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The Best Indoor Plants For Clean Air

While air purifiers remove some pollutants, incorporating indoor plants that purify the air is a natural and aesthetically pleasing way to improve indoor air quality.

Indoor air pollution is a growing concern as people spend more time indoors, leading to a rise in health problems such as allergies, asthma, and respiratory illnesses.

Whether you're a plant enthusiast or a beginner, these are the best indoor plants for clean air. These plants are perfect for anyone looking to create a healthy and beautiful indoor environment.

How Do Indoor Plants Purify The Air?

The NASA Study

House plants are known for their ability to purify the air. In the late 1980s, NASA conducted a study on how indoor plants remove pollutants from the air in space stations. Their findings showed that many common house plants are highly effective removers of toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

Plants use a process called photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. During this process, they also absorb various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in indoor air. These VOCs come from multiple sources, such as cleaning products, paint, furniture, and carpets.

Plants remove these pollutants through a process called phytoremediation. In this process, their roots absorb the toxins, which are then broken down by microbes in the soil. The cleaned air is then released back into the atmosphere through the plant's leaves.

NASA discovered that plants removed pollutants from indoor air in the 80s.

Which Plants Do What?

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, certain plants, such as the spider plant, Dracaena, golden Pothos, and peace lily, “scrub” common pollutants such as formaldehyde, toluene, and mold spores. Boston fern, Chrysanthemum, and gerbera daisy are also great options for filtering out toxins like xylene and detergents.

The Ficus, Aglaonema, and Epipremnum aureum also remove toxins from the air, including those from glues and other chemicals often found in household products.

Hedera helix, also known as English ivy, is a particularly efficient plant in removing mold spores from indoor air. Additionally, these plants regulate humidity levels and add a calming and relaxing effect to your living space.

Best Air-Purifying Houseplants

Several air-purifying plants are effective in removing harmful toxins from the air. Some of the best air-purifying plants include:

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)


This plant, also called mother-in-law's tongue, is one of the most popular air-purifying plants. It is particularly good at removing formaldehyde, found in cleaning products, toilet paper, and personal care products.


Snake plants come in various sizes, from small tabletop species to tall floor plants. They are very adaptable and thrive in multiple environments, making them a popular choice for indoor and outdoor spaces. The larger varieties of snake plants grow up to five feet tall, making them a great option for adding a striking vertical element to your room.

Are They Good For Beginners?

Snake plants are great for beginners because they are so easy to care for. They tolerate a wide range of light conditions, from low to bright, and go for long periods without water. They are also very hardy and withstand a bit of neglect.

Style Tips

Snake plants are very versatile and complement a variety of decor styles. Their tall, sleek leaves add a modern touch to a space, while their variegated patterns add texture and interest to more traditional decor. They work well in groupings, clustered together in a pot or arranged in a row along a windowsill or bookshelf. 

Snake plants are also a great option for spaces with limited natural light, such as bathrooms or basements, where other plants might struggle to thrive.

Snake Plant
Photo: IndoorPlants.comSnake plants have sword-like variegated leaves.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)


This plant is low-maintenance and removes several harmful toxins from the air, including benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide. Spider plants are known for their long, slender leaves that cascade downward, creating a beautiful, flowing effect.


They come in various sizes, from small tabletop versions to larger hanging or floor plants. Their versatility makes them a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Are They Good For Beginners?

Spider plants are easy to care for. They tolerate bright and low light conditions and prefer to dry out between watering, making them an excellent option for those who might forget to water their plants regularly. Additionally, spider plants are non-toxic to pets, making them a great choice for households with furry friends.

Style Tips

When it comes to style, spider plants complement a variety of decors. Their long, flowing leaves add a touch of elegance and softness to a room, while their bright green color brings a pop of freshness and vitality to a space.

They are particularly well-suited for bohemian or natural decor styles, where you can highlight their organic shape and texture. Spider plants also work well in hanging baskets or on shelves, where their cascading foliage create a beautiful, layered effect.

