Indoor Plants that Clean the Air: A Guide to Natural Air Purification

Indoor plants not only bring a touch of nature into your home but can also have significant benefits for your health. Some plants are known for their air-purifying qualities, removing toxins and pollutants from the air naturally. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best indoor plants that clean the air and how they can improve your indoor air quality.

Understanding the Importance of Clean Air

Clean air is essential to good health and well-being. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths each year. Poor air quality can lead to respiratory problems, heart disease, stroke, and other serious health issues. While outdoor air pollution is a major concern, indoor air quality can also be a significant problem.

Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Common sources of indoor air pollution include:

Indoor plants can help remove common indoor air pollutants such as VOCs, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and radon. Growing indoor plants is a fun and rewarding hobby that requires proper care, including choosing the right location, watering regularly, providing proper drainage, using the right soil, and adding fertilizer. A variety of indoor plants with different air-purifying qualities can help ensure clean indoor air and promote good health.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are chemicals that can be found in many household products, including cleaning supplies, paints, and furniture. These chemicals can cause headaches, dizziness, and other health problems.


Formaldehyde is a common indoor air pollutant found in building materials and household products. It can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as more serious health problems over time.

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Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly in high concentrations. It can be produced by gas stoves, furnaces, and other fuel-burning appliances.


Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes through cracks in the foundation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer.

The Benefits of Indoor Plants

Plants are natural air purifiers that can help remove many of these indoor air pollutants. NASA conducted a study in the 1980s that found certain plants can remove up to 87% of indoor air pollutants in just 24 hours. Plants absorb pollutants through their leaves and roots, and then convert them into nutrients.

Some of the best indoor plants for air purification include:

  • Spider plant
  • Snake plant
  • Peace lily
  • Boston fern
  • Bamboo palm

Each of these plants has different air-purifying qualities, so it’s a good idea to have a variety of plants in your home.

Tips for Growing Indoor Plants

Growing indoor plants can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it’s important to take proper care of them to ensure they thrive. Here are some tips for growing healthy indoor plants:

Choose the right location

Most indoor plants need bright, indirect sunlight. Make sure to place your plants near a window that gets plenty of light, but avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Water regularly

Most indoor plants need to be watered once a week. Overwatering can be just as harmful as underwatering, so make sure to let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.

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Provide proper drainage

Make sure your plant has proper drainage. This means using a pot with drainage holes and placing a saucer underneath to catch excess water.

Use the right soil

Most indoor plants require well-draining soil. Regular potting soil can be too heavy and can prevent water from draining properly. Look for a soil mix specifically designed for indoor plants.

Add fertilizer

Indoor plants need to be fertilized regularly to ensure they get the nutrients they need. You can use a liquid fertilizer once a month or a slow-release fertilizer every three months.

FAQs for Indoor Plants that Clean the Air

What are indoor plants that clean the air?

Indoor plants that clean the air are houseplants that have the ability to improve indoor air quality. These plants can remove toxins and pollutants from the air such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene, formaldehyde, and ammonia. Examples of indoor plants that clean the air are spider plant, snake plant, peace lily, rubber plant, and golden pothos, among others.

How do indoor plants clean the air?

Indoor plants clean the air through a process called phytoremediation, which involves the plants’ ability to absorb pollutants and toxins through their leaves and roots, and metabolize or convert them into harmless substances. Plants also release moisture through transpiration, which can help increase humidity levels indoors and reduce the concentration of airborne bacteria and viruses.

What are the benefits of having indoor plants that clean the air?

The benefits of having indoor plants that clean the air are numerous. Improved indoor air quality can reduce respiratory problems, headaches, and fatigue, and promote overall well-being. Indoor plants can also help increase productivity and creativity, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance mood and concentration. In addition, indoor plants can add aesthetic value to any room, making it look fresher and more inviting.

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How many indoor plants do I need to clean the air in my home?

The number of indoor plants needed to clean the air in your home depends on several factors, such as the size of your home, the level of pollutants or toxins present, and the type of plants you choose. As a general rule, it is recommended to have at least one indoor plant per 100 square feet of living space. However, some experts suggest that having three to four plants per 100 square feet can provide optimal benefits.

Do indoor plants require special care?

Indoor plants that clean the air typically require the same care as other houseplants, including proper lighting, watering, and fertilization. Some indoor plants may require specific environmental conditions, such as high humidity or low light, and may benefit from occasional pruning or repotting. It is important to research each plant’s specific care requirements and to choose plants that fit your lifestyle and level of expertise in plant care.

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