On a first thought, you may wonder what it is that that plants need to purify in our homes or offices. But though we do not see certain impurities like formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, ammonia, alcohols and acetone, they constitute what is known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), often emitted from household components. Adhesives, bio effluents, carpets, caulks, ceiling tiles, cleaning products, cosmetics, draperies, electrophotographic printers, fabrics, facial tissue, floor coverings, grocery bags, nail polish remover, office correction fluid, paints, paper towels, chipboard, photocopiers, upholstery and wall coverings are popular sources of these compounds.

So, you now know that your indoor space is pretty much contaminated than you thought. Overtime, and if not eliminated regularly, these compounds can contribute to serious health implications like cancer and respiratory disorder.

Fortunately, nature comes to our rescue by giving us plants that help absorb these harmful compounds and create a healthier atmosphere for our living. Below is list of 10 plants, with specific additional information, we can incorporate into our home décor strategies. And if it matters to you, these plants are NASA-scientist verified.

Boston Fern

Botanical Name: Nephrolepis Exaltata

Regarded by many as “the super air purifiers”, they efficiently absorb formaldehyde and benzene from the atmosphere. In addition to absorbing pollutants from the atmosphere, they make the atmosphere more humid by releasing moisture. However, they require special care. You will have to water them frequently to help them replenish the moisture they release. Also avoid exposing them to direct sunlight.

Golden Pothos

Botanical Name: Epipremnum Aureum

If you have little gardening experience and/or do not have the luxury of time to cater to your indoor plants, then the Golden Pothos will be your good friend. Often called “Devil’s Ivy”, It thrives excellently even with neglect. They are considered indestructible. They are also effective at eliminating carbon monoxide, toluene, xylene and benzene and can be trained to grow on walls or poles. Occasional trimming and watering is enough to keep this plant going. Be careful though as they can be toxic to animals.

English Ivy

Botanical Name: Hedera Helix

Just like its super colleague; the Boston Fern, this plant also shows great efficiency in eliminating benzene, carbon monoxide, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the atmosphere. They are easy to grow.  Greatly adapted to indoor conditions, they can be trained to grow around window panes. Water frequently and keep under moderate temperature.

Palm Trees

Areca palms, bamboo palms, dwarf date palms and lady palms are examples of palm trees. They are great air-cleaners and can be maintained with ease. While common with the outdoors due to their size; smaller ones also thrive indoors.

Rubber Plant

Botanical Name: Ficus Elastica

Native to India, rubber plants adds to the noble list of air purifiers. In addition to being absorbers of organic compounds like trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide, they can also make for an attractive décor. Keep the soil moist and trim the leaves to keep them healthy. They are toxic to pets, including cats and dogs; so be cautious. They do well under bright and filtered light. This plant is very useful in offices with furniture manufactured with particleboard and formaldehyde-based adhesives.


Dracaenas come in 40 different varieties. They are particularly good at eliminating acetone. Another thing that makes them a great choice for many florists and horticulturists is the fact that they are easy to find, and can fit perfectly into a home or office. They are characterized by long and slender leaves with white, cream or red stripes. Note that they are toxic to cats and dogs so choose carefully.

Ficus Binnendijkii Alii 

This plant is native to South-East Asia. It requires little maintenance and requires bright lighting conditions. It can grow really tall, up to 15 feet. It has great air-cleaning abilities. Water this plant regularly, but allow the soil to dry out before the next watering. It eliminates benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.


Orchids are native to tropical rainforests. In addition to being great air purifiers, they also lend beauty to interior décor. Orchids require a somewhat sophisticated care but this depends on the type of orchids. Some orchids require regular watering to be kept evenly moist. Some other types need to be allowed to nearly dry out.

Peace Lily

Botanical Name: Spathiphyllum

This plant is recognized as one of the top three plants for removing ammonias highly as the Boston Fern and English Ivy. They bloom beautifully, tolerate light and release moisture into the atmosphere. Be sure to provide ample lighting as low lighting conditions can prevent the flowers from blooming. Just like many indoor plants, this plant is toxic to cats, dogs and even humans. It can cause skin irritation and swelling in adults.

Spider Plant

Botanical Name: Chlorophytum Comosum

This plant produces beautiful white blossoms, grow quickly and thrive well in extreme conditions. Interestingly, Spider Plant is not toxic to children. They are also great purifiers of xylene and formaldehyde.  While some plants are better at removing chemicals from others, one cannot but admire this natural ability. Two or three plants for every 100 square feet is suitable. Plants are amazing in many respects.