Natural Air Cleaning Tips

As we head into the cooler months keeping the air clean inside your home becomes more challenging when you can’t open the windows for fresh clean air.

This August, researchers from the American Chemical Society presented findings on a study that demonstrated how house plants are the ideal solution for cleaning the air within homes and buildings by lowering volatile organic compounds (VOCs) inside homes that can result in increased dizziness, asthma or allergies.

The most common chemicals found throughout the home are benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Chemicals like these come from household products like particle board, gas stoves, paint, nail polish and much more. While low levels of exposure are typically harmless, clean air can benefit everyone in the home long-term.

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Using plants to remove chemicals from indoor air is a process that NASA began studying in the 80’s and as a result it’s common knowledge that houseplants can improve air quality. This new study is taking the research on clean air one step further, testing to determine what plants work best in specific areas of the home. Full findings have not been released to the public but the plants listed below are included in the research program.

Best Plants For Clean Air


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This tall growing plant is 94% effective at removing acetone from the air. If you regularly paint your nails or remove polish at home, place a dracaena in the room where you work. There are over 40 types of Dracaena so pick one that best suits your decor and how tall you wish for it to grow.


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The best plant for use throughout the home is the bromeliad. Researchers found that the bromeliad removed over 80% of in-home pollutants in a 12 hour period. A native tropical plant, bromeliad have bright flowers and do best when regularly misted with a water bottle or placed near a humidifier.

 Spider Plants

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Researchers found that spider plants removed pollutants faster than other plants in the study. As a hanging plant they can easily be added to any room of the house and do best when the soil is kept moist.


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This easy to care for succulent was best at removing chemicals found in paint thinners. If you plan to paint your home, adding a jade plant can help lower levels of toluene by 91%. As a succulent, regular watering is not as important with the plant but Jade should receive enough sunlight to grow properly.

Peace Lily

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One of the easiest houseplants to grow, peace lilies remove up to five common kinds of indoor pollutants, including ammonia and formaldehyde. These plants require indirect light and the leaves will droop letting you know when they are in need of water.

 Rubber Tree

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Rubber tree plants can grow up to 50 feet tall but most young plants start around 12 to 14 inches tall and regular pruning will prevent it from outgrowing your house. Rubber trees remove formaldehyde and do well in low light environments. The leaves can be toxic to indoor pets so make sure to place them well out of reach of any animals.

In addition to the benefits of purifying the air, filling your home with plants is something you can enjoy and use to add a creative touch to your decor. Look for empty spaces that could use some greenery and start adding air purifying beauty to each room!

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Plants make the perfect end cap to a shelf full of books or as a centerpiece on a coffee table. Use colorful pots that complement the colors throughout the rest of the room and allow new houseplants to be the finishing touch in each area of your home.

Tips for Cleaning Air With House Plants

  • For every 100 square feet of the home, use one 10 to 12 inch potted plant.
  • Dust leaves regularly to help with air cleaning production.
  • Use pots with good drainage to prevent mold growth.
  • Ensure proper sunlight to allow for photosynthesis.
  • Fertilize indoor plants four times per year.
  • Use a good mix of plant types to ensure the removal of all varieties of airborne toxins.
Ready to add plants to your home? Check out this list of plant toxins for you to watch out with your pets.

Sources: NIH, Nature World News

Photo credit: Pixabay, Forest and Kim StarrTree Village, Madais

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