Top Ten Air Cleaning Plants

"Green" up your house by adding plants. While researching ways to keep the atmosphere in space stations clean, NASA found that many houseplants help battle pollution indoors. These plants can remove dangerous gases from the air, as well as take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. According to the Foliage For Clean Air Council and National Academy of Sciences, for plants to be effective as "air cleaners," you'll need at least one potted plant for every 100 square feet in your home or office.

Spider Plant

Chlorophytum comosum, commonly called the spider plant or spider ivy, is native to South Africa. The grasslike perennial is in the lily family. It grows best in a hanging container, as it produces plantlets on long stalks. The spider plant can help remove formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.


Dracaena deremensis, also called Janet Craig or corn plant, is a tall, upright perennial that can grow to 10 feet tall. Dracaena can help remove trichloroethylene and benzene.

Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata is commonly called the snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue. Its stiff, swordlike leaves grow well in pots, and it needs very little water. Snake plant can help remove formaldehyde and other indoor pollutants.

Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum or peace lily is native to tropical rain forests. It has long, glossy, dark leaves and a white "flower" (really a spathe and spike-like spadix) that grows at the end of a long stalk. Peace lily helps remove trichloroethylene and benzene.

Chinese Evergreen

Aglaonema modestum, the Chinese evergreen, is found in tropical parts of Asia. It has dark green leaves and needs to be repotted every other year. Chinese evergreen can help remove chemical vapors.


Philodendron scandens, the heartleaf philodendron, is an evergreen perennial vine. It's very popular in office because it grows quickly and needs little light or attention. Philodedron can help remove formaldehyde from the air.

Weeping Fig

Ficus benjamina, the weeping fig, is the most common indoor tree grown in homes, according to the Colorado State Extension. They grow quickly and quite tall, and they require medium to bright light. The weeping fig helps remove formaldehyde and other chemicals from the air.

Golden Pothos

Epipiremnum aureum, or golden pothos, is a low-maintenance vine with gold and green variegated leaves. It is native to the Solomon Islands/ The pothos plant helps remove formaldehyde.

Bamboo Palm

Chamaedorea sefritzii, also called the bamboo or reed palm, is a tropical tree that grows well with lots of humidity. The bamboo palm can remove formaldehyde from the air.

English Ivy

Hedera helix, or English ivy, is a tough, easy-to-grow vine. It has dark green, waxy leaves with white veins. It is best kept as a houseplant, as it can easily take over and smother a garden. English ivy can remove benzene from the air.

Keywords: air cleaning plants, plants to clean the air, plants and pollutants

About this Author

Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years. Clarkson graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer."