A Botany graduate, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that help to sustain life on planet earth.
The air inside your home can contain harmful pollutants that negatively affect the body and cause many ailments. These pollutants can come from furniture, paint, printers, or paraffin wax candles. Indoor plants have the ability to remove harmful pollutants and clean the air naturally.
This article will take a look at nine wonderful, air-purifying plants that can help remove toxins and clean up the air you breathe at home.
The dendrobium orchid removes a harmful chemical called xylene from the surrounding air in your home. Xylene is present in glues used in furniture and paint on the walls. People who are moving into new homes will benefit greatly from the dendrobium orchid.
Dendrobium is a tropical orchid that is easy to grow at home. They are great for indoor decorations and their blooms last for about 8–10 weeks. They are also great as cut flowers because of their sturdy stems.
Dendrobium belongs to the family Orchidaceae, native to Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. This family has about 30,000 species. Dendrobium is commonly referred to as bamboo orchid or Singapore orchid. These plants are available in many colors such as purple, pink, fuchsia, white, yellow, green, and white.
2. Peace Lilies
Peace lilies remove harmful toxins like acetone, ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, trichloroethylene, and xylene from the surrounding air in your home.
They are great indoor plants that thrive in low light conditions. They are low-maintenance plants that can stand cold temperatures even below 55°C.
The botanical name for peace lily is Spathyphyllum wallisii, and it is native to tropical regions in America and Southeastern Asia.
Peace lilies belong to the genus Spathiphyllum and the family Araceae. These plants are evergreen, herbaceous, perennial plants with large leaves. The leaves are lance-shaped and dark green with a glossy texture. The flowers are produced in a spadix surrounded by a white, yellow, or green spathe.
Peace lilies thrive well at room temperature. They need sunlight but not harsh direct sunlight. They can be placed near windows or in places where there is partial sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause the leaves to turn yellow.
Peace lilies grow well in moist, peat-based soil.
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Anthuriums are very exotic-looking plants that have large leaves. They are great as indoor plants and grow well in low light conditions. They remove ammonia, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene from the surrounding air in your home. Anthuriums are also great for decorating your indoor space.
Anthuriums belong to the genus Anthurium and the family Araceae. The flowers are heart-shaped and flower in shades of red. They have attractive white, yellow, red, pink, orange or green bracts.
These plants grow well in moist soil that is well aerated and not waterlogged. Overwatering anthuriums may cause root damage and yellowing of leaves. All parts of the anthurium are poisonous to humans and pets.
Schefflera are sturdy plants that last for a long time. These plants remove toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. They also remove toxins released into the surrounding air by cigarettes.
Schefflera arboricola, also known as the dwarf umbrella tree, belongs to the family Araliaceae and genus Schefflera. The leaves are long, oval and shiny and droop down from a central stalk. The leaves occur in clusters of 12–16 leaflets in a mature schefflera plant. They can grow to a height of 3 feet tall.
Schefflera plants grow well in indirect sunlight and warm temperatures, along with regular watering. They are mildly toxic to pets.
5. Pothos Plant
The botanical name of the pothos plant is Epipremnum aureum. It is also commonly known as the money plant, golden pothos, golden pothos vine, pothos, taro vine, and devil’s ivy. It belongs to the genus Epipremnum and the Araceae family. These plants remove carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the surrounding air.
Money plants are tropical, evergreen climbers that are easy to grow and maintain. They can be grown in potting soil or in containers filled with water. They grow well in alternating conditions of sunlight and shade.
The popular belief is that growing money plants in your home can bring good luck, happiness, and prosperity. Growing this plant at home is supposed to attract positive energy.
Ferns are plants that remove pollutants like toluene and xylene that are found in many paints and glues. They have soft feathery leaves and large fronds. Ferns grow well indoors and look great as decorative plants.
Nephrolepis exalta is also referred to as the Boston fern, sword fern, or lader fern. It is a very effective houseplant for removing pollutants in the surrounding air. The Boston fern arches over and grows to about 6 feet long. The fronds of this plant are feather-like and have a central long leaf stalk with small leaves arranged on either side of the stalk.
