These pretty houseplants can help you breathe easier at home.

By Caylin Harris
Updated June 01, 2019
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Houseplants are more than just a pretty decorating staple—in addition to introducing verdant green hues and interesting textures to your living room, these plants can also clean the air in your home. Yes, even the air inside your home can contain pollutants. In fact, many items commonly found in our homes—furniture, dry-cleaned clothing, smoke, and paint—release VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air. Some good news: studies have found that common houseplants can act as natural air purifiers, not only absorbing carbon dioxide, but also these harmful VOCs. While the results haven’t been tested in a real-life home (only in laboratories), you can't go wrong with adding these air-detoxing plants to your home.

For maximum air-cleaning benefits, the plants need to be as healthy as possible. One way to achieve that is to make sure you remove newly purchased plants from their original containers and transplant them into slightly larger planters, adding a nutrient-dense potting soil, like Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Container Mix. For plants to thrive, they need space for their roots to grow and nutrients in the soil. As they continue to grow, monitor the container they’re in and size up as needed, adding fresh potting soil whenever you transplant your plant babies.

Ready to breathe easier at home? Here are some plants that will clean the air in your bedroom, living room, or kitchen.

RELATED: 7 Trendy Indoor Plants to Bring Home ASAP

Costa Farms

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A champ at sapping acetone (the chemical found in nail polish remover) from the air in lab tests, dracaena is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It requires indirect sunlight, soil that’s rich in organic matter, and a thorough watering about once a week. Plant it in a pot that provides adequate drainage, too. 

To buy: costafarms.com

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It doesn’t get much easier than a snake plant—and according to a NASA study, it works wonders at cleaning the air. While this air-detoxing plant can withstand low light, it grows best (and fastest) in bright sunlight. While you don’t want to aim to underwater, snake plants are fairly drought tolerant. Give it a good watering when the top inch of soil gets dry.

Plus, its variegated, sword-like leaves make it a standout when paired with modern and eclectic design styles.

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So easy to grow it can even thrive in an office space with fluorescent lighting, Chinese evergreen tolerates everything from low to bright sunlight. A bonus of bright sunlight? It produces flowers that look like calla lilies. While you can water it once a week with the rest of your plants, it can survive up to a few weeks between waterings.

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A beautiful, leafy houseplant, Boston ferns get a reputation for being a little high maintenance, but they're worth the work because they remove toxins like toluene and xylene from the air.

Lovers of high humidity and consistently moist soil, a sunny spot in a bathroom could be an ideal environment for this leafy option. Place it in an area with bright, indirect light and away from heating or cooling vents, which can dry out its lovely fronds.

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This quick-growing plant is perfect for beginners. Hardy and easy to maintain, a spider plant prefers well-draining soil mix and doesn’t like to be overwatered. In fact, it’s best to let the soil dry out between waterings. They also prefer indirect sunlight.

Easy to propagate, spider plants often sprout smaller baby plants right on the parent plant. Once they’re roughly two inches, you can snip and replant the new plants in their own pots.

RELATED: 7 Office Plants You Won’t Kill

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A plant with some serious growth potential, who can resist the romantic hanging tendrils of an ivy plant? Besides its good looks, it’s perfect for a person with a lack of gardening know-how. It tolerates low light, but does best in medium light, and prefers slightly dry soil, as opposed to an overly wet environment.