9 Houseplants That Clean The Air And Are Nearly Impossible To Kill

What’s green, enjoys the sunshine, drinks water and can improve the quality of air in your house? If you guessed a houseplant, then you are correct!

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution is one of the greatest risks to public health. On the surface, it may not look like anything is taking place, but, when the air is stale, pollution can build up and attach itself to items around your house. If this goes untreated, your health can be at risk.

You do not have to start an entire garden, still, adding a few houseplants throughout your home can significantly improve indoor air quality. Here’re 9 houseplants that eat up pollution.

Spider Plant

spider-plant

Besides its cool name, the spider plant is a great place to start for beginners. All these plants need are water and indirect sunlight, and they will flourish. Once they store up enough energy, they will begin producing flowers that turn into baby spider plants aka spiderettes. Soon you’ll have tons of spider plants all over.

Peace Lily

peace lily cc

One word sums up the peace lily, and that is “beautiful.” This houseplant is darn near impossible to kill and will improve the quality of air in your house. To keep the peace lily healthy, provide it with water and damp soil. The plant will do the rest of the work, removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air in your home.

Snake Plant/Mother-in-law’s Tongue

snake-plant

You’ll see this plant in many offices, restaurants and homes because they are easy to take care of, impossible to kill and don’t need much sunlight. They remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene from indoor air.

Garden Mum

NASA named this houseplant as one of the most air purifying plants in existence. They are relatively easy to maintain and cheap to buy. They remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air in your house.

Dracaena

Dracaena_reflexaSong_of_India1

The dracaena is a great plant for your house, unless you have pets, as they are toxic to both cats and dogs. There are over 40 different kinds of dracaena plants that all remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene from the air. The hard part is picking which kind you like best.

Ficus

ficus-plant

The Ficus houseplant typically stands between 2 to 10 feet tall and can be grown both indoors and outdoors. The ficus removes benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from indoor air.

Boston Fern

Are you looking for a way to clean up the air in your bathroom? Then the Boston fern is the perfect thing for you. This houseplant grows best in chilled places with high humidity and indirect sunlight. They remove pollutants like xylene and formaldehyde from the air.

Bamboo Palm

If you are looking for a houseplant that doesn’t grow too big or tall, then the bamboo palm plant is not for you. They can grow to be up to 12 feet tall! However, with their length and reach, they are excellent air filters. They remove benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air.

Aloe Vera

aloe-vera-cc

You might have encountered aloe vera lotion or shampoo while browsing the aisles of your favorite supermarket. The base ingredient comes from aloe vera the plant. This plant is small it stature but is a powerful air filter, and grows wonderfully near windows throughout all seasons. It is even an excellent choice in New England, Canada, and Northern Europe — when the weather is icy outside, aloe vera will help your home looking beautiful and your air clean, inside.

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7 comments
Edward ORourke - November 18, 2016

mind sharing your scientific proof? I’ll share mine. I have a Foobot air quality monitor. We started tracking air quality when we had our baby. The air in our home wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either. We started adding plants to the bedroom starting with about 8 plants a mix of those mentioned in the article because they were recommended as easy to maintain. Within several months the quality of the air in the bedroom absolutely got better. We’re sleeping better less stuffy nose nights. It worked well enough that we added more plants throughout the entire house… roughly 8 plants per room. The air improved even further. I’ve always wanted plants but kill everything. These are foolproof snake plants just don’t die no matter what you do to them. Aloe is the second strongest. They make the rooms look beautiful too. It’s a win win. So now how about giving me your real life experience that proves it’s nonsense?

Reply
    Hey Kid - November 18, 2016

    First off, your “proof” is hardly “scientific”. At best, its anecdotal. At worst, you’re lying. The Foobot monitor is typically used to aid in the automation of other air cleaning technologies, like filters or fan systems (which is awesome). Using a 200 dollar device simply to monitor the progress of filtration via plant uptake over the course of months seems… disingenuous. There are a lot of dumb people out there though, so maybe you did just blow the money to look at graphs on an app on your phone, who knows!

    —————————

    As for the science, you mentioned that your “air quality” increased – and you used an air quality monitor that measures VOCs, PMs, Humidity, and Temperature. If there was an increase in air quality, it would be because of a decrease in VOCs and PMs (humidity and temperature are not used to calculate this index, if they are – throw out the device!).

    Plants cannot filter particulate matter, that should be obvious. This leaves VOCs, which plants can (sort of) filter. If there was a change – it was because of the filtration of the VOCs (like benzene).

