Home Gardening Blog

Houseplants for Clean Air

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Houseplants for Clean Air
We get lots of questions in the Kemper Center but these questions made me stop and think...’Do houseplants help purify the air?’, ‘What houseplants help neutralize toxins in my house?’, and ‘Where do these toxins come from?’

Houseplants may decrease your risk of cancers, asthma, allergies and other diseases. People are always trying to find ways to neutralize the chemicals used in their homes. They want to be as ‘GREEN’ as possible. Houseplants are very ‘GREEN’. All houseplants purify indoor air to some degree with normal photosynthesis. But some do more by removing harmful household toxins, some report even 90% of chemicals in the air within 24 hours.

The main household toxins are: 1. benzene; 2. formaldehyde; and 3. trichloroethylene. There are carcinogenic chemicals used in the manufacturing of synthetic substances and materials. Depending on the materials or products, the off-gas is emitted from the new materials for several years. Benzene can also come from using your gas range.

When choosing plants, a 10- to 12-inch potted plant covers about 100 sq. feet of your home. Cluster your plant display throughout your home for the most effective air purification. The Kemper Fact Sheet  titled ‘Indoor Plants or Houseplants’ (in the 'Containers & Indoor Plants' section) can help you choose plants by the amount of sun and water needed to keep them happy. More information regarding your plants can be found on Plant Finder.

Here are a few plants that help purify your home:




Aloe Vera


Removes formaldehyde.

Use for burns on the skin.

Peperomia obtusifolia

Baby Rubber Plant

Removes formaldehyde.

Has high oxygen content.

Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis

Boston Fern (pictured)

Removes formaldehyde.

Natural humidifier.
Best air purifying houseplant.

Aglaonema sp.

Chinese Evergreen

Removes benzene and formaldehyde.

Has high oxygen content.

Hedera helix

English Ivy

Removes carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, and detergents. Removes benzene and formaldehyde.

Good for asthma and allergies.

Epipremnum aureum

Golden Pothos

Removes carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.

Helps air quality.

Dracaena marginata

Dragon Tree

Removes carcinogen found in synthetic materials, and cigarette smoke. Removes benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.



Moth Orchid

Removes formaldehyde.


Spathiphyllum sp.

Peace Lily

Removes benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene and mold spores in the air.

Perfect for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Philodendron scandens

Heart-leaf Philodendron

Removes formaldehyde.

Best type of houseplant.

Sansevieria trifasciata

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

Removes formaldehyde.

Absorbs nitrogen oxides.

Chlorophytum comosum

Spider Plant

Removes carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde.


Ficus benjamina

Weeping Fig

Removes common airborne toxins.

Increases oxygen levels.

Schefflera arboricola

Umbrella Tree

Removes benzene.


Debbie Kirkpatrick, Kemper Horticulture Assistant

| Categories: Winter | Tags: houseplants, toxins, air polution, indoor plants | View Count: (9216) | Return
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