Spider plants clean the air and add a splash of feathery greenery to any space.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)


This plant is excellent at removing formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and ammonia from the air. It also adds moisture to the atmosphere, making it a great plant for people with dry skin or respiratory issues.

Peace lilies have lush, green foliage and elegant white flowers, making them a popular choice for indoor plant enthusiasts.


They come in various sizes, from small tabletop versions to larger floor plants, and their lush green leaves add a touch of sophistication to any space.

Are They Good For Beginners?

Peace lilies are a great option for beginners because they are very low-maintenance. They prefer low to medium light conditions and tolerate periods of dryness between watering.

Style Tips

Peace lilies complement a variety of decor styles. Their white flowers and lush foliage add a calming and serene atmosphere to a space. They work particularly well in minimalist or modern decor styles, where you can make their simple, elegant shape stand out.

Peace lilies also work well in bathrooms or bedrooms, where their air-purifying qualities are particularly beneficial. Additionally, they can be used as a statement plant in larger spaces, where their size and lushness create an attractive focal point.

Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)


The bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) is a popular houseplant known for its lush, tropical foliage and ease of care. This plant is an efficient scrubber of formaldehyde and benzene, as well as other harmful toxins found in furniture and carpets.


Bamboo palms typically grow to a height of between 4-6feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) indoors, and their fronds spread up to three feet (0.9 meters) wide. However, they grow relatively slowly, and regularly pruning their offsets keeps their growth under control.

Are They Good For Beginners?

Bamboo palms are considered one of the easier houseplants to care for, making them a good choice for beginners. They tolerate low light levels but thrive in indirect sunlight. They prefer moderate to high humidity and regular watering but do tolerate some neglect.

If you like the look of palms, check out other air-purifying varieties, such as the areca palm, Ponytail Palm, or the Lady Palm with its broader, uniquely shaped leaves. Dracaena (dragon tree) has a palm-like appearance with its spiky upright leaves, and it’s also excellent at removing xylene and trichloroethylene from the air.

Style Tips

The bamboo palm's lush, tropical foliage makes it a great addition to any interior style that aims to bring a touch of the outdoors. Its vertical growth habit and slender stems make it ideal for filling empty corners or adding height to a grouping of plants. It also pairs well with other tropical plants, such as Pothos (devil’s ivy), philodendron, Chinese evergreen, or rubber plant to create a jungle-like ambiance in a room.

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)


The aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is a popular succulent plant known for its ease of care and distinctive appearance.

This plant is an excellent air-purifying plant, and the gel inside the leaves is known for its healing properties when applied to the skin. It removes formaldehyde and benzene from the air and is also great for people with allergies and asthma.


Aloe vera plants typically grow to a height of 2 feet (60 cm) and spread up to 3 feet (90 cm) wide. However, their growth rate is relatively slow, and they can be kept under control through regular pruning of offsets.

Are They Good For Beginners?

Horticulturists consider aloe vera plants one of the easiest houseplants to care for, making them a great choice for beginners. They prefer bright, indirect light, and they do tolerate some direct sun. They also require infrequent watering, as they store water in their leaves and roots, making them quite drought-tolerant. If you overwater aloe, it can cause root rot, identifiable by brown mushy spots on the leaves and a musty smell coming from the soil.

Style Tips

The aloe vera's distinctive, spiky leaves make it a great addition to modern, minimalist interior styles. It pairs well with other succulent plants, such as the snake plant or haworthia, and creates a desert-like ambiance in a room.

You can grow aloe vera in a variety of containers, from small terracotta pots to larger decorative planters, making it a versatile choice for any space.

Aloe vera has many uses as a houseplant.

Please Note

This article lists just a few of the many air-purifying plants available. And while plants improve indoor air quality, you should not rely on them as a sole means of purifying the air. Proper ventilation and reducing the use of chemicals in the home are also important factors in maintaining good indoor air quality.

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