Can Houseplants Clean the Air?

young woman caring for houseplants

Whether used as a decorative accent or for physical and mental health benefits, we love our houseplants. They provide us with life inside of four walls and a clean escape without leaving our home. But do houseplants really help us create better air to breathe in?

Some houseplants are effective natural air purifiers. According to research, the rate of air purification depends on the leaf surface area of the plants. This benefit is why houseplants are so popular for certain areas of the house that may need some extra attention. 

Houseplants can offer endless assistance to the health of individuals who choose to care for them. Being able to breathe easier in your own home, treat ailments with ease and convenience and have a sight of real life within your house can help you in many ways. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of houseplants, their ability to clean air, and how to make the most of these beautiful living species.

Why do we Need Cleaner Air Indoors?

Black woman breathing deeply

You might be wondering why clean air matters and how it is that your air may not be entirely clean right now. These are good questions to ask!

Is My Air Clean?

We have a variety of items in our homes that tend to hold onto chemicals, toxins, dust, and all of the other things that get transported in and out of our living spaces. These harmful pollutants can be found in our carpet, our mattresses, our couches, and even on harder surfaces that don’t seem porous. These components can cause health issues that can exacerbate allergies, asthma, and even our overall health. While this is extra concerning for those who have already been diagnosed with a medical condition, it is also worrisome for those who simply want to live a healthier life. 

Why I Need Help Cleaning My Air

Vacuuming and dusting aren’t enough. Oftentimes with these simple house-cleaning methods, we are unfortunately moving the toxins and dust around and only getting a small portion of it up and in the trash. Additionally, there is not enough movement in the air within our homes to remove the toxins without assistance. These are some of the reasons we need a better method for cleansing our air.

How Do Houseplants Clean Air?

houseplants on table with green home sign

Houseplants are incredibly powerful at non-stop cleaning and purifying air. These abilities are useful not only in homes but can also be pertinent in workspaces and other indoor areas. Before you go out and spend a ton of money on an air purifier, consider adding houseplants to your home.

Indoor plants are able to remove pollutants from the air, solely by existing in the same space. Houseplants can also take in carbon dioxide, reducing toxic amounts from your living space that may be harmful to humans and pets. These abilities allow your air to be cleaner and easier to breathe in and process by the body. 

Another benefit of indoor plants is the amount of oxygen they put back into the air. We know that trees give the planet oxygen, and the same is true for the plants that are living in your space. They regularly produce and release oxygen for continuous fresh air in the area.

The Best Indoor Plants for Cleaning and Purifying Air

Like air cleaning products on the market, houseplants are not all created equal. Thankfully, a substantial amount of research has been done to give us the best ideas on plants to add to our spaces for the most benefits. Let’s discuss some of these indoor plants, along with the benefits and caring techniques for each one.

Snake Plant

three snake plants in pots

An incredible air purifier, the snake plant is uniquely equipped to rid the air of toxins such as formaldehyde and xylene, allowing you to feel safer breathing in your home. It is different from some indoor plants in that it has an extra strong ability to release oxygen in the evening hours, making it a wonderful plant for bedrooms.

A fairly popular and easy plant to care for, snake plants should be placed by a window and watered only about once a week. It’s not picky about its own home and can easily feel comfortable in a basket or a pot. Snake plants can be found at nearly any store that sells plants.

Bamboo Plant

bamboo plant on white background

Much different from the snake plant, the bamboo plant’s superpower is its ability to produce moisture in the air. This is especially important in dryer climates and in the colder months of the year. Bamboo plants can become quite large, and this growth should be expected within placement. Like most plants, bamboo plants thrive near windows, but be careful to avoid direct sunlight. Water bamboo plants regularly and take care to moisten leaves when watering with a light setting on a water sprayer. 

Peace Lily

Similar to snake plants, the peace lily is known to remove harmful toxins such as ammonia from the air.  It has an added benefit of growing beautiful fragrant flowers. This indoor plant offers an aesthetically pleasing look while cleaning your air! 

Keeping the leaves clean enhances the peace lily’s ability to purify air, so make sure to regularly wipe the plant down. Caring for a peace lily plant requires a shaded space and regularly moist soil. This is one plant that you must be careful with, as it can be poisonous if consumed by small children or pets.

Lady Palm

Lady palm in pot on white background

This indoor plant is less common yet is highly efficient at purifying air. Lady palm plants are one of the best at ridding the air of xylene, formaldehyde, ammonia and other toxins. The plant does get fairly large and will need space to accommodate this size. Giving the plant a great window space with indirect sun and plenty of water will help you keep your lady palm alive longer.

Bamboo Palm

Great for getting benzene and formaldehyde, as well as other toxins out of the air, the bamboo palm is a great addition to your home. This plant can reach up to 6 feet tall and is more versatile with it’s sun needs, as artificial light can also work to keep it alive. Regular watering and snipping off dead parts will help your bamboo palm flourish.

Weeping Fig

weeping fig ficus benjamina

The weeping fig doesn’t only have a cool name- it also does an amazing job at cleaning our air of formaldehyde and other toxins. This plant can grow tall but is slow-growing and can be stunted if needed. Placing the plant directly in a sunny window and watering regularly will help your weeping fig do its job.

Spider Plant

spider plant in pot

One of the more popular and easy-to-find plants for indoors, the spider plant is also fantastic at purifying air. This plant traps carbon monoxide and other toxins, while also helping individuals with dust allergies. Caring for spider plants is simple: indirect window sunlight and regular watering should do the trick to give your spider plant a long and productive life.

Final Thoughts

Purifying and cleaning the air we breathe in is important for our everyday health and our ability to fight illnesses. Adding indoor plants to your living space can help you accomplish cleaner air and has the added benefit of beautifying your area. The research has shown great improvement in air quality when plants are included in the room, in addition to improved mental health. Don’t skip out on this interior design and health strategy and go get some indoor plants to help you live your healthiest and happiest life.

Kate Inskeep

Kate Inskeep is a mom of three from Illinois who loves growing things. She fell in love with houseplants after a friend gifted her some succulents. Before long, her windowsills were full of plants, and she was hooked.

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