, and detoxify your air with Barberton, or Gerbera Daisies. These colorful daisies are extremely effective at cleansing toxins found in a range of household materials, from paints to synthetic fibers. They like well-drained soil and direct sunlight, so keep them by a window and mist their leaves a few times a week.

Boston Fern

Fern plant in pot

The Boston Fern specializes in cleansing the air of formaldehyde (found in shampoos, cosmetics, and detergents), which the American Cancer Society considers a known human carcinogen. These plants are efficient air purifiers, while also bringing some style to your space. Pot this plant in a hanging basket in your bathroom or bedroom and watch its foliage grow! They like some sun, but not too much, and like to be misted down a few times a day.


Growing green plant in a white pot

Looking for the perfect low-maintenance houseplant? With very little care, the indoor-friendly Pothos plant will grow and vine with only a limited amount of sunlight and water. Not to mention, the plant’s dark leaves with yellow, cream, or white marbling spruce up any room you add it to!

Next time you’re strolling through the garden center, go ahead and grab that extra plant – or ask a friend with a green thumb for a cutting from one of theirs! They’re a perfect way to breathe some life into your space, help remove common household toxins, and give you a little mental boost every day.