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Houseplants That Do Double Duty Clearing Out Pollutants In Indoor Air

Houseplants That Do Double Duty Clearing Out Pollutants In Indoor Air

AUBURN, Ala.- Indoor houseplants fill spaces in your home or office just as much as they fill a person’s need to be surrounded by foliage.   Humans have a psychological need to be surrounded by greenery as well as items representing nature.  According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System article “Home Selection and Care of Indoor Foliage Plants,” studies show that plants reduce both physical and mental stimulation caused by noise, rapid movement and visual complexity.

Plants have an inert nature to relax us as well as calm us down as we are bombarded by the fast-paced lifestyle we lead. Not only do plants affect us psychologically, but they affect our physical health.

Indoor plants improve your health mainly by purifying the air. Indoor plants clean the air of many different kinds of pollutants, but the familiar ones are trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde. These chemical pollutants can be found in chemical-based cleaners, paints, rubber, glues and plastics.

Too many times people buy plants based solely on their appearance and how it will work from a décor standpoint. However, there are many things to consider when buying an indoor plant. For instance, you should know the plant’s environmental factors including the amount of light it needs, the root environment, the type of potting mix, how much water it needs, and the temperature in which it will thrive. “Having the right plant for the right place eliminates many indoor plant problems,” said Lucy Edwards, an Alabama Extension regional agent in home grounds, gardens and home pests.

Light levels are important to consider when buying indoor plants. Decide the light level of your indoor space before purchasing a plant. There are many different kinds of plants that will survive with different variations of light. Low light plants can be maintained easily, but they will not show much growth, so these types of plants would work well in a small apartment or dorm room with small windows. Moderate light plants need to be at least five to seven feet from a window and receive direct sunlight for part of the day. These types of plants will do well sitting in a kitchen or living room where they can sit on windowsills. High light plants must receive a good amount of indirect light with no direct sun, so these plants will thrive in sunrooms or rooms with large windows.

Want some quick ideas for which plants to purchase? Check out our list of common houseplants to figure out which plant works for your space.

potted aloe houseplants

photo credit: wikimedia commons


This is a light loving plant. Aloe helps clear benzene and formaldehyde from your indoor air. Wonder where you should place an aloe plant? Stick it in your kitchen if you have an empty windowsill in need of some decoration. Or you can place an aloe plant in your sun-room to add an extra layer of brightness.



potted snake plant houseplants

photo credit: wikipedia

Snake Plant
Despite their name, these lovely plants have many health benefits. They filter high amounts of toxins from your air as well as produce oxygen from carbon dioxide at night. These plants need low amounts of light and humid environments. Place one in your bathroom or bedroom for an added pop of greenery during the day and boost of oxygen at night while you sleep. “An additional benefit, it propagates easily from cuttings. Try snipping a 2-inch piece from a friend or neighbor’s plant then place it in potting mix.  The negative, once a leaf is cut, it will not reform its nice tip, so it is best to cut an entire leaf into cuttings,” Edwards added.


peace lily houseplants

photo credit: wikimedia commons


Peace Lily

Peace lilies add a mix of rich green and bright white color to any room where they are placed. This plant thrives in low light conditions, so it would work well in a smaller space such as an apartment or dorm room. These plants are perfect for people with busier schedules since they do not have to be watered regularly. “The number one cause of death for indoor plants is overwatering,” said Edwards.


spider plant houseplants

photo credit: wikimedia commons

Spider Plant

This resiliency of this plant surprises many people who have it in their homes. This plant is a great houseplant to have if you have a tendency to forget about them until it is too late. The spider plant is considered safe for pets and children. These plants are easy to grow in spaces cool and dry with medium amounts of light. Edwards added that spider plants produce runners with a small plantlet that can be pruned off, planted and given away.

About Gretchen Glaze


  1. Thank you for some very beneficial information about the different plants. I have a passion for plants but was never sure where I should place them. This helps tremendously!

  2. This is really good information. I have indirect sunlight in my house and I did not think plants would grow well inside. Now I can try these.