Plants That Remove Air Toxins

As houses and other buildings are built or remodeled, toxins may be released into the air. The most common substances present are benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethlene. These chemicals can cause people to develop sick building syndrome, which may include headaches, sore throats or coughing as the University of Hawaii notes. Some plants have the ability to process these toxins and remove them from the air.

Bamboo Palm

Chamaedorea seifrizii is one of the species known as the bamboo palm. Other names include the parlor palm and reed palm. This palm tree resembles bamboo and removes formaldehyde from the air.


Chrysanthemums, also commonly known as mums, are often used in floral arrangements. Keep them as a houseplant to remove benzene in the home.

Cornstalk Plant

The cornstalk plant (Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana') will grow up to 10 feet tall. The leaves feature a yellow stripe. Formaldehyde will be taken up by the cornstalk plant.

Devil's Ivy

Devil's ivy (Epipremnum aureum) is also commonly known as pothos. This vining houseplant features heart-shaped leaves that may be variegated. It will grow very fast and extract formaldehyde.

Dragon Tree

The dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) has striking red edges on its leaf blades. This plant may reach 9 feet tall. Benzene and trichloroethylene are eliminated by the dragon tree.

English Ivy

In its juvenile state, English Ivy (Hedera helix) is the familiar training vine with many varieties. It rarely matures to become a tree or shrub. Use English ivy to remove benzene from the air.


Ficus trees (Ficus spp.) are often used as houseplants and can absorb formaldehyde. Common species used in homes are the weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), rubber tree (Ficus elastica) and the fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata).

Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) are a staple of any floral shop. These pretty flowers work to eradicate benzene and trichloroethylene in the home.

Peace Lily

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa') are often used in a vase to provide a home for betta fish. The work well in locations with little light and will filter out benzene and trichloroethylene.


There are many different philodendron species used in the landscape and home. You can buy a philodendron to remove formaldehyde.

Snake Plant

The snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurenti') is also known as the mother-in-law's tongue. This is one of the hardest houseplants to kill. It will also remove the toxin formaldehyde.

Spider Plant

The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is very easy to grow. The plant will send out stems with baby plants. These can be snipped off and planted. Spider plants will take care of formaldehyde.

Keywords: air toxins, plants to remove toxins, healthy houseplants

About this Author

Marie Notnats enjoys learning about new topics and teaching people new skills. She has been writing professionally since 2008. She is a professional horticulturist with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture from Brigham Young University. She writes for,, eHow, and assorted gardening blogs.