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The Best Air-Purifying Houseplants for your Home, According to NASA

In 1989, NASA and the ALCA (Associated Landscape Contractors of America) joined together to study the way houseplants could be used to purify the air in space labs, space stations and other orbiting workplaces for astronauts. Several plants in their study were determined to be strong filters of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and their important discoveries can all be brought down to earth in everyone’s homes.


Aloe is a great choice for a sunny kitchen window – in addition to be sun-loving, this plant that’s been in use for nearly 6,000 years can help clear benzene and formaldehyde from the air which can be a byproduct of paints, chemical-based cleaners and more. Beyond those amazing abilities, the gel inside the plant is widely known to help heal cuts and burns.

Spider Plant

Very easy to regrow, the spider plants are incredibly resilient. The plants have rich foliage and little white flowers that can help remove benzene,carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries.

Gerbera Daisy

There’s a chemical compound called trichloroethylene you bring into your house anytime you bring your dry cleaning home. This would be best placed in a laundry room or bedroom, if there’s sufficient light available in those areas.

Golden pothos

Consider this to be one of nature’s garage cleaners because this plant is extremely powerful for removing formaldehyde from the air — a substance found in great quantities in car exhaust. These plants work best with bright and indirect light – note that this is a poisonous plant and should be kept away from small children and pets.


This flowering shrub can fight formaldehyde from sources like foam insulation or plywood. They do their best in cooler areas like 60 to 65 degrees — a great option for improving indoor air in your basement if you can find a bright enough spot.

Chinese Evergreen

This was referred to as the “easiest houseplant” by Southern Living because they thrive in low light and will grow in places most other plants won’t grow. They like humid air, so if your home is too dry it’s good to mist the leaves.

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