The Boston fern grows well in temperatures ranging between 60–70°F in alternating periods of sunlight and shade. The ferns flourish in moist soil and humid air, if the humidity is low then the tips of the leaflets turn brown.
Bird’s nest fern, button fern, rabbit foot’s fern, and holly fern are ferns that can be grown as indoor house plants.
7. Red-Edged Dracaena
Red-edged dracaena is a fast-growing shrub. It belongs to the family Ruscaceae and Dracaena. The leaves of this plant have red edges and look very colorful. They grow well in moist soil with exposure to medium-to-bright filtered light.
There are more than 40 different varieties of the dracaena plant. These plants have long, wide leaves with cream, white, or red lines. They are low-maintenance plants that can withstand low light and low humidity levels.
The dracaena species of plants remove pollutants like xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde that can enter your home through lacquers, varnishes, and gasoline.
8. Bamboo Palm
Bamboo palm is also known as the reed palm. This palm grows easily in shady indoor spaces and produces small flowers and berries. The bamboo palm filters out benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde.
The Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) is small and grows to about 7 feet. The stems are long and slender with nodes similar to the bamboo grass. The stems have 10–15 fronds 12 dark green pinnate leaves. They grow in low light conditions in well-drained soils.
9. Mother-in-Law's Tongue
The snake plant is also known as mother-in-law's tongue. It is an excellent air purifier, as it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night. Keeping this plant in the bedroom will help to replenish the oxygen in the surrounding air. The snake plant also filters formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air.
The botanical name of the snake plant is Sansevieria trifasciata. This plant is a perennial herb belonging to the Asparagaceae family. It has sword-like, long, thick fleshy leaves with a glossy texture. The leaves are arranged in a rosette pattern and have a yellowish-golden colored border. It is a low-maintenance plant that grows well in the sun and shaded areas. Overwatering can kill the snake plant, however.
Sources of Pollutants Inside Your Home
- Paraffin wax candles emit chemicals that can damage the liver and nervous system and may be linked to leukemia. Constant exposure to these chemicals can cause damage to the lungs and tissues of the heart.
- Printers emit micro-particles from cartridges. These micro-particles can easily enter the lungs and irritate and inflame the lungs.
- Furniture made out of fiber wood or pressed wood emit formaldehyde that can trigger allergies, asthma, and nausea.
- Smoke from cigarettes pollutes the surrounding air with harmful chemicals.
- Homes that are located near gas stations are most likely to have their indoor air contaminated with benzene. Benzene can cause coughing, wheezing, nausea, watery eyes, or dizziness. The air inside your home can also contain benzene if you have bought newly painted items or items that are glued together.
- Methanol is present in paint strippers, aerosol spray paints, wall paints, and windshield wiper fluids. It can also mix with air from water or soil that is contaminated with methanol. Inhaling methanol can cause headaches, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, or breathing problems.
- Xylene is mainly used as a solvent in printing, rubber, and leather industries. It is one of the components of cleaning agents and is also used as a thinner for paints and in varnishes. Xylene is used in small amounts in the manufacture of plastics, chemical, and synthetic fibers. It is also found in small amounts in airplane fuels and gasoline. It evaporates easily and pollutes the surrounding air. Short-term exposure to xylene can cause difficulty in breathing, wheezing, asthma, throat irritation, and stomach problems.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Nithya Venkat
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on August 29, 2020:
Thank you Marlene for your visit and comments.
Marlene Bertrand from USA on August 28, 2020:
I was not aware of all the toxins found in a home. It is good to know that having live plants in the household could help balance that out a bit. I have some live plants in my house, but I think after reading your article, I might do well to place a few more around the house for better air quality.
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on October 04, 2018:
Plants are better, they clean the air and they add to the decor.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 24, 2018:
We are now going to a condo in the winter and I need to have plants in it to give the place life and clean the air. We have an air cleaner but I think plants are better.
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 15, 2018:
Plants are great to have around the house, they have a charm of their own and ward off pollutants.
Dianna Mendez on December 19, 2017:
I used to have house plants all over my home for the beauty and oxygen. You have reminded me of their purpose. I may have to follow through on your advice.
