Four Plants That Will Improve Your Home’s Air Quality


Bringing the outdoors inside with plants is not only a great decorative statement, but offers a plethora of health benefits. Plants have been shown to reduce stress, improve concentration and – maybe most importantly – act as natural, inexpensive and incredibly effective air purifiers.

So, what are the best plants you can bring in to your home to improve your mood and your air quality? Read on.

The NASA Study

NASA is on the forefront of studying the purification efficacy of household plants. It makes sense, when you think about it: if humans want to colonize planets like Mars, we’ll need sustainable and cost-effective sources for air. Enter plants.

NASA studied about a dozen decorative plants to determine how effective they are in eliminating indoor air pollution. What they found was fascinating.

Different plants appear to be more effective in removing different pollutants. Spider plants, for example, were some of the most effective in removing formaldehyde molecules from the air. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and can be found in items around your home, such as tobacco smoke, pressed-wood products like furniture, gas stoves or wood burning stoves are culprits as well.

Flowering plants, such as daisies and chrysanthemums are great at removing benzene. Benzene is contained in items around your home such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. Benzene exposure can lead to health issues such as anemia and it can damage the immune system by changing levels of antibodies and white blood cells contained in your blood.

The bottom line of the NASA study is that even in a small environment like your home, plants can have a huge impact on air quality and your overall health. Here are four plants that can do the job.

1) Boston Fern


Photo by bfishshadow via Flickr CC License

These are beautiful plants that are also great at removing formaldehyde from the air. It’s also very effective at removing pollutants like benzene and xylene from your home, which can be a big concern if you have an attached garage. This plant may be better for you to keep if you have more of a green thumb, as they can be finicky and a bit high maintenance. Just know they need to be watered and fed regularly, and maybe even misted daily depending on the humidity level in your home. If you like ferns, another great formaldehyde buster are the Kimberley Queen fern. This has larger and broader leaves than the Boston and is great if you home tends to be dry. Not only are these ferns great at removing pollution, but they’re also great natural humidifiers. Win!


2) Golden Pathos

What this little plant lacks in pollutant removal, it makes up for in sheer stamina. If you have a brown thumb than this is your plant! It tolerates being neglected or over watered and is still a pretty effective plant for removing pollutants from your home. If you’re new to the world of houseplants, this is your guy.

Photo by Éamonn Ó Muirí via Flickr CC License

3) Aloe

Aloe is one of those plants that can pull triple duty. This is not only an attractive plant, but it is safe for children and animals and also works to remove pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene from the air in your home. It’s a great plant for the kitchen, too, because if you burn yourself just open up one of the leaves and use it to treat small burns or cuts! Plus, it’s not a plant that requires a lot of attention or upkeep, so it’s just an all-around solid choice.

4) Warnock Dracaena

This plant makes a statement! It can grow up to 12 feet high and is quite striking. The best part is that it doesn’t need direct light and grows inside easily. Warnock dracaena is great for removing pollutants associated with varnishes and oils. This is a hearty and beautiful plant that would probably survive a nuclear apocalypse, so you can’t go wrong.

There’s really no reason not to add a few houseplants to your home. They’re beautiful, make you happy, add to the ambiance, and make your home a healthier place for you and your family.


Photo by Mikkel Zibrandtsen via Flickr CC License


  1. Reply
    Harper June 21, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Devil’s ivy is another option, see it here:

    It filters out formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and toluene.

    In Australia we have them in our houses, not sure about in America.

  2. Reply
    Tom from the Internet June 25, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Another reason why NASA should have a bigger budget

    • Reply
      anon June 27, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Agreed tom – you want the country’s health care costs to go down? How about prevention: imagine how much healthier we’d be as a population if we spent the money to truly understand air quality.

      $1 million on research could preempt $20 million in future health care costs!

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