Top house plants for purifying the air

top 7 house plants

These are the top house plants for purifying the air in your apartment or house. Plants are the ultimate decorative accessory and burst of colour for those in rented accommodation. In addition to the health benefits of house plants they are just plain lovely to look at. Plants are key in any work environment which is why I’m so plant-pro when it comes to desks – they purify, focus and promote easier breathing. These are the top house plants for purifying the air whilst you work.

Aloe Plant
Grows best in direct sunlight

The gel of the aloe plant has a number of healing properties and is great for burns and cuts as a natural anti inflammatory and antiseptic. It can also help clear the air of pollutants found in chemical cleaning products, and when the amount of harmful chemicals in the air becomes excessive, the plants’ leaves will display brown spots.

Rubber Plant
Grows even with dim lighting and cool temperatures

This is a favourite of mine – you can often pick these up relatively cheaply at flower markets and garden centres. I have one that perches on my bedside table to give a little colour to my light grey bedroom. Even better than purifying the air it is a powerful toxin eliminator and an all around hero plant as it is so low maintenance.

Bamboo Palm Plant
Grows best in indirect sunlight 

The attractive bamboo palm also made NASA’s list of top clean-air plants with a purifying score of 8.4. It’s also particularly effective at clearing out benzene and trichloroethylene. These plants prefer humidity, bright, indirect light, and doesn’t do well when it is overwatered. 

Red-Edged Dracaena
Grows best in sunlight 

One of the more beautiful of the house plants – with vibrant red edges – these plants grow tall and are delightful in the home. These can grow to be ceiling-height making it a great plant for decorating and filling up space. It also removes toxins including xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air. 

Sansevieria trifasciata (aka snake plant, mother-in-laws tongue or viper’s bowstring)
Grows in dark corners with little water

This is a great way to perk up the dim corners of your home, in hallways and kitchens. My granny had several of these in her hallway throughout my life so it is quite a nostalgic plant for me – plus I find the nickname of ‘mother-in-law tongues’ pretty funny. These are the ultimate low maintenance add one to the bedroom for an overnight boost as the plant absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during the night (while most plants do so during the day).

English Ivy
Needs 4+ hours of sunlight per day

One of the more needy house plants but perhaps perfect for the toilets. A study found that English ivy reduces airborne fecal-matter particles… gross I know but still useful to know! It has also been shown to filter out formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products and is on NASA’s top list of purifying plants. It needs to be kept moist with lots of access to sunlight.

Peace Lily’s
Grows well with non-direct light

This is the perfect house warming present – not only do they look lovely, make gorgeous gifts but they are great for the home environment. It topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene. They only need to be watered weekly and don’t require direct sunlight, very hardy little plants.