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The Best House Plants for Indoor Air Pollution

By Barbara Raskauskas ; Updated September 21, 2017

Based on the results of a 1989 study conducted by NASA, some indoor houseplants available at your local nursery have the ability to remove some contaminants from the inside air. In the experiments, plants were placed in a chamber for 24 hours and then the air in the chambers was checked for trichloroethylene (an ingredient found in adhesives), benzene (found in detergents, tobacco and paint) or formaldehyde (found in pressed wood products). NASA shared the results of the house plants they used that were found to help control indoor air pollution.

Vining Plants

English ivy, golden pothos and heartleaf philodendron can be added at the base of taller plants, grown in hanging baskets or used as stand-alone plants.

Low Plants

Plants on the list that are less than 24 inches tall include spider plant, peace lily and snake plant. Flowering plant options include gerbera jamesonii and chrysanthemum.

Medium Height Plants

For a mid-height plant reaching up to 3 feet tall, try Chinese evergreen, a dense plant with variegated leaves.

Tall Plants

Some plants that clear the air have the capability to reach 8 to 10 feet tall in your home. Those plants include bamboo or reed palm, lacy tree philodendron, weeping fig, ribbon plant, green corn plant, corn stalk plant, red-edged dracaena and elephant ear philodendron.

Placement and Care

Select potted plants at least 6 inches in diameter. For a house of 2,000 square feet, plan to place 15 to 20 plants around the house to more effectively tackle indoor air pollution. Avoid placing the plant directly in front of a window. Give the plants diffused light, such as through a sheer curtain, or by placing them a few feet from the window. Follow the directions on the plant tag for light and water requirements.


About the Author


Barbara Raskauskas's favorite pursuits are home improvement, landscape design, organic gardening and blogging. Her Internet writing appears on SASS Magazine, AT&T and various other websites. Raskauskas is active in the small business she and her husband have owned since 2000 and is a former MS Office instructor.