Gardening Tips > January > Top ten houseplants that literally clean the air

Top ten houseplants that literally clean the air

Fresh air is not something we get enough of in modern life, especially as most of us seem to be increasingly stuck inside with our great British weather!

Indoor air can be stale, and thanks to modern synthetic materials and temperature regulation, it also contains pollutants and is often well below recommended humidity levels.

Synthetic furniture, paints and computers, to name but three, silently pump chemical vapours into the air, while your heating system will dry out your air.

This can lead to complaints such as allergic attacks, asthma, headaches and tickly coughs.

This is where plants in your house can help!

The humble plant can make all the difference to the air we breathe indoors. They work hard at cleaning our air of these toxins and releasing humidity back into the atmosphere.

In fact, there are many health benefits to being near plants. General studies over time have shown that plants help us to:

  • Have fewer headaches and coughs and feel less tired
  • Have fewer allergy symptoms
  • Recover faster from the common cold
  • Feel less stressed
  • Be more productive and creative if you work from home

But not all plants are the same. Some like more light or heat than others, and some clean the air better so it is important to get the right one.

To help you choose the right plant, here are our top ten air-purifying plants that will clean your air:


ALOE VERA – What’s great about this plant is that it emits oxygen at night time whilst simultaneously taking in carbon dioxide- something we naturally produce when breathing.  All this leads to a purer quality of air and a better night’s sleep.


CHLOROPHYTUM (SPIDER PLANT) – The well-known Spider Plant is also a champion cleanser of air. Since formaldehyde (a cancer-causing chemical) is found in common household products like adhesives, grout and fillers, it’s a good idea to keep one of these plants around your kitchen and bathrooms especially.

Top Tip: The Spider Plant is also considered a safe house plant if you have pets in your house.


SANSEVERIA (SNAKE PLANT) or is even known as ‘the mother-in-law’s tongue’…this plant is excellent for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, hygiene, and personal care products.


SPATHIPHYLLUM (PEACE LILY) is beauty in all its simplicity, the peace lily boasts strong dark green leaves and tall elegant white flowers.  Really easy to care for…this plant helps to filter out harmful benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde toxins. The moisture given off by these striking flowers can boost a room’s humidity by up to 5%. This way, you can say goodbye to those irritating dry noses and sleep peacefully.

Top Tip: This plant is poisonous to cats and dogs…so if your pet likes to nibble your house plants then choose the Spider Plant instead


DRACENA MARGINATA (DRAGON TREE) This plant is useful for removing xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, which spreads in indoor air through lacquers like your hairspray or furniture polish or furniture varnish.


ARECA PALM An extremely elegant palm with delicate fronds which is good enough to be situated in your living room or hall. This pleasant plant releases lots of moisture into the air, removes toxins very effectively, is easy to look after and resists insect infestations well.


BOSTON FERN A mass of lush foliage helps this plant to scrub the air of toxins in a room and improve humidity.  With a bit of regular misting and watering it should thrive.


FICUS ELASTICA (RUBBER PLANT) Bred for toughness, this is the plant to choose if the room doesn’t have a lot of natural light. Its architectural form makes it a designer’s favourite and its simple, large leaves look good in most places. Especially good at removing formaldehyde, one of the most common toxins found in our indoor air.



FICUS BENJAMIN (WEEPING FIG) The Weeping Fig is perfect for filtering pollutants that typically are in carpeting and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

Top Tip: Most house plants only need re-potting every 1 or 2 years


SCINDAPSUS Another powerful plant fighting formaldehyde, it will grow in a cascade of green from a hanging basket.

Top Tip: If you live on a busy road, fill your house with this beautiful gushing greenery to banish car exhaust fumes

There are many more plants that can make your home look and smell beautiful and fresh but these 10 are a must for keeping you and your family healthy by providing natural air filters and increasing the oxygen levels.



Benzene – Can be found in Glues, paints, furniture wax and detergents

Formaldehyde – Is in emissions, disinfectants and fixatives, or preservatives in consumer products

Trichloroethylene – In homes undergoing renovation

Xylene and Toluene – In a variety of household sprays and consumer products

Ammonia – Aerosols and sprays used in the home.

Top Tip: replace your air freshener spray with a jasmine plant for beautiful and healthy smelling air!

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