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on December 31, 2016:
Lady_E thank you for your visit and comment.
Elena from London, UK on December 29, 2016:
Thanks. I love the Peace lilies. Good idea for 2017.
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on April 06, 2015:
Thelma Alberts thank you and Happy Easter Monday to you too!
Thelma Alberts from Germany on April 06, 2015:
That is great to know about those air purifying plants inside the house. Thanks for sharing. Happy Easter Monday!
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 28, 2014:
Arachnea thank you, ferns are great!
Tanya Jones from Texas USA on September 28, 2014:
This was interesting to know. I'll have to add a few more of the ones mentioned to what I already have. Ferns are my faves though.
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on March 03, 2014:
DDE indoor plants are beautiful and useful, thank you for stopping by.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 03, 2014:
Indoor plants are beautiful and most helpful to us your ideas are great.
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 12, 2014:
rebeccamealey thank you and yes pollutants are really scary.
cclitgirl thank you for the stopping by and the share. There are so many more pollutants that we do not know of.
thumbi7 thank you, Peace Lilies are beautiful. Thank you for the pin.
tillsontitan thank you for stopping by. Thanks for the many votes.
VVanNess sad that your cat eats up anything, I hope you do figure a way to grow your plants. Thank you for stopping by.
Crystal Tatum thank you for reading and the pin. You can grow other indoor plants that you are not allergic to.
Crystal Tatum from Georgia on February 11, 2014:
Wonderful information here, although I must say, a peace lily only causes me sinus problems. Pinning this one for future reference.
Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on February 11, 2014:
Oh! I love this! I wish we could have more plants around the house, but we have a cat that loves to eat any that we bring into our home. lol Great article! Maybe I can figure out how to have some of these beauties in my home!
Mary Craig from New York on February 11, 2014:
I am known as the plant killer when it comes to indoor plants! I have one, lonely Christmas cactus that has somehow survived for four years.
Thanks for sharing all the benefits and very informative pictures as well.
Voted up, useful, and interesting.
JR Krishna from India on February 11, 2014:
I have few indoor plants . I want to plant more.
Peace lilies are wonderful
Sharing this in pinterest
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on February 11, 2014:
I am SO glad to say that I have quite a few of these plants on this list. Right on!! I never thought about candles polluting the indoor air in the home, nor did I think about printer cartridges. Very interesting. Sharing this.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on February 11, 2014:
A great collection of house plants, and the pollutant info is very interesting and scary! Thanks. I am glad I don't live near a gas station!
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 10, 2014:
Laura Schneider thank you for your appreciation and I hope my hub is of help to you. Thanks for the vote too.
Laura Schneider from Minnesota, USA on January 10, 2014:
This is cool! I'm terrible at indoor gardening, but I keep trying to keep things alive! I'm sitting in the "detox shade" of my spider plants, which have been real troopers for me and are on NASA's list of plants that are good for detoxing indoor air. Thanks much for including your references--that's very professional and very much appreciated as I will check them out, too. It makes your hub not good but outstanding and professional! Voted up, useful, interesting, shared...
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on January 03, 2014:
teaches1345 thank you for stopping by. Peace Lilies look so beautiful and great to have at home.
Dianna Mendez on January 02, 2014:
I have a Peace Lilly and huge fern around my home and am so glad to hear how beneficial they are in purifying the air. It is such a benefit to one's health to have them in the home. Great article!
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on December 24, 2013:
agusfanani thank you for sharing this information.
agusfanani from Indonesia on December 23, 2013:
Just for additional information, I heard that Sansevieria plant is also good for air purification . Thank you for sharing .
Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on December 21, 2013:
Jackie Lynnley plants are great to have indoors and they clean the air that we breathe. Thank you for your visit.
rajan jolly thank you, yes we do need more plants to get rid of atmospheric pollution.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 21, 2013:
Very informative hub. Thanks for sharing. We need to plant more plants to get rid of the increasing atmospheric pollution.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 21, 2013:
I know this is true and I have my house full of plants! I just move them outdoors in the spring. Some in the shade and shelter that don't need a lot of sun or rain but it is so nice having them indoors in winter to keep things cheered up. Great article! ^