Indoor Plants That Detoxify The Air

Power plants, as we like to call them, have the ability to remove toxins from the air of your home or office. For the sceptics out there, this information is for real; in fact much of the research on these beneficial houseplants has been done by the NASA scientists researching ways to create suitable space station habitats. All indoors plants (flowering or not) are able to purify indoor air to some degree through their normal photosynthesis processes. But some were found to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful household toxins, even removing 90% of chemicals in the air in only twenty-four hours!

The main household toxins of concern are:

  • Benzene – a known carcinogen found in cigarette smoke, detergents, pesticides
  • Formaldehyde, commonly off-gassed from paints, solvents and other synthetic materials.
  • Trichloroethylene found in solvents
  • Xylene found in varnishes, paints and paint thinners

There are many different kinds of houseplants that could be called power plants, but we have selected what we think are the 10 most common pot plants to find and use around the house.

This means these types of houseplants may just decrease your risk of cancers, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disorders and other diseases.

Common Name: Aloe Vera
Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis

Aloe Vera, a very common plant in South Africa can remove formaldahyde from the air.

Common Name: English Ivy
Botanical Name: Hedera helix

English Ivy is known for removing the chemical benzene, and  is also fantastic for asthma and allergies and also removes formaldehyde.


Common Name: Gerbera Daisy
Botanical Name: Gerbera sp. or Gerbera jamesonii

NASA say that the Daisy is fantastic at removing benzene, and absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen overnight, which is said to improve your sleep. Definitely one for the bedrooms – baby’s room in particular!


Common Name: Marginata or Dragon tree
Botanical Name: Dracaena marginata

The Dragon Tree is known for purifying the air of the carcinogen, benzene, cigarette smoke and other household chemicals like formaldahyde, xylene and trichloroethylene from the air.


Common Name: Moth Orchid
Botanical Name: Phalaenopsis

The Moth Orchid can remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and formaldahyde, solvents and other synthetic materials from the air.


Common Name: Mums
Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum sp. or Chrysanthemum morifolium

Mums are very effective at removing benzene, and  trichloroethylene (found in solvents and cleaners), formaldehyde and ammonia from the air.


Common Name: Peace Lily
Botanical Name: Spathiphyllum sp.

The Peace Lily is known for removing benzene, mould spores in the air, (making it great for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms); purifying the air of trichloroethylene and removing alcohols, acetone, and formaldehyde.


Common Name: Spider Plant
Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum

NASA places this the Spider Plant among the top 3 types of houseplants that are great at removing formaldahyde. Also removes carbon monoxide and other toxins or impurities.


 Common Name: Areca Palm
Botanical Name: Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

General air purifier, especially as it grows larger. It’s known for being one of the better performers in purifying the air.


Common Name: Boston Fern
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis

The Boston fern acts as a natural air humidifier, removes formaldahyde and is reputed to be among the best in air purifying houseplants.

10 Other plants that are also able to detoxify the air are:

  • Areca Palm – general air purifier
  • Baby Rubber Plant – has a high oxygen content so helps with formaldehyde in particular
  • Bamboo Palm or Reed Palm – remover formaldehyde and acts as a humidifier
  • Chinese Evergreen– has a high oxygen content so helps with formaldehyde in particular, but also benzene
  • Corn Cane or Mass Cane– general air purifier
  • Dwarf Date Palm – removes formaldehyde and Xylene
  • Golden Pothos – – among the top 3 types of houseplants great for removing formaldhyde
  • Janet Craig – a good overall air purifier, removing most air pollutants.
  • Kimberly Queen Fern – cleans formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene out of your home.
  • Snake Plant – absorbs toxins, such as nitrogen oxides and formaldahyde.
  • Schefflera, or Umbrella Tree – removes benzene from the air

If you feel you are one of those people that no matter how much you love the leafies, you tend to land up with drooping, unhappy browning plants; or aren’t home enough to keep your them happy with plenty of care, you can always get yourself an air purifier – another simple way you can make sure you are breathing in cleaner, more wholesome air.

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  • Edna
    Posted at 13:30h, 30 April Reply

    Is it possible to order some of the above mentioned indoor plants online?

  • Michelle
    Posted at 09:12h, 01 July Reply

    Please not that the Peace Lily is not an option if you have cats living with you. The pollen is highly toxic to them. But tons of other wonderful options, thanks for the article.

  • Elna
    Posted at 07:25h, 19 May Reply

    I haven’t had much luck indoors with mainly the flowering plants, they need sunlight & aphids attack them.

    • Andrea Fedder
      Posted at 08:08h, 19 May Reply

      Hi Elena,
      Peace in the home requires barely any sunlight – and if you’re careful not to over water it – makes lovely blooms. For the aphids, try a solution of garlic, chilly and vinegar. Margaret Roberts sells a stunning mix. Good luck!

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