The air you breathe indoors may not be as healthy as you think. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, organic chemicals commonly found in your home such as paints, disinfectants, cosmetics and fuels emit various toxins and chemicals into the air. These are the leading causes of sick building syndrome, a health threat that leads to headaches, skin irritations, hypersensitivity and more.
The good news is that these chemicals are easy to combat. In addition to disposing of unneeded household chemicals, surrounding your home with air-purifying plants helps aid in the creation of fresh air.
What Chemicals Should I Avoid?
Since we spend most of our time indoors, healthy air quality should be a top priority. There are dozens of chemicals circulating in the air every day and you may not even know! Knowing what these chemicals are and where they come from will help you decide which plant is best suited for your home.
Here are some of the most common toxins that can be found indoors:
- Benzene: This particular toxin is most commonly found in varnishes, detergents, rubber, plastics, paints, floor finishes and various dyes.
- Trichloroethylene: This chemical is commonly found in varnishes, adhesive, lacquer and printing inks.
- Formaldehyde: This chemical is found in a wide variety of places such as paper towels, grocery bags, facial tissues and tobacco smoke.
- Toluene: Oils, paints, nail polish and stain removers all contain the chemical toluene.
- Ammonia: Ammonia can be commonly found in most cleaning products.
- Xylene: Xylene is a harmful chemical that can be found in plastic, such as soda bottles and bottles for household cleaners and makeup.
- Carbon monoxide: This chemical emits from vehicles, stoves and fireplaces.
The Best Air-Purifying Plants for Your Home
Thankfully, there are a wide variety of plants that serve as natural air purifiers and can eliminate toxic chemicals. From flowers to palms to tropical fruit plants, there’s surely an option out there that best suits your needs!
Need some ideas on which houseplant to get? Check out the 23 best air-purifying plants for your home plus care tips below.
These brightly-colored blooms are a staple for your home, especially in the fall. Chrysanthemums are one of the best air-purifying houseplants to grow and are considered the most effective. These flowers help fight ammonia and benzenes, which are both very harmful chemicals.
- Care tips: Make sure your mums have at least 6 to 8 hours of full sunlight a day. They require watering once a week and need to be planted in well-drained soil in order for the blooms to fully develop.
- Health benefits: These flowers are great for people with respiratory problems, hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure.
- Toxicity: Chrysanthemums contain a natural insecticide called pyrethrin, which can be toxic to dogs, cats, horses and even children.
2. Spider Plants
If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly option, the spider plant is the perfect choice for you. They require very little maintenance and are nontoxic, which is a bonus if you have some curious furry friends. This popular plant is also extremely effective in removing harmful toxins in the air, such as carbon monoxide, xylene and the potentially cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde.
- Care tips: These simple plants are quick to adapt to any environment and would do well by the window where they can get some bright light. Water occasionally (every 1–2 weeks) when the soil dries out — this can be checked by placing your finger in the soil and seeing if it feels dry to the touch.
- Health benefits: Spider plants decrease carbon monoxide levels, which helps people who suffer from headaches, colds and fatigue.
- Toxicity: This plant is nontoxic and is safe for pets and children.
Need to spice up your office greenery? This stunning tree-like plant has glossy leaves that can grow up to 1 foot long and a couple inches wide, making it the perfect addition to any room. Dracaenas are a great choice for plant owners due to their air-purifying qualities — they’re known to eliminate formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene and carbon dioxide. Pro tip: Wiping both the upper surfaces and undersides of the leaves regularly with a damp cloth allows the plant to exchange air freely.
- Care tips: Filtered indoor light (through a sheer curtain in front of a sunny window) is ideal for dracaenas — never place the plant in direct sunlight as that will scorch the foliage. They also require very little water; just be sure to mist the leaves and keep the soil lightly moist.
- Health benefits: This plant decreases high levels of harmful chemicals which are linked to anemia, respiratory problems and fatigue.
- Toxicity: Dracaenas contain a chemical compound called saponin, which makes the plant toxic to cats and dogs. When consumed, this can result in vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and loss of appetite.
4. English Ivy
These are great indoor hanging plants if you’re looking to decorate your home. English ivies are perennial vines that combat various toxins, chemicals and even fecal particles! They’re also known to reduce mold levels inside the home.
- Care tips: English ivies enjoy bright light but not direct sun, otherwise the foliage will burn. Don’t let the soil dry out and keep it moist at all times — we recommend checking the soil every week or so to make sure it’s not dried out.
