10 Best Houseplants for Cleaner Air

10 Best Houseplants for Cleaner Air

  • By - The Modern Day Wife
  • 16 April, 2021
(illustration © thrillweed)

Improving overall health, filtering toxins from the air... what can't plants do? We love having these proven air purifiers around the house. The science behind this process of purification is fascinating: these plants are able to absorb the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air through their leaves, and then banish these pollutants to their roots. They are then broken down by microbes in the soil, which produces an improved air quality. These ten especially have been at the top of many lists for their abilities to ameliorate our indoor environments.

FernPlantShop / Etsy)

1. Areca palm

Originally from Madagascar, the Areca palm is great at filtering formaldehyde from the air. This succulent is ranked the highest on NASA’s list for removing VOCs. Safe for pets, the areca palm does require a bit more maintenance when compared to other plants on this list.

Lauren Neville / Etsy)

2. Lady palm

Although not as skilled at removing formaldehyde as the Areca palm, this palm is great for removing xylene (a solvent found in ink, paint, rubber, and even leather) and carbon dioxide from the air. Lady palm originates from the tropical climates in Asia, and grows up to four meters in height. Easy to grow, this plant requires little light, humidity, and attention, making it perfect for busy people looking for cleaner indoor air.

The Fab Flora / Etsy)                                 

3. Bamboo palm

Great at removing benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Bamboo palm is a shade plant, so any area with little natural or artificial light will help this plant thrive. 

BellBookCandlePlants / Etsy)

4. Rubber plant 

Proven to produce more oxygen than any other plant, the rubber tree can also remove mold spores and bacteria from the air by up to 60%. This multitasking ficus flourishes best with filtered indoor light and need to be watered every 5 to 6 days.

Easy Breezy Botanicals / Etsy)

5. Dracaena

A shrub proven to remove benzene, pentene, and toluene (a paint thinner), and xylene. Native to tropical Africa, this plant is also known as a corn plant, and prefers shaded areas.

LeafMeAlonePlants / Etsy)

6. English ivy

Great for removing mold from houses. You’ve probably seen ivy coating the walls of houses and other buildings; hedera helix is another great low-maintenance and air-purifying plant for removing VOCs. 

Frond and Folia / Etsy)

7. Dwarf date palm

Ideal in low-light environments, like an office cubicle. Phoenix roeblenii removes xylene particularly well. Because these plants evolved along river banks, they require more moisture than other plants on this list. They also prefer low-light surroundings. 

Tropical Ambiance / Etsy)

8. Snake plant

A popular plant, the snake plant almost thrives on neglect. Its ability to remove pollutants, most notably carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, are noteworthy. They almost thrive on mild neglect — many sansevieria plant guides recommend watering them twice monthly at the most. 

Secret Garden Plants / Etsy)

9. Japanese royal fern

Also known as zenmai, this fern was noted for its formaldehyde-removal efficiency. Ferns, in general, are ranked high for their ability to filter formaldehyde. They grow best in low-light rooms. 

White Oak Farms / Etsy)

10. Peace lily

Easy to maintain, the peace lily is native to the tropical climates of Asia and the Americas. Peace lilies require low-light environments with moist, but not overwatered, soil. Relatively low maintenance, peace lilies are popular to give as gifts. 

Do you like keeping plants around your house? Which ones have you had the most success growing? Let us know in the comments!



1. Claudio, Luz. (2011, October 1). Planting Healthier Indoor Air. NCBI. https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=10+plants+for+air+purifying+ncbi&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

2. Rupam. (2019, March 19). Best Indoor Air Purifying Plants Recommended by NASA – Snake Plant/Mother in law Tongue. My Garden Forest. http://mygardenforest.com/best-indoor-air-purifying-plants-recommended-by-nasa-snake-plant-mother-in-law-tongue/