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9 Cleansing House Plants to Detoxify the Air in Your Home

Elizabeth Renter
January 23rd, 2014
Updated 05/06/2014 at 10:23 pm
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nature plants purify 263x166 9 Cleansing House Plants to Detoxify the Air in Your HomePollution isn’t only a concern when you’re outdoors—it’s a concern in your home as well. From the carpet on the floor to the cleaning products you might use, there are numerous contaminants that could be infiltrating your domicile. Ideally you would replace these toxic substances with less toxic counterparts, but that isn’t always practical. Fortunately, research has shown certain houseplants to have air-purifying effects that can make it easier to breathe while beautifying your surroundings.

Researcher Kamal Meattle is an environmental advocate and air quality innovator in his native India. There, he advocates for “massive banks of plants instead of massive banks of HVAC equipment” for cleaning the air. He and others interested in natural air-cleaning methods have identified several plants that are great for removing toxins, including carcinogens from the air.

Meattle calls Areca Palm the “living room plant” because it is a daytime “oxygen factory”, according to MindBodyGreen. He recommends having four of these plants in the home per resident.

He recommends Mother-in-Law’s Tongue as the “bedroom plant” as it is a nighttime oxygen maker. Making your room resemble a tropical forest, he recommends having six to eight waist-high plants per person.

Finally, Meattle recommends Money Plants as “the specialist plant” which is able to filter formaldehyde and several other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from the air.

Read: 5 Air-Purifying Plants for Your Home

A NASA study from several years ago also identified houseplants that have air-purifying effects in the home. That agency, which should know a thing or two about having quality, breathable air, recommends:

  • Devil’s ivy
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue
  • Peace lilies
  • Ficus
  • Snake plants
  • Gerbera daisies

The NASA research reveals:

“In this study the leaves, roots, soil, and associated microorganisms of plants have been evaluated as a possible means of reducing indoor air pollutants. Additionally, a novel approach of using plants systems for removing high concentrations of indoor air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, organic solvents, and possibly radon has been designed from this work.”

Additional houseplants that are relatively easy to grow and can help filter the air include: the purple waffle plant, English ivy, variegated wax plant, asparagus fern, spider plant, red-edge dracaena, bamboo palm, and chrysanthemum.

From around the web:

  • bdeja

    Unfortunately most of these plants are not pet friendly.

  • Name

    Here is the Devils Ivy, also known as Golden Pothos and proper name is Epipremnum aureum Just have to Google the rest. I better not tie up the whole comments section with each!

  • Daisy

    BUT many of these plants are poisonous to cats and/or dogs. Check pet poison hotline first:

  • Terri Lee

    Thank you, we have all had sickness due to mold in an apt we got out of. I knew why i was sick….but one of my dogs has been getting sores from the situation. I am using coconut oil and black seed oil and it heals sores quickly but the ones around her mouth are bad! We have been out about a month and most symptoms have subsided .. thamk you for the plant list!

  • Maria

    Would be nice to see pictures of all these plants.

    • RandomDudeMon

      Specially since “mother in laws tongue” is also nick named “Snake plant” as well.
      Scientific names are given for a reason.