- Health benefits: English ivy has properties that are anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and antioxidant. It may be used to remedy issues like blockage of airway passages or bronchial swelling.
- Toxicity: When consumed orally, English ivy can be mildly toxic to animals and children.
5. Peace Lily
You can’t go wrong with a classic peace lily! Brighten up your home with this air-purifying plant and you’ll never look back. These stunning flowers can help filter out certain harmful compounds such as benzene and trichloroethylene.
- Care tips: Peace lilies prefer partial shade and can sometimes thrive in rooms with no windows at all. Consider placing the plant 6 to 8 feet away from a north- or west-facing window. Peace lilies also do a good job of telling you when they need water — the plant will sag when it’s thirsty, so take that as a sign to water it. In general, water at least once a week and keep the soil moist.
- Health benefits: Peace lilies are renowned for removing harmful chemicals and toxins in the air, including mold spores. It also prevents the formation of mildew, which is great for people who suffer from breathing problems like asthma.
- Toxicity: Keep in mind that peace lilies are toxic to cats and dogs, so keep them away from your fur babies!
6. Golden Pothos
Also known as Devil’s Ivy, this indoor hanging plant is quite hardy and can flourish in a variety of conditions. It can grow up to 8 feet long, so it’s a great plant to hang in your bedroom or living room! Golden pothos is also known to keep the air in your home clean by eliminating various toxins and chemicals.
- Care tips: Keep the plant in partial shade or indirect sunlight. Water weekly or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.
- Health benefits: If you find yourself staring at screens all day, pothos plants are known to help alleviate eye strain and irritation and improve mental fatigue.
- Toxicity: Pothos plants are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause irritation, burning of the mouth and difficulty swallowing.
7. Rubber Plant
This low-maintenance plant is beautiful to look at and requires very little care. It’s a natural humidifier and is perfect for your windowsill or desk. Rubber plants can remove airborne toxins and effectively eliminate mold spores.
- Care tips: Rubber plants prefer bright, indirect light that isn’t too hot. Keeping the plant near a window with a sheer curtain will help give it just the right amount of sunlight. They require more water during their growing season in the summer — keep the soil moist and wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth to allow your plant to absorb more sunlight.
- Health benefits: These plants do not give off pollen, therefore making it an ideal plant for those who suffer from allergies.
- Toxicity: Rubber plants are toxic — they have a milky sap in the stems that can cause intestinal issues when ingested by humans and animals.
8. Boston Fern
These stunning ferns are the perfect addition to any home! What makes them even better is their ability to remove harmful toxins and indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene, toluene and benzene.
- Care tips: Boston ferns enjoy growing in high humidity and moist soil. They don’t need bright conditions to thrive — a good spot would be in a bathroom. During the growing season, water your ferns once or twice a week to keep the soil moist and rich.
- Health benefits: Boston ferns help restore moisture in the air naturally, which is perfect for those who suffer from dry skin and noses.
- Toxicity: This particular variety of fern is nontoxic to humans, cats and dogs. If you get one of these for your home, you might even find your furry friend nibbling and playing with the fronds!
9. Areca Palms
These bamboo-like palms are not only gorgeous but also one of the best air-purifying plants out there. They’re natural coolers that can remove xylene and toluene from the atmosphere and are considered the most efficient air humidifier.
- Care tips: These palms will do best in bright indirect sunlight with shade from the sun. Water frequently (about once a week) during growing season to ensure the plant stays hydrated. Reduce watering in the winter months.
- Health benefits: This plant is known to remove carbon dioxide and produce lots of oxygen, which can help boost energy levels and productivity.
- Toxicity: Areca palms are not considered toxic, but they could still make your pet mildly sick if ingested.
10. Snake Plant
Don’t let the name scare you! Snake plants are a great addition to homes and are easy to take care of. They can grow anywhere from 8 inches to 12 feet high and are able to survive harsh growing conditions. These plants are great for filtering the air of xylene, toluene, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
- Care tips: Be careful not to overwater your snake plant, as the roots are prone to rotting in moist soil. Though it can withstand full sun and handle low light, it is ideal for the plant to be in indirect sunlight.
- Health benefits: Snake plants absorb cancer-causing pollutants and can help those with airborne allergies.
- Toxicity: While safe for humans, snake plants contain saponin, which is toxic for cats and dogs.
11. Aloe Vera
You might recognize this plant as a sunburn reliever, but it’s also great for purifying the air! Aloe vera is known for its healing properties and medicinal uses and is great for new plant owners. They are known for removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air, so be sure to place a couple of these around the house.
