Are you looking for the best houseplants for clean air at home? You’re not the first. Houseplants have gained popularity over the years for improving indoor air quality. Given Americans spend 90% of their time indoors; it’s no wonder people are searching for natural ways to clean indoor air.

According to a renowned NASA Clean Air Survey, certain plants capture common toxins from the air. However, they don’t cleanse the air in the way most people think. The purification rate is often slower and more plants are needed to purify the air completely. Nonetheless, some of the best houseplants for clean air at home include bamboo palms and golden pothos.

If you’re planning to get a houseplant to reduce toxic air pollutants indoors, you may not know where to start. This article will introduce you to eleven houseplants you can get today to improve indoor air quality. We’ll also give you some tips for taking care of indoor plants. Let’s dive right in.

The Best Houseplants For Clean Air At Home

The Best Houseplants for Clean Air at Home

While looking into the best houseplants for clean air at home, you may come across ones you already own. Or ones that you’ve seen before at your local nursery. That’s how common these air-purifying houseplants are. Below are eleven houseplants you can get for your home or apartment to improve air quality.

Best Houseplants for Clean AirFeatures
Spider Plant– Easy to maintain
– Eliminates xylene and formaldehyde
Boston Fern– Great for indirect sunlight
– Eliminates cigarette smoke, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, benzene
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant)– Great for beginners
– Eliminates trichloroethylene, xylene, formaldehyde, toluene, benzene
ZZ-Plant– Great for low light areas
– Eliminates benzene, toluene, xylene
Peace Lilly– Medium level of maintenance
– Eliminates ammonia, trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde, xylene

Spider Plant

A spider plant is the best houseplant for clean air at home if you’re new to gardening. These plants are evergreen perennial herbs native to southern Africa and the African tropics. They come in over 200 varieties. The most common spider plants have flat green leaves and a white stripe across the center.

Spider plants can grow 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) tall. So these plants look their best when they’re hanging in a basket. Spider plants do an excellent job as houseplants that improve indoor air quality. They clear two common pollutants, including formaldehyde.

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Spider Plant

Boston Fern

Few houseplants appear as regal as a Boston fern. These plants are ideal if you’re unsure about having a green thumb. This means they’re beginner-friendly.

Boston ferns, also known as sword ferns, are native to tropical regions globally. There are 50 tropical varieties. The Florida Ruffle is the most popular variety, which is medium-sized with rigid branches.

NASA dubbed Boston ferns among several other houseplants that clean indoor air. They’ll clear everything from cigarette smoke to benzene. What’s more, they’re a great addition to any home with pets. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Boston ferns are non-toxic to cats and dogs.

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Boston Fern

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant)

Meet the most adaptable plant and one of the best houseplants for clean air at home. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, or snake plant, is indigenous to the tropical regions of Madagascar, Africa, and some parts of Asia. Given its origins, this plant is accustomed to growing in harsh environments.

A snake plant will tolerate neglect and low light, but it will need some care to thrive. The more sun you give this plant, the better the leaves will grow. But don’t go overboard as too much sun is unsuitable for snake plants.

Snake plants are not only beloved for their ease of care but also for their air-purifying qualities. This houseplant will clear impurities from the air indoors, including benzene and formaldehyde.

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Mother In Laws Tongue


Another common houseplant that improves air quality is ZZ-plant. ZZ-plant is a welcome addition to any home. It boasts broad, stunning, and dark green leaves.

ZZ-plants tolerate low-light conditions. It’ll forgive you if you go two days or a month without watering a ZZ plant. That’s just how resilient this plant is; it originates from drought-prone regions in Africa.

This household plant will clear benzene and other ailments from your house while brightening rooms. It grows to a height and width of two to three feet. So you won’t have to worry about it taking up too much space.

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Zz Plant

Peace Lily

NASA named peace lilies one of the top three plants capable of removing household toxins from the air. They eliminate ammonia, amongst other pollutants. Peace Lilies are one of the most sought-after houseplants for many other reasons. They produce beautiful white flowers, making them an excellent centerpiece for your dining table.

There are 40 peace lily species found in the tropical regions in Central and South America. If you’re new to gardening, peace lilies are a great beginner houseplant. They’re pretty tolerant, so they’ll grow in low-light conditions.

Peace lilies also require little maintenance. At most, you’ll have to wipe their leaves regularly to remove accumulated dust. You won’t have to water them as often as other houseplants.

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Peace Lily

English Ivy

This climber is one you’ve probably seen growing up on the walls of old buildings. You can find it in shady forest clearings, on cliffs, and on slopes. Natively from Europe, English ivy is ubiquitous across the United States.

English ivy is a versatile plant that adapts well to indoor conditions. It looks great hanging from a basket or growing around a windowsill. Besides decorating your home, English ivy has some health benefits. It not only cleans the air in your home but also has anti-inflammatory properties.

While English ivy is friendly-looking, it’s toxic to pets and humans. So handle it with gloves. Hang it far away from pets and children as well.

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English Ivy

Chinese Evergreen

Next on our list of best houseplants for clean air, Chinese evergreen is a popular addition to many homes for removing common toxins such as benzene. This stunning plant is suited for seasoned gardeners, requiring extra attention. It originates from the tropical forests in Asia, and several hybrid varieties exist today.

The most sought-after is the silver queen. This variety’s leaves are covered in silver and speckles of green. Other slow-growing varieties are plain green, blotched, and variegated. The all-green breeds tolerate low light conditions, but the multi-colored kinds don’t. 

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Chinese Evergreen


Also known as ‘mums,’ these flowers are one of the most favored for air purification. They improve indoor air quality by removing everyday toxins, including formaldehyde. Chrysanthemums come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. They’re one of the four noble flowers other than bamboo, plum, and orchid.

Mums are a stunning addition to any home. They are easy to care for, and they thrive in various conditions. You won’t need to worry too much about forgetting to water them, as they’re tolerant to drought. Mums are also resistant to pests and diseases.

Moreover, chrysanthemums are great if you have pets and/or children. They’re not toxic to animals and humans, unlike other houseplants. You can find chrysanthemums at most florists since they’re available year-round. 

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Bamboo Palms

Another great houseplant for households with pets is bamboo palms. These houseplants are typically grown indoors, so they can add a tropical flair to your interior. Bamboo palms like bright, but not direct, sunlight, requiring extra attention.

Bamboo palms eliminate common toxins from your household, including carbon monoxide. They are also ideal for dry winter months, as they add a healthy dose of moisture to the air. 

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Bamboo Palm

Golden Pothos

Also known as devil’s ivy, golden pothos are among the best houseplants for clean air at home. This plant removes common toxins from the air, and it’s easy to grow. It thrives in various conditions and doesn’t require much care. 

Golden pothos boasts stunning heart-shaped leaves that can grow as long as 20 inches when the plant is matured. They look best when grown in hanging baskets or a pot on a table.

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Golden Pothos

Areca Palms

Here’s the last one on our list of best houseplants for clean air. Areca palms are another welcome addition to any home. They’re native to Madagascar and mostly grown outdoors but can tolerate an indoor space with filtered light. This plant is easy to grow, and it requires little maintenance.

Common toxins like carbon monoxide are cleared from the air when an areca palm is around. It’s also great if you have pets around because it’s not toxic to animals.

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Areca Palm

5 Tips for Taking Care of Indoor Plants

Now that you know about the best houseplants for clean air at home, you’ll need to know how to keep them alive. Even houseplants that require little maintenance can die. So to keep them alive and thriving, here are some of our top tips for taking care of indoor plants.

  1. Use coffee grounds as fertilizer. When you make a cup of coffee, save your coffee grounds to fertilize your houseplants. 
  2. Dust your plant’s leaves often. A study conducted to determine the effects of dust on plant leaves revealed that dust reduces a plant’s photosynthetic rate. Dust shades the leaf surface, which can interfere with photosynthesis. It also damages chloroplasts.
  3. Reduce mold growth by letting your plants thoroughly drain into a pan or tray. Remove excess water and use sub-irrigation plants to reduce mold growth as well.
  4. Inspect your plants regularly. Look out for fungus, pests, and other problems that could appear and spread when left untreated. 
  5. Add some moisture to your plants by misting them. Those native to tropical regions will appreciate this.

Best Houseplants For Clean Air At Home Conclusion

Houseplants are a natural way to remove pollutants from the air in your house. Some NASA-approved varieties include peace lilies and Boston fern. These plants improve the air quality and the aesthetics of your home. A potted plant or two can do wonders by brightening up a room and improving its atmosphere. Thanks for checking out the best houseplants for clean air.

FAQs about The Best Houseplants For Clean Air At Home

Is There Any Science Behind Air Purifying Plants?

Yes. A popular study conducted by NASA in the 1900s discovered the air purification benefits of plants. This experiment tested the removal of benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air by indoor plants.
Since this experiment was conducted, there have been others. The most recent study was published in 2020 in the Journal of Environmental Management. It found that a green wall filled with suitable plant species could improve indoor air quality.

How Many Plants Do I Need to Purify a Room?

As you’ve probably guessed, one houseplant won’t do the job of purifying the air in a room. According to NASA, you need two to three plants in 8 to 10-inch pots for every 100 square feet. Other experts suggest adding ten plants per square foot. As much as this sounds doable, you may have an indoor forest, especially in a small apartment.

What’s the Best Low-Maintenance Air Purifying Houseplant?

There are two low-maintenance air-purifying plants: snake plant and English ivy. Snake plants are great if you think you’ll forget about your houseplants. They only need watering once every two weeks. Also, they thrive in low light. English ivy adapts well to any interior environment. It needs to be watered generously while growing, but it also takes care of itself.

What Houseplants Are Best to Remove Mold Spores from the Air?

A few houseplants are ideal for removing mold spores from the air. This includes English ivy, peace lily, palms, snake plant, Boston fern, and spider plant. Mold is one of many common toxins these houseplants eliminate from the air indoors. Having plants around your house is a proactive way to remove mold spores from the air altogether. 

Can Houseplants Increase Oxygen Indoors?

Houseplants can increase oxygen indoors to some extent. There’s no doubt that houseplants make oxygen. They use the carbon dioxide you exhale to produce oxygen through photosynthesis. This vital process in nature allows us all to survive.
However, houseplants don’t produce nearly as much oxygen as you’d think. They add oxygen to a room, but it’s a negligible amount. The best way to improve oxygen indoors is to ensure a good exchange with outdoor air.

Should I Buy a Houseplant Instead of an Air Filter?

If you want to clean your house’s air, a few plants can do the trick. However, an air filter is better if you want to get rid of specific particles like dead skin and pet dander Plants and air purifiers each bring something different to the table. One can’t do the job of the other, but air filters are the most reliable for many people.

Are Houseplants More Effective than Air Purifiers?

In some cases, yes, but not in all cases. Plants and purifiers aren’t comparable. They each have their own specialties and processes. Purifiers use filters or static electricity to filter toxins out of the air. They’ll cycle the air around, but they may not capture VOCs.
Plants can capture pollutants, including VOCs. Also, when looking at durability, an air purifier can work 24/7, while a plant can only work when there’s sunlight.

What Other Health Benefits Do Houseplants Have?

One of the most significant health benefits of indoor plants is improved mental health. A study conducted by Princeton University found that gardening is beneficial for physical and mental health. Having a few plants scattered around your house or apartment is ideal when you need to take a mental health break. Getting your hands dirty when potting plants can lower stress as well.

Are All Houseplants Safe for Pets?

Some houseplants are safe for pets, but not all. There are non-toxic varieties like spider plants, areca palms, and bamboo palms. English ivy and peace lilies are toxic to animals and humans.
Dracaenas, chrysanthemums, Chinese evergreen, and golden pothos are also poisonous to animals. If you want to find out about a specific plant, the ASPCA has a complete list of toxic plants. It’s available on their website.

What Houseplants Are Safe for Kids?

Boston fern and spider plants are ideal additions to your home if you have kids. There won’t be any adverse effects if they go around nipping and sampling these houseplants. When getting a houseplant for a household with children, always check to see if it’s poisonous to humans. If you want to get a houseplant that’s considered harmful, ensure it’s out of reach of the young ones.

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