    However, VOCs do NOT cause stuffy noses. They do NOT decrease sleep quality. They can cause cancer or can exacerbate other health issues (like asthma), they are also noxious and can kill you in high concentrations.

    There was a paper on this by Orwell, et al (2004), which found that the presence of plants like those mentioned in this article does result in the reduction of VOCs. However, the major finding was that it was not the PLANTS, but rather the microorganisms which existed in the soil, supported by the environment provided to them by their interaction with the plant itself. These bacteria used the VOCs as a sort of “food”. They then went on to espouse the virtues of creating substrates of these microrganism soil environments for the use of air cleaning. So, yeah – its not the plants, but having them is helpful to introduce those particular microorganisms… IF YOUR HOUSE IS FULL OF BENZENE (protip: its probably not.)

    Further, you imply that your air quality improved over time… but Orwell (2004) states that VOC removal via both plant and soil slurry was around 95-97% in 24hrs. Hmm… that doesn’t go well with “within several months”.

    The most probable explanation here, if you aren’t using a filter (which I think you might be) or other air movement device, is that you introduced something into your home which was releasing small amounts of benzene (which is often used in the industrial production of many things) into the air, and that its emissions reduced over time. Your Foobot picked this up, recorded it, and bam, Air quality improvement!

    Basically, that device was built to get people like you to feel good about not knowing anything because it pumps out colorful graphs based on variables you don’t understand.

    “Oooh downward trend?? Honey! Were doing it right! See… it says its better!”

    ……………..Ugh.

    So lets review Mr. Scientist:

    – Plants don’t filter particulate matter, filters do.
    – Plants don’t filter VOCs, bacteria “eats” it.
    – Your improved air quality is, probably, due to a decrease in PMs (filter/fan) or the existence of something that had emittable VOCs in it and does not anymore.
    – Correlation does not imply causation.

    —————————

    Your anecdotal evidence is meaningless. You know nothing about science, obviously. “Real life experience”…. Really????

    Please don’t pollute the internet with dumb shit.

    Sincerely,

    An (actual) random Scientist on the internet.

    Source:

    Orwell, R.L., Wood, R.L., Tarran, J. et al. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution (2004) 157: 193. doi:10.1023/B:WATE.0000038896.55713.5b

    Reply
      Edward ORourke - November 18, 2016

      I didn’t claim my info was scientific… I asked YOU for scientific proof your claim was. It’s obvious my information is anecdotal, amazing you could see that.

      You make grand assumptions about my home and where I live. I live in Bayonne, NJ. I assure you there has been a benzene problem here you can verify it online. The air quality is terrible. My family lives here so I don’t have a huge choice in leaving since we don’t want to live away from our family.

      I don’t care if it’s the plants or microorganisms. After introducing plants into our home the air quality improved. Evidenced by not only the “colorful graphs” of a useless, expensive air quality monitor but by the overall health of my family.

      A baby can’t lie… after putting plants in the bedroom she slept much better. I sleep better and my wife who gets yearly bronchitis hasn’t had as bad an attack.

      Plants produce oxygen we keep our windows closed almost 100% of the time because, like I said ,our air is polluted. No matter how much oxygen is produced it’s more than it would normally be without them. Plants reduce carbon dioxide… no matter how little you feel it may be doing it’s more than it would be without them.

      If it’s microorganisms handling VOCs bonus! something has reduced the levels. YAY microorganisms who cares what is doing it. It’s the introduction of the plants that brought the beneficial microorganisms so either way you need healthy living plants to maintain the beneficial microorganisms.

      Yes we do have air filters the Homedics Hepa filter. There is one right next to the Foobot has never raised the VOC levels to any noticeable level. Again we have filters because we keep our windows closed.

      It’s sad that you need to resort to name calling and rude comments rather than just state your case… It certainly diminishes your credibility in my eyes and I’m sure others would agree.

      So you have possibly given some insight as to why it may make a difference due to microorganisms… Essentially you have proven the case that having plants in your home does in fact help your air quality directly and inadvertently.

      Thank you… someone that has real life anecdotal proof it has helped our home.

      Reply
        Hey Kid - November 18, 2016

        You aren’t very bright are you? You literally misinterpreted everything I said. So here, breaking it down Barney style:

        1. “I didn’t claim my info was scientific… I asked YOU for scientific proof your claim was. It’s obvious my information is anecdotal, amazing you could see that.”

        -> “mind sharing your scientific proof? I’ll share mine. I have a Foobot air quality monitor.”

        Breakdown: “I’ll share mine” = I have scientific proof. Sarcasm fail.

        2. “You make grand assumptions about my home and where I live.”