- Care tips: Aloe vera plants thrive in sunlight, so place it on a windowsill or in a sunny spot. They are drought resistant, meaning they can survive with minimal watering. Check the soil every few weeks and re-water when it is dry to the touch.
- Health benefits: We all know aloe vera as the mighty plant that soothes burns and wounds, but it’s also great to drink! Aloe vera juice has a variety of health benefits, including hydration, liver function, digestion relief and clear skin.
- Toxicity: Though considered a medicinal plant for humans, it is mildly toxic for cats and dogs.
12. Chinese Evergreens
If you don’t have one of these tropical plants in your home yet, you may want to reconsider! Chinese evergreens are grown in Asia as ornamental plants that are believed to bring good fortune. They also have been proven to be an effective cleanser of benzene and formaldehyde.
- Care tips: Place your plant in a low-lit area that’s relatively humid — we recommend a bathroom. Remember to occasionally mist the leaves to prevent browning and water the plant about once or twice a week, or when the soil is dry.
- Health benefits: Chinese evergreens can increase a room’s humidity, which can reduce the likelihood of respiratory disease or illness.
- Toxicity: This plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that can be harmful to humans, cats, dogs and horses if ingested.
13. Broad Lady Palm
This leafy plant is a great addition to any living room or floor space. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it also lives up to its excellent air-purifying properties. Broad lady palms are known to eliminate ammonia, xylene and formaldehyde, making the air in your home cleaner and safer to breathe.
- Care tips: Keep this plant out of direct sunlight and in temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In the hotter months, water the palm when the soil is dry (check every week or so) to a depth of 1 inch.
- Health benefits: Broad lady palms have been proven successful in removing chemicals and toxins from the air, therefore it’s a great plant for those with respiratory illnesses.
- Toxicity: This plant is nontoxic to animals; however, they do have sharp spines at the base which may physically hurt your pet if they get too close.
14. Weeping Fig
Also known as a ficus tree, this popular houseplant is fairly low-maintenance and grows well indoors and outdoors. You may find yourself benefiting if you keep this plant inside, as it has been proven to be very effective at purifying the air in your home and removing toxins such as xylene and toluene.
- Care tips: Be sure you place your weeping fig in bright indirect light and in a somewhat humid environment (bathrooms are a good place). Water the plant frequently (once or twice a week) and make sure the soil is well-drained yet moist.
- Health benefits: This plant is considered antibacterial, antifungal and an immune booster — perfect for those who get sick frequently!
- Toxicity: Keep this plant away from your pets! Weeping figs are considered toxic to cats and dogs.
15. Flamingo Lily
This vivid, tropical plant is the perfect pop of color for your living space and can be easily grown indoors. What many people don’t know is that the flamingo flower is actually incredibly effective at removing toluene, xylene, formaldehyde and ammonia in your home.
- Care tips: Since this is a tropical plant, they do best in high humidity. Spray the leaves daily with a water bottle or set up a humidifier to ensure your plant will live a healthy life. Keep the soil at medium moisture but avoid overwatering, as that may cause root rot.
- Health benefits: Due to their large, dark leaves, flamingo lilies are one of the best plants at removing harmful toxins. Those who suffer from breathing problems should get one of these for their home or office.
- Toxicity: Flamingo lilies contain calcium oxalate crystals (just like the Chinese evergreens!) and are toxic to pets, causing swelling and difficulty breathing.
16. Bamboo Palm
Known for its similarities to bamboo, this particular species of palm is slender with ringed trunks. They are low-maintenance houseplants and are effective at removing indoor air toxins such as benzene and trichloroethylene.
- Care tips: This plant is found in deep forests, therefore it has adapted to low light conditions and doesn’t rely on sunlight to survive. Water generously in the spring and summer, keeping the soil moist at all times.
- Health benefits: This plant effectively removes harmful chemicals from the air, which is great for people who have respiratory issues.
- Toxicity: If you’ve got a house full of pets, you’re in luck! This plant is nontoxic to dogs, cats and humans.
17. Gerbera Daisy
Looking for the perfect flower to brighten up your home? Gerbera daisies may be just the plant for you. These bright blooms come in a wide variety of shades and are great for decorating your home. They also work well to remove harmful toxins in the air such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
- Care tips: Place the flowers in a spot where they will get plenty of bright light and good air circulation (windows are ideal). This is important to keep in mind especially during the spring, summer and fall months when it’s warmer.
- Health benefits: Daisies can be used to treat digestion problems and help with loss of appetite.
