The Best Houseplants to Purify Your Home's Air

A spider plant on a table.

While you probably aren’t thinking of the air in your home as toxic, it can actually be quite harmful to your health. And, toxic air quality is more common than you’d think—indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health.

Living in such conditions without doing anything to rectify the situation can be harmful, potentially causing something referred to as “sick building syndrome,” which is known to cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye, ear, and nose irritation.

Luckily, there are quite simple and easy measures that can be taken to ensure the air you breathe while in the comfort of your own home is safe and clean. One of these solutions includes using houseplants to naturally purify the air, which is convenient as they do all the work for you!

Continue reading below for information on which plants will purify your air just by being present in your home.

1. Peace Lily

A close-up of a peace lily flower.

These are an aesthetically pleasing plant that pack some serious punch. What also makes them a great choice is that they're easy to grow. Peace lilies do best in a shady spot, and their soil should be kept continuously moist (but not too soggy). The white flowers silently work away to eliminate toxins such as ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the atmosphere of your home. This will save you and your loved ones from symptoms such as decreased red blood cells, headaches, dizziness, and sleepiness. To counter their air-purifying quality, though, keep in mind that peace lilies do deposit both pollen and floral scents into the air, so it's best to have only one or two of them in your home.

2. Garden Mum

These plants have an array of benefits, the first being that they are inexpensive so you can really stock your home with them. NASA research shows that mums remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air of your home. Garden mums are also relatively easy to care for, as they should be kept in a dry area and watered several times a week from underneath the leaves. Once they have fully bloomed inside your home they can be moved and planted outside to add to your landscaping and garden.

3. Bamboo Palm

A bamboo palm in an orange pot.

This is a less traditional plant, but one you will enjoy having in your home for an array of reasons. If you have ample space or rooms that receive abundant sunlight, these plants will flourish in your home. They thrive in bright environments and can grow to be quite large—up to 12 feet tall! Because they grow to be large, these quickly eat away at toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, leaving the air of your home cleaner than ever before. They're also pet-friendly, which is an added bonus.

4. Spider Plant

This is one of the simplest houseplants to keep, and is a notably great choice for those who are new to having plants and may be a bit forgetful when it comes to maintenance. For best results, spider plans should be placed somewhere that receives bright, indirect sunlight, as that is what allows the plant to flourish. These plants should be watered a couple times a week, but so not often that the soil is soggy. Spider plants are known to relieve the air of formaldehyde and xylene. Repeated and prolonged exposure to these toxins can have harmful effects on your health, causing eye and throat irritation, lung problems, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

5. Dracaena Plant

A dracaena in a pot on a table.

There are over 40 kinds of Dracaena plants. These are attractive plants to keep in your home, with leaves that often contain lines of white, cream, or red. They are known to silently kill toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene—which is pretty impressive for just one plant! Care for this plant includes placing it in a container with drainage holes, and setting it in a bright area that does not receive direct sunlight. Keep in mind that these plants do not require much watering and that their soil should never be soggy. Only water these when their soil feels dry, using a generous amount of tepid water. One important thing to note about dracaenas is that they are toxic to cats and dogs, so pet owners beware!

It can be intimidating to know that the air within your own home may contain toxins that are potentially harmful to you and your loved ones. The addition of these houseplants is not only a nice touch to the aesthetic of your home, but makes it easy to purify your air without having to put in much time, money, or effort.