How to use indoor plants to clean your home

Indoor plants are not just for the 1970s home, there is genuine science to back up the beneficial properties that they bring to your home. They can help keep the air in your home clean and bring a little bit of nature inside. There are also some lovely culinary advantages to growing your herbs in the kitchen.

Firstly, back to the science, NASA has researched to find the best plants to help keep the air clean inside the space station, and there is no reason we cannot take advantage of this information to make our homes a nicer place to live.

Just note, opening your windows and ventilating your home is still the best option but plants can help and they look lovely too.

Have a look at the article written by James Wong and published by the New Scientist in July 2020. James looks at how many plants you would need to keep you air clean.

Here is a short list of plants that are mentioned in the NASA project. All are common indoor plants.

  • Snake plant (Sansevieria) — Produces oxygen at night and also helps remove xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene, and benzene from the air.
  • Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata) — Effective at removing pollutants, including formaldehyde and benzene. This is a slow growing plant but it will get quite tall so a room with a high ceiling will be great.
  • Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) — This flowering plant helps remove trichloroethylene so put one in the laundry or in the bedroom. It will like sunlight so next to a window with a lot of sun will be great.
  • Broadleaf Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) — This plant filters ammonia. They grow will in humidity and are happy in low light, so try one in the bathroom.
  • Aloe veraThis succulent fights benzene and formaldehyde and it loves the sun so again a great one for a sunny windowsill.
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium) — This is a flowering plant and it can help with a number of nasty chemicals, including xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene, and benzene. They like the sunshine too so by a window will be best.
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — This helps reduce carbon monoxide, xylene, and formaldehyde so try growing the in the garage or shed but forget about them.
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix) — This hardy plant reduces formaldehyde, and reduces airborne fecal-matter so hello bathroom for this plant.
  • Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) — This stunning plant produces oxygen at night. The moth orchid also reduces toluene.
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum) — This plant loves low light and humidity; it also fights benzene and the formaldehyde so is another choice for the bathroom.
  • Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) — Helps reduce formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. This plant will be quite happy tucked in a corner of a reception room.

To find these plants try your local nursery.

Here are some of the chemicals that these plants help remove:

  • Formaldehyde — found in paints, wallpaper, and smoke from open fireplaces, emitted with vehicle exhausts.
  • Benzene — found in dyes and synthetic fibres, detergents and plastics, varnishes and floor finishes.
  • Trichloroethylene — a chemical used in dry cleaning
  • Ammonia — found in many cleaning products.
  • Xylene — found in petrol and rust preventers
  • Toluene — found in some shoe polish.


  • “How to grow your own fresh airTED 2009
  • “Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution AbatementNASA
  • “NASA Clean Air StudyWikipedia
  • “Potted Plants Could Purify Poisonous AirScience Magazine
  • “How Aloe vera became a cure-all and cosmetic superstar” New Scientist

The stylish, sustainable, and safe way to care for your home without the need for harsh chemicals.