- Toxicity: Gerbera daisies are nontoxic to cats and dogs, making it an ideal plant for pet owners.
These easy plants can grow in almost any type of environment and will thrive indoors year-round without complaint. What makes them even more appealing is their ability to remove formaldehyde from the air, which can be especially harmful in small spaces.
- Care tips: Philodendrons do well in medium indirect sunlight. Water every 1–2 weeks and allow the soil to dry out between waterings to avoid root rot. Any humidity level is fine for these plants, however, having moist air will definitely help the plant grow faster.
- Health benefits: This vacuum-like plant sucks nasty pollutants from the air and can help you feel more alert.
- Toxicity: This plant is mildly toxic to cats and dogs — keep it away from your pets to avoid possible irritation, swelling, vomiting and more.
19. Pineapple Plant
Not only is this plant famous for its delicious fruit, but it’s also one of the few tropical plants that are well-suited to grow in pots. Each pineapple plant will produce one flower stalk, which will eventually turn into a pineapple. You’ll get to benefit from this tasty plant as well as its ability to produce more oxygen and improve air quality throughout the night.
- Care tips: Since this is a tropical plant, remember to water it regularly and spray the leaves to keep them moist. Keep it in a sunny spot for optimal growth, however, dappled shade also works well for this plant.
- Health benefits: Since this plant grows a popular tropical fruit, there are many health benefits when consuming pineapple. It’s great for chest pain, bronchitis, arthritis and sinus infections, to name a few.
- Toxicity: While the juicy fruit is nontoxic to pets, the leaves and skin might not be, so make sure your furry friend is only getting the fruit!
20. Kimberly Queen Ferns
This bold and beautiful plant is a dense evergreen fern with a shapely form and arching fronds. They are more resilient to heat, drought and direct sun than other fern varieties, making them an extremely hardy plant. They also serve as a natural air purifier when grown indoors and are highly effective at removing formaldehyde and alcohols.
- Care tips: Place the plant in bright indirect light and allow the top few inches of your potting soil to dry out before watering again. In addition, the long fronds may turn pale green when the fern needs water.
- Health benefits: This plant acts as a great air purifier and can help those who experience severe allergies or asthma.
- Toxicity: Good news! These ferns are nontoxic to cats, dogs and humans.
21. Parlor Palm
Parlor palms are native to tropical regions of the Americas and can grow to well over 6 feet tall. This plant has dark green fronds that create a bushy and lush plant, making it a great houseplant for your living room or dining room. They’re also excellent at removing benzene and trichloroethylene, so place the plant near furniture that might be off-gassing.
- Care tips: Since this plant can get pretty tall, it may require several repottings. Water every 1–2 weeks and place it in a spot that gives off medium to bright indirect light. Do not place the plant in direct sunlight as that will likely burn the leaves.
- Health benefits: Since this plant does such a good job of eliminating benzene and trichloroethylene, it’d be a great option for those with asthma or other respiratory issues.
- Toxicity: Many varieties of palm can be considered toxic, but luckily the parlor palm is not one of them. These plants are safe for dogs, cats and humans!
22. Dwarf Date Palm
This subtropical spreading palm is good for plant owners who are looking for a large plant. Dwarf date palms can grow up to 6.5 feet high and 5 feet wide! It is also especially adept at removing xylene and other harmful chemicals in the air.
- Care tips: Provide the brightest light with full sun and keep the soil on the slightly dry side. They also like high humidity levels, so lightly mist the leaves if your environment is dry.
- Health benefits: Though dwarf date palms don’t actually grow the fruit itself, they still produce seeds that provide amazing antioxidant properties and health benefits. These seeds contain dietary fibers and oleic acid which have been associated with improved cardiovascular health.
- Toxicity: These date palms are not considered toxic to horses, dogs or cats.
23. Corn Plant
Another variety of dracaena, this plant is known for its beautiful foliage that comes in various shades of green and yellow. Corn plants have also been proven to be extremely effective in removing formaldehyde from the air.
- Care tips: This particular plant is quite popular among the plant community and is easy to care for. They can survive with low light levels and lack of water, but ideally you should place it in indirect sunlight and water every 1–2 weeks.
- Health benefits: As with many dracaenas, the corn plant increases concentration and sharpens focus. It also increases humidity, which is great for those who suffer from dry skin or coughs.
- Toxicity: Unfortunately, the corn plant is toxic to dogs and cats as it contains saponin.
Next time you’re thinking about upgrading your home with some new plants, think about not only how good they look, but how they impact your health too! While you’re creating a fresher space, browse our houseplants for some added charm.