Indoor plants are able to clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide then releasing new oxygen into the air. They can also suck up any formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene found in the air, chemicals commonly found in new homes and buildings, according to a 1989 study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. To improve the air in an 1,800-square-foot house, approximately 18 plants in 8-inch pots are required, the study concluded.
Golden pothos clean the air indoors and are effective at removing formaldehyde molecules from the air, according to the study. Pothos are suited to novice gardeners who want to bring some plants into the home or office for better air quality. A golden pothos will grow almost anywhere, according to University of Illinois Extension they are "almost impossible to kill" as long as they aren't in complete darkness or in an extremely hot, sunny area where they don't get a break from the sun.
While this small foliage plant is not used very often, it's one of the easiest indoor plants to grow if you want plants that clean the air. A traditional Chinese evergreen isn't very striking, but newer cultivars are more attractive, according to University of Florida Extension. You don't have to water them very often, either, but should let the soil dry between waterings. It's best suited in a shaded area of your home or office.
The areca palm is one of the most eco-friendly plants for your home or office, as it receives high ratings for its ability to remove indoor air toxins. It is also ideal for indoors because it can withstand low-light conditions fairly well. You may also find it under the names of butterfly palm, cane palm, yellow palm or golden feather palm.
Particularly good for getting any formaldehyde out of the air, according to the NASA study, the Boston fern is also known for giving the air more humidity. It has frilly leaves that add to the decor in almost any room, too. It is best suited for a warm, humid environment, but can also withstand a fair amount of shade. It may also be called a wood fern.
The snake plant efficiently cleans indoor air and is easy to take care of, in fact University of Arkansas Extension calls it "practically indestructible." You don't have to water it very often. It's also called the mother-in-law's tongue or the sword plant. It's also a practical plant for your home office because it can withstand almost any amount of light, but do try to keep it out of the direct sunlight.