Houseplants That Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

July 28, 2022
Plants can provide indoor air quality Macomb County, MI

House plants are gorgeous and help bring a little bit of nature indoors. They can spruce up any room in your home, but do you know that they can also help you breathe easier? Yes, houseplants can help with home air quality. That’s because certain plants filter out airborne toxins that can lead to various health issues, including migraines, vertigo, eye discomfort, and more. In addition, according to the NASA Clean Air Study, some indoor plants help lower indoor air pollutants, including formaldehyde, which is excellent news for indoor plant enthusiasts.

Breathing and Air Pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency has calculated that the amounts of contaminants in indoor air can be two to five times greater than those found outside and occasionally even more than 100 times higher. Outdoor and indoor air pollution is one of public health’s top five environmental threats. These health threats aren’t always noticeable at first. However, they slowly cause harm to the body.

At rest, an adult typically breathes in and out at a rate of 7 to 8 liters per minute. That equates to around 11,000 liters (388 cubic feet) of air daily. If the air you’re breathing is full of contaminants, you’ll be taking a lot of them in throughout the day. Fortunately, you can easily improve your air quality and protect your health

What’s the Science Behind Plants and Air Quality?

Plants transform the carbon dioxide we exhale into oxygen via the process of photosynthesis. They also remove gases from the air through a process known as absorption. Scientist Bill Wolverton asserted that houseplants might offer a “promising cheap solution to indoor air pollution” in a widely referenced NASA paper. Wolverton researched plants’ environmental VOC removal capabilities and their possible application in deep-space missions.

What Can Plants Filter Out?

According to NASA research, the most prevalent, dangerous chemicals inside households include trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and ammonia. For example, paints and varnishes contain trichloroethylene, paper bags and synthetic textiles contain formaldehyde, and benzene is in cigarette smoke. Moreover, ammonia is present in window cleaners and floor waxes, and xylene is generated in automobile exhausts.

When present in large quantities, these five pollutants can harm the liver and kidneys and induce nausea, headaches, nose, mouth, and throat discomfort. The NASA investigation revealed that some plants could lower indoor levels of all five of these contaminants. Here are some houseplants that can help your home’s air quality.

English Ivy

This low-maintenance perennial vine is excellent in reducing airborne benzene. It’s beautiful, yet it makes the ideal air purifier for any room in your house, especially the bathroom. The charming ivy plant can also assist in the removal of mold in the home.

Peace Lily

Peace lilies are known for their capacity to combat harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. They are also very low maintenance and even droop when they need watering. It’s crucial to wash your hands after handling the plant since they can be slightly poisonous to both people and animals.


Philodendrons appear in a range of forms, sizes, and colors. These plants, also known as “Xanadu,” adapt to most houses with medium to bright indirect light. According to researchers, they eliminate indoor pollutants, including formaldehyde, which may be found in carpets and cleaning supplies.

Mass Cane/Corn Plant

The mass cane/corn plant, known for its gorgeous foliage that ranges in color from green to yellow, is one of the most well-liked types of dracaenas. Furthermore, it has been shown to assist in removing formaldehyde from the air. They may be cultivated as shrubs but also have beautiful tree forms.

Lemon Button Fern

Lemon button ferns, related to Boston ferns, are beneficial for purifying indoor air and eliminating pollutants. They reach a height of approximately a foot and do well in diffused light, as long as there is enough humidity. Since they can withstand dehydration better than other ferns, they are a bit easier to care for.


In NASA research, the pothos plant, also known as devil’s ivy, was shown to remove benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, carbon monoxide, and xylene from the atmosphere. Low light is tolerated by these tropical vines, and they look great when placed in pots or hanging baskets and left to dangle over a table’s edge.


A chrysanthemum will spruce up your living room or kitchen. These lovely blossoms also assist in the removal of a variety of pollutants, including ammonia and benzene, which are frequently present in glue, plastics, and household cleaners. This plant loves light, so place it near a sun-filled room.

Aloe Vera

A favorite among many houseplant enthusiasts, aloes are succulents that are simple to maintain. Aloe vera can remove formaldehyde and benzene from the air. These plants love the sun and will flourish in sunny areas in your home. A great way to grow them is in cactus potting soil, and for better drainage, add perlite or sand to the potting soil. In addition to cleaning your air, aloe is fantastic for sunburns, cuts, and bruises on the skin. Just slice open an aloe plant and use the gel inside.

Spider Plant

The hardy spider plant is the ideal selection for anyone new to growing houseplants who doesn’t have a green thumb. It will subtly combat pollutants like carbon monoxide and xylene, a toxin used in the rubber and printing sectors. Also, if you’re a pet lover, you can rest assured that your furry friend will be safe around this plant because spider plants are nontoxic to animals.

Fittonias “Frankie”

Fittonias, sometimes known as nerve plants, are low-maintenance indoor air purifiers that remove toluene, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. Some fittonias have green and white or red and green foliage, but this particular one, “Frankie,” has pink and green leaves. Fittonias are ideal for aquariums and gardens since they grow 3 to 6 inches tall. Give them water, wet soil that drains well, and radiant indirect light.

Chinese Evergreen

It has been established that this tropical plant is effective at cleaning chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air. In addition, the Chinese evergreen thrives in bathrooms because of the humidity and dim lighting. If you decide to keep the plant somewhere else, don’t forget to spray the leaves every so often to keep them from turning dark.

Kentia Palm

The stunning kentia palm, commonly referred to as the thatch palm, is one of a kind. This plant from the palm family arecaceae is amazingly durable, attractive, and air-purifying, making them ideal for apartment dwellers. Kentia palms can tolerate shade but prefer indirect light. Let the topsoil dry up entirely before watering to prevent overwatering. You will see the leaf tips turning brown if it isn’t receiving enough water.

We’re Here to Help

Here at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning in Detroit, we can improve the air quality in your home. We offer a full range of indoor air quality solutions, including air filtration systems and UV light systems. We also provide furnace and AC installation, repair, and maintenance, as well as duct repair, replacement, and cleaning services. Call us today to learn about how we can improve your home comfort.

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