        Breakdown:
        -I never made any assumptions about where you lived, only if you had an air filter based on the data you said the Foobot gave you. Also, I grew up in Paterson, btw, so I know about Bayonne.

        3. “I don’t care if it’s the plants or microorganisms. After introducing plants into our home the air quality improved.”

        Breakdown:
        -You stated it went down “over time”, Orwell (2004) states that it reduces levels by 95-97% over 24hrs… not “over time”
        – The improvement is not likely due to VOCs filtration, which is what bacteria does, but rather your filters.

        4. “Yes we do have air filters the Homedics Hepa filter. ”

        Breakdown:

        – I knew it.
        – Improvement in air quality is due to the filters, NOT the plants. The filters are filtering particulate matter (dust, smoke, allergens) – thereby improving air quality, not the plants.

        5. “There is one right next to the Foobot has never raised the VOC levels to any noticeable level.”

        Breakdown:

        – Filters don’t raise VOC levels… did I seriously need to type that out?

        6. “It certainly diminishes your credibility in my eyes”

        Breakdown:
        – I am a college professor with over 75 papers to my credit. Do you really think I care what some dbag from shitty Bayonne thinks about my credibility? Hahaha
        – This is for anyone who comes here believing that PLANTS will improve air quality in their home – not you.

        7.” No matter how much oxygen is produced it’s more than it would normally be without them. Plants reduce carbon dioxide… no matter how little you feel it may be doing it’s more than it would be without them.”

        Breakdown
        – I can’t even. I just can’t.

        7. “Essentially you have proven the case that having plants in your home does in fact help your air quality directly and inadvertently.”

        Breakdown:
        – Hey glad I could help!
        – They don’t improve air quality, the bacteria in their soil does.
        – Here is an analogy: Tylenol is made out of sugar and a small amount of acetaminophen, therefore take sugar when you have a fever.

        Reply
          Edward ORourke - November 18, 2016

          So far the only thing you prove repeatedly is you lack class and are disrespectful. By the way I went to see Paterson Falls one you have a lot of balls to think paterson is nicer than bayonne but that’s not the point.

          You can’t be civilized if you tried can you? Some one that claims to be so intelligent you sure have a wonderful use of language. Your use of insults and expletives gives you away.

          I asked you for your scientific proof… I’ll share my “proof” never said mine was scientific sorry you assumed too much.

          You most certainly have made assumptions and you have once again. First you assumed the quality of the air where I live and what type of toxins could be in it without introducing them via a second hand source such as you mentioned an air filter device. Second you assumed I had the air filters before the plants. The filters are new. The air quality improved prior to the introduction of the filters. The filters only helped further.

          I didn’t sit and watch my air quality graphs daily or even weekly. I noticed a difference and checked if it was any different than prior to the plants. There was an improvement after introducing plants and prior to the filters.

          Adding oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide doesn’t improve air quality? You’re the random science guy here you know best I suppose.

          Again you make your own point with your tylenol “analogy”… The small amount of acetaminophen DOES make a difference than taking plain sugar. Just as the small amount of oxygen produced and carbon dioxide is reduced make a difference. Bonus the microbes in the soil you claim do the rest help reduce VOCs. So again you actually support that having plants in your home do in fact improve air quality both directly and indirectly.

          I have no further need to argue with an obvious troll. I posted my real world findings for the same reason you posted your intellectually inspired “fucking nonsense” I have to admit that was extremely helpful quality information.

          I suppose other visitors that read these posts will have to decide for themselves. At least there are two points of view for them review.

          Enjoy trolling I’m sure you will have yet another amazing reply. Have fun…

          Reply
          Edward ORourke - November 18, 2016

          So far the only thing you prove repeatedly is you lack of class and are disrespectful. By the way I went to see Paterson Falls once, you have a lot of balls to think paterson is nicer than bayonne but that’s not the point.

          You can’t be civilized if you tried can you? Some one that claims to be so intelligent you sure have a wonderful use of language. Your use of insults and expletives gives you away.

          I asked you for your scientific proof… I’ll share my “proof” never said mine was scientific sorry you assumed too much.

          You most certainly have made assumptions and you have once again. First you assumed the quality of the air where I live and what type of toxins could be in it without introducing them via a second hand source such as you mentioned an air filter device. Second you assumed I had the air filters before the plants. The filters are new. The air quality improved prior to the introduction of the filters. The filters only helped further.

          I didn’t sit and watch my air quality graphs daily or even weekly. I noticed a difference and checked if it was any different than prior to the plants. There was an improvement after introducing plants and prior to the filters.

