Do Houseplants Improve Indoor Air Quality?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Houseplants are more popular than ever, and they give homeowners the chance to create an indoor oasis. We all know that houseplants add character to a home, but many people use them for potential health benefits. So, do houseