Clean the Air with House Plants

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Clean your indoor air with house plants. Indoor plants can remove toxins and create a healthier environment in your home! I share which ones are some of the best.

Do house plants clean indoor air?

Back in the late 1980’s, NASA did a study on the benefits of houseplants on purifying air on the space station.  I read it in Better Homes and Gardens magazine and I was impressed with the results. 

More evidence has emerged that shows just how beneficial house plants are, not only for our breathing but our emotions as well.

What is also important to note is I am not very good at growing house plants. My house is dark and dreary in the winter and these plants thrive for me so I know they will be easy for you to grow too!

Peace Lily, how to grow and care for Peace Lily

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Why clean the air in your home?

Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health.

Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants to build up and stick around in greater amounts than we humans should be breathing in.

Since most people spend 90% of people spend the majority of their time indoors, air quality matters. 

All sorts of products we have around us and use daily out-gas formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and on to many compounds I cannot even spell. 

This includes furniture, fabrics, rugs, and even outdoor toxins can get trapped indoors.

Many now suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. 

The added perfumes in daily products such as shampoos, laundry detergents, dish soaps, and deodorants can make sufferers lethargic, irritable and even extremely ill. 

Though many of us may not react strongly to these scents and chemicals, it is a well known fact that they are not healthy. They are constantly barraging our systems with low levels of toxicity which can build up.

Compound that with the amounts of different products with different scents and you can imagine what our systems are combating daily. 

Thankfully there is a low cost way to combat these issues and it comes from the natural world.

Related: Get rid of fungus gnats in your house plants!

What are some of the Best House plants for cleaning the air?

Wandering Jew plant

Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina)

Bringing these beauties into your home not only cleans the air of allergens, dust and pollutants they also have psychological benefits. Including reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and promoting happiness. 

The contrasting deep purple of the underside of the leaves makes a beautiful statement in the home.   

Want to sleep better?

Place a Snake Plant or Mothers In Law tongue (Sansevieria) in your bedroom, they release oxygen into the air at night making for more restful sleep.  

There are a variety of patterned leaves to choose from. Click here for a post of dividing your Sansevieria 

Clear the Air with Houseplants

House plants also add humidity to the room which is beneficial for those of us in drier climates.

Want a tough to kill but powerhouse air cleaning plant? 

Clean your indoor air with house plants, Spider plants are one of many house plants that do double duty. They clean your indoor air while making a great Decorating element. DIY decor is livened up with house plants!

The spider plant is one tough cookie and it is easy to propagate.

The little baby plantlets are really what do the bulk of the air scrubbing so I keep as many on the plant as long as possible while taking some off to propagate.

Just detach and place the knobby end in a bit of water and let them grow roots, then pot up.
Voila’, instant new plant.  

Clear the air with indoor plants, Spider plant babies or plantlets,

There are solid and variegated varieties.

Pothos or Devils Ivy also thrives on neglect and is tough to kill.

Pothos does well in low light conditions and it is easy to propagate from cuttings.

Pinch back regularly to keep the plant fuller at the top, it does have a tendency to get leggy.

Pothos comes in several lovely leaf varieties…Golden, Marble Queen, and Neon.

The next powerhouse for removing toxins in the air is the Peace Lily

Peace Lily

Peace Lily thrives on lots of water and it will even bloom.  It has a lovely white flower.

You can even grow it in a jar of water.  I have seen it paired with a Beta fish for a wonderful living display. I love the tropical look of it. 

Read all about caring for Peace Lily to help you get the most out of them.

Peace Lily topped NASA’s list for removing all three of the most common VOCs – formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

It can also combat toluene and xylene.

English Ivy plant,

English Ivy also cleans many of the same toxins from the air. 

Ivy loves bright light so keep this plant outside during the summer months and bring them in for winter. They especially thrive when given a summer vacation outside in a shady spot.

I am working on some topiaries using ivy and I will share soon and I have a post coming up on how to divide one to give it new life.

Blooming Beauties, indoor plants that clean the air

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter cactus all do a stellar job of cleaning the air while putting out beautiful blooms during the darkest months of the year. 

They are easy to propagate and come in a large variety of bloom colors!

Related: Whats the difference between a Christmas Cactus and a Thanksgiving Cactus

Larger Plants that clean indoor air

One last plant family for indoors that works wonders is Palms. 

The best air purifier is the Dwarf date palm, but the others such as Lady Palm, Areca Palm, and Bamboo Palm work well too, I have been less successful with growing palms in my home so I don’t have any photos.

But maybe you will do better and can enjoy their benefits too.

Fiddle Leaf fig is a popular one but they can also tend to be finicky if moved, they are a variety of Ficus, which is notorious for being fussy about getting moved around.

Do you wish to brighten a dreary winter day.
Try some African Violets…they will blossom through the winter given proper care.

African Violet 1

they are affordable and come in so many colors. Here are just a few I found online

African Violets,
Hirts Gardens
The Violet Barn

You can also find them many times in grocery stores. Our local Save Mart has had some beautiful ones.

This has been written from the perspective of your home but house plants are also very beneficial in a workplace or office building.

I wish you happier, healthier breathing!

Note: There have been updates to how well plants do or do not clean the air and there is much debate. The NASA tests were done in a controlled environment and may not reflect how they truly do in the home situation.

Since I began oil painting I have purchased an indoor purifier to be sure and clean our air, especially in my small painting space. This one has worked very well for us even during the fire season when heavy smoke blanketed our area for weeks on end.

More Plant Goodness to Enjoy
How to Grow Peace Lily
Overwinter your Favorite Plants
Caring for your Holiday Cactus

Scrub the air in your home, naturally! Great for allergy sufferers and those that want more oxygen to breathe.

See this report for even more benefits: 15 Fabulous Benefits of Houseplants

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  1. Palms are so easy to grow! I have a flat that’s South West facing and north in bathroom and kitchen and only get some sun, I’m not great with plants but my area and parlour are doing great. But they don’t like tap water much.

  2. Yes about 40 years ago I had many house plants and some macrame holders. It was alot of fun caring for the plants. I much more enjoy getting out in the yard and tending to my plants now. I do have 2 or 3 house plants now and I’m always opening windows, doors etc… to air out my home. Really works except when very cold so I guess my plants will help with indoor air.

  3. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh my I have some of these in my home and I will have to add a few more that I do not have God bless and thank you for great info

  4. Margie Dulany says:

    Dusting is my least favorite household chore. Bleh! It would be awesome to have these plants just to cut out dusting! 😊
    Thanks for the post.
    Margie Dulany

  5. Nothing like familiar faces (or plants) to make a new space feel like home! I am on the look out for some macrame plant hangers to bring back memories, my cousin used to make them way back when and I find them nostalgic and homey.

  6. My mom had most of these plants in our house while I was growing up. I just moved into a new house and I hate the smell of the air. Maybe some if these plants will be a good addition to making the air clean and bringing homey feeling to a new place!

    Thanks for this valuable info!!


  7. I am blessed with many of these lovelies. I think I may add a few more now since reading all of these benefits. Enjoy and breathe deeply! ;0D

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