          Adding oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide doesn’t improve air quality? You’re the random science guy here you know best I suppose.

          Again you make your own point with your tylenol “analogy”… The small amount of acetaminophen DOES make a difference than taking plain sugar. Just as the small amount of oxygen produced and carbon dioxide is reduced make a difference. Bonus the microbes in the soil you claim do the rest help reduce VOCs. So again you actually support that having plants in your home do in fact improve air quality both directly and indirectly.

          I have no further need to argue with an obvious troll. I posted my real world findings for the same reason you posted your intellectually inspired “fucking nonsense” I have to admit that was extremely helpful quality information.

          I suppose other visitors that read these posts will have to decide for themselves. At least there are two points of view for them review.

          Enjoy trolling I’m sure you will have yet another amazing reply. Have fun…

          Reply
          Hey Kid - November 18, 2016

          -Paterson is a dump. I left there when I went to college and never looked back. But you on the other hand are raising your child in Beneze infested Bayonne (apparently) and refuse to leave, lol. Parent of the year award right there! BTW, two words you never hear in the same sentence (outside of NJ) is Bayonne and class.

          – Nobody claimed to be intelligent… do you think i’m intelligent? Whatever, it doesn’t matter – language is not a indicator of intelligence anyway, and this is not a dick measuring contest about who has a better vocabulary. Besides there are bodies of research based evidence indicating that effective use of pejorative language in the proper syntactical mode is beneficial and correlates positively to greater IQ scores, but I digress…

          -” I asked you for your scientific proof… I’ll share my ‘proof'” is not what you wrote – you wrote “mind sharing your scientific proof? I’ll share mine” That’s like a woman saying “Let me see your dick. I’ll share mine.” and then going on to claim that its crazy that you thought she was a tranny. Its total nonsense, and a garbage argument.

          -I never mentioned or made any assumptions about where you lived in my first post to you. Nor did I mention anything about air filters introducing “second hand” toxins. How is that even possible??? WTF are you talking about? Quote it, Bayonne.

          – I have already given you enough information as to why your mickey mouse “air quality” detector may have given off readings of enhanced VOC content. Once again, I point you to the time series data which nullifies your hypothesis completely. If you can’t understand that, maybe you should come take one of my dynamical systems courses at my University (oh wait, they would probably turn your application into a paper airplane.)

          – And wtf is this about “adding” oxygen and “reducing” carbon dioxide? Those plants are doing fuck-all. Do you realize the amount of oxygen produced by one house plant per day is equivalent to about 3 human breaths – WTF are you even talking about? You would need (roughly) 500 plants to sustain you in a SEALED environment. 8 plants in a bedroom? Come on.

          – And you totally missed the Tylenol analogy (of course) – I guess I should explain, since i’m dealing with someone who has the intellect of a McDonalds drive thru clerk. Tylenol is acetaminophen. The pill itself is comprised of a dextrose (sugar) substrate, and the acetaminophen is blended into it in order to allow you a big enough pill to swallow. IF YOU JUST TAKE SUGAR, THERE IS NO FEVER REDUCING EFFECT – YOU NEED THE ACETAMINOPHEN. Plants are the same way… Have all the plants you want – its the bacteria “bro”, the plants do nothing. IF YOU JUST HAVE PLANTS, THERE IS NO VOC REDUCING EFFECT – YOU NEED THE SOIL. And before you say something stupid – yes, plants can be grown without soil – its called hydroponics… Like the kind that produced the weed you likely smoked prior to arguing with me.

          – Finally, you keep repeating ” you actually support that having plants in your home do in fact improve air quality both directly and indirectly” – NO, they do not improve air quality directly. But indirectly? NO SHIT, here is my exact statement “So, yeah its not the plants, but having them is helpful to introduce those particular microorganisms… ” So, wtf are you going on about?

          “Idiot 1: Hey bro lets get drunk, I have beer – Idiot 2: We cant get drunk without beer – Idiot 1: I have beer – Idiot 2: We cant get drunk without beer” Read: my aim is to reduce the influence that nonsensical articles like this one have on unassuming readers, in perpetuity. You are just the deer that ran in front of the bus, don’t think so highly of yourself.

          ————————————————-

          To anyone who reads this, know that the above “person” is from and continues to reside in New Jersey, the most intellectually stunted state in the nation. Home to Chris Christie, Tony Soprano, Snookie, and Fetty Wap. Please take that into consideration before deciding to put 500 plants in your room to stimulate oxygenation and “improve air quality”.

          – Last response from me, please forward any further correspondence to your local Kindergarten teacher.

          Reply
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