Improve Your Home’s Air Quality With These 9 Indoor Plants

9 Plants to Clean Your Breathing Space

When NASA first published its “Clean Air Study” in 1989, it recommended the use of several indoor plants to remove toxic agents from the air.

Sick building syndrome and plants

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that people experience when spending time in a building, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms usually get worse the longer you’re in the building and get better after you leave. Other people in the building may also have symptoms.

The theory is that the person is reacting to toxic agents in the atmosphere. As a result, NASA recommends placing one toxic agent-filtering plant for every 100 square feet of home or office space in order to keep air quality at its utmost finest. 

What Are These Toxic Agents (Pollutants) & Why Are They Dangerous?

Environmental Pollutants, Physical Risks and Where These Can Be Found

Environmental Pollutants, Physical Risks and Where These Can Be Found

The Following 9 Indoor Plants Have Been Found To Improve Your Home’s Air Quality 

1. Peace lilies – Peace lilies are effective at removing all five of the toxic agents from indoor air, as mentioned on NASA’s list. 

2. Hardy garden mum – These colorful perennials is the only other plant on the NASA study found to be effective at removing all five toxic agents.

3. Bamboo palm – Bamboo palms only filter two out of NASA’s five identified toxic agents, both formaldehyde and xylene. 

4. Snake plant – The snake plant is quite effective at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen and are effective at removing four out of the five toxic agents, only missing out on ammonia. 

5. Devil’s ivy – Devil’s ivy is great at purifying your air. They have been found to be effective at removing: Benzene, formaldehyde and xylene.

6. Boston fern – The good old Boston fern is a popular houseplant, as it is safe for dogs and cats. This fern is effective at reducing levels of formaldehyde and xylene.

7. Aloe vera – In addition to being great for your skin, aloe vera can filter out benzene and formaldehyde. 

8. Red-edged dracaena – Referred to as “the song of India,” this plant has been found to be effective at filtering benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene. 

9. Chinese evergreen – This plant native to tropical areas of Asia will filter out benzene and formaldehyde.

Unfortunately, Peace Lilies, Hardy Garden Mum, Snake plants, Devil’s ivy, Aloe Vera, Red-edged dracaena and Chinese evergreen are toxic to dogs and cats. They are not recommended for homes with pets

NASA recommends one plant every 100 square feet – which is about 9.2 square meters. In a home of about 1800 square feet in size (roughly 167 square meters), NASA recommends 15-18 houseplants. However, the exact number depends on what plants you opt for – you’ll need fewer plants if they are larger and more efficient at reducing toxins.

Incorporating more plants in the home, not only has an impact on our physical and mental health, but they look great too.


Official NASA Plant Paper


** Always consult with a physician or healthcare practitioner with significant integrative or functional medicine training before starting any of the above recommendations. You can find a qualified and certified functional medicine practitioner by going to:

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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