The Best Air Purifying Plants for any Home or Apartment

  • 4 min read

The Best Air Purifying Plants for any Home or Apartment

If you need some fresh air for your home, consider grabbing a houseplant to help purify the air when you can’t exactly crack open a window. Check below for our favorite air-purifying houseplants:

What is Air Pollution, and Why do we Need Air Purifiers?

Before getting into this list, let’s first understand what constitutes air pollution. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution consists of any chemical or substance that changes the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. Air pollutants can be both manufactured or biological. The most common air pollutant, smoke, can be found nearly everywhere– from massive factories to our ovens. When outside, there’s plenty of space for air to circulate, making air pollution a lot less of a threat to our immediate health while outdoors. Inside, however, it’s easy for air to stagnate, allowing pollutants from our everyday lives to sit. 

Along with opening windows or improving air circulation in your home, quite a few plants out there can help purify your air.

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Quite a few plants out there can help purify your air
Photo by Elina Sazonova


What Makes a Plant Good at Air Purification?

During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, renewing the air around us. Plants need oxygen to survive, but the process of converting carbon dioxide and water into energy creates more oxygen than is required for the plant. Thus, excess oxygen is released into the air. Some plants require lower oxygen levels to survive and are overall more efficient in converting CO2 into oxygen. Others can absorb air pollutants safely, making them great for cleaning the air. A study performed by NASA in 1989 detailed which plants are best for purifying the air in a low-oxygen environment. All of the plants listed here are recommended candidates for air purification in the home.

1. English Ivy

Purifies: Formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, methane, trichloroethylene

English Ivy is a trailing plant best known for its iconic pointed leaves and its ability to spread. If you have the space, an ivy plant is excellent for purifying air since it grows quickly– a baby plant will eventually need a lot of space! Trailing plants are also great for hanging in tall planters or propping up around ceilings to save space.

2. Snake plant

Purifies: Formaldehyde, nitrous oxide, xylene, trichloroethylene

The Snake Plant is not only an excellent beginner houseplant but a wonderful air purifying plant as well. Known for being particularly hardy, the Snake Plant loves bright light and will photosynthesize as long as it's getting enough sun. If you keep this plant near a sunny windowsill, it’ll constantly grow and make your air cleaner.

3. Rubber plants (ficus elastica)

Purifies: Formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene

As a member of the Ficus family, the Ficus elastica is a fast-growing evergreen that will keep your air nice and fresh year-round. As one of the several plants recommended in NASA’s 1989 study, the Rubber Plant makes for an interesting addition to any home and a science-approved air purifier.

4. Philodendron Swiss Cheese

Purifies: Formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene

Members of the Philodendron family are best at removing toxic chemicals like formaldehyde from the air. Additionally, the Philodendron Swiss Cheese is incredibly hardy; keep it somewhere warm and humid to help this plant thrive.

5. Calathea

Purifies: Formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene

Calathea plants like the Calathea Dottie and the Rattlesnake Plant are also particularly good at ridding the air of harsh chemicals and chemical compounds. As an evergreen, these plants are also photosynthesizing year-round, making them excellent choices for winter houseplants.

6. Dracaena

Purifies: Formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene

Another particularly low-maintenance houseplant, the Dracaena, is excellent for removing toxins created by paints, varnishes, and smoke from cooking. In addition, most members of the Dracaena family are slow-growers that can reach up to ten feet tall! With plenty of room to grow and lots of light, a Dracaena makes a fantastic addition to any home environment.

7. Aloe Vera

Purifies: Formaldehyde

A great plant for treating burns, the Aloe Vera is also an excellent air purifying plant as well! This succulent, in particular, is best for purifying the air of chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene, which are commonly found in wood varnish and some detergents. In addition, Aloe plants are quite hardy and, like most succulents, very easy to propagate.

8. Bella Palm

Purifies: Formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, xylene

Also known as the Parlour Palm, the Bella Palm is a fantastic houseplant for generally purifying the air, as it grows year-round and can manage well in lower light conditions. As mentioned in the summary for NASA’s study, plants that do well in low or medium light conditions work best as air purifiers since they don’t require much light to photosynthesize. 

9. Pothos N'Joy

Purifies: Formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene

The final houseplant on our list, the Pothos N’Joy, can handle a variety of light conditions, making it another NASA favorite in terms of purifying the air. In addition, this plant has broad, waxy leaves that are highly variegated, and it doesn’t need much water or extra care to thrive.

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