Plant lovers have grown houseplants for generations as a way to bring the outdoors in. However, houseplants are also beneficial as air purifiers. Benezene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene are the three most prevalent indoor pollutants. However, houseplants can be used to eliminate these toxic fumes as well as add visual interest to your home.
English ivy (Hedera helix), is a common ground cover also used for topiaries and indoor plants. However, English ivy is an air-purifying plant as well. This plant treats the air against benezene, a pollutant found in ink, paint, oil, plastic, rubber, dyes, detergents, pharmaceuticals, tobacco smoke and synthetic fibers. English ivy prefers indirect sunlight or low artificial lighting and damp soil conditions. This household favorite grows in a vine pattern and, therefore, can be used in hanging baskets and as a trailing plant. The plant has dark green heart-shaped foliage with variegated varieties available.
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a common houseplant popular for its easy maintenance and speedy propagation. However, spider plants are also known for their ability to improve air quality. Specifically, this plant removes formaldehyde from the air. Formaldehyde is present in foam insulation, plywood, grocery bags, waxed paper, flame retardants, adhesive binders in floor coverings, cigarette smoke and natural gas. The spider plant grows best under bright but indirect sunlight. Midday sunlight will scorch the plant's leaves. This plant features long, grassy leaves and occasional small white flowers. New plants can be generated from the profusion of plantlets which can be detached and repotted or allowed to root alongside the parent plant.
Bamboo (Chamaedorea sefritzii), also known as reed plant, is a low-light-loving houseplant known for its air-cleaning abilities. This plant is often sold in clusters and will grow as tall as 7 feet at maturity. It features woody reed-like stalks with tender foliage. They prefer indirect sunlight, moist soil and can be grown in water. According to Clean Air Gardening, an air-quality garden resource, bamboo palm is best for treating air contaminated with benzene and trichloroethylene. Trichloroethylene is found in metal degreasing and dry-cleaning products as well as printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives.