How Common House Plants Can Help You Clear the Air

Jonas Gagnon

by | Updated: May 20th, 2020 | Read time: 4 minutes

Outside, the whole northern hemisphere is set to bud – springing to green. But, here you are inside, spring cleaning and finding your home a bit drab in contrast to the riot of color outside your window. The solution: bringing life to your home with common house plants.  

If you don’t have the first clue about common house plants, this newbie starter list can help. The trick is to decide what you want from a plant, and then check out which flora can offer exactly that. From cleaning the air to healing your body, these greens will make a great addition to your home.

On a Window Sill are Common House Plants That Can Help Clear the Air in Your Home |

Good House Plants for Cleaning the Air

Though you can’t use them as brooms, certain house plants are great household cleaners. They filter the air you breathe by removing harsh chemicals and pollutants. Some plants are better than others, so here’s a list of the top green cleaners:

  • Spider plant – Easy to grow and a fan of bright, indirect sunlight, spider plants are great for beginners and filter out formaldehyde and xylene from the air.
  • Viper plant – This one is hard to kill, making it a real boon for beginners. These hardy plants filter out benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene.
  • Dracaena – With 40 different kinds, dracaena offer a spectrum of styles. They also help filter out benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene.
  • Ficus/weeping fig – This is another low-maintenance plant that filters out benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
  • Peace lily – It’s a small plant, but it effectively filters air by removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

Good House Plants for Adding Moisture to the Air

Living in a dry climate can wreak havoc on both your skin and lungs. Certain house plants transpire water, which adds moisture to the air. Transpiration means the plant will bring water up through its roots and release it via pores under its leaves or fronds. In essence, these common house plants act as a humidifier for your home.

  • Areca palm – They’re low maintenance with a high transpiration rate. These plants are great humidifiers.
  • Boston fern – The fern needs plenty of misting and watering to stay healthy (along with medium, indirect sunlight), but it will move that water back into your home’s air.
  • Rubber plant – A variety of ficus, the rubber plant can grow quite high with partial sunlight and drier soil. So water it sparingly.
  • Chinese evergreen – It’s a lovely plant with variegated markings. The Chinese evergreen needs well drained soil and lots of sunlight, but it will reward you with more humid air.
  • Bamboo palm – Like most palms, this one thrives in sunlight and does a great job of humidifying and filtering the air in your home.

Good House Plants with Healing Properties

Not only can plants clean and humidify your air, many have healing properties. After all, that is the beauty of plant-based and herbal supplements.

  • Aloe vera – It may have been grandma’s favorite, but that’s only because aloe vera soothes rashes, burns, inflammation and dermatitis thanks to its antiviral properties.
  • Lavender – The scent can help you relax by lowering heart rate and blood pressure, as well as calming issues like toothaches, migraine headaches, sores, joint pain – even occasional sleeplessness.
  • Peppermint – This is an ancient remedy for promoting healthy digestion, which is why you’ll often find peppermint infused into tea.* But fresh peppermint is always good to have around, so you can throw it into your cooking and cocktails.

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, these common house plants are easy to take care of. They just need a bit of sunlight and water to survive.

Common House Plants to Avoid in Your Home

Now that you have a handle on some good house plants, don’t ignore the bad. There are some plants that will simply not get along with a pet or child – or anyone – with an affinity to chew things.  

Poisonous Plants

If you have a pet, a child or a significant other who likes to taste-test all your home decor, avoid the following plants:

  • Dracaena
  • Aloe vera (poisonous to pets, not people)
  • Philodendron
  • Jade
  • Peace lily

Plants with Allergens

All plants collect dust, and that can leave you sneezing up a storm. However, some perfectly good house plants just need a half-hearted swipe with a half-damp wash cloth to clear the dust, while others require a bit more time and care. If allergies hit you harder than a two-ton hammer, avoid these plants all together:

  • Ferns
  • Ivy
  • Fig (ficus)
  • Palm
  • Peace lily

This is just the beginning of where you can grow with your greenery. Start with this list, and you’ll quickly find the common house plants that are best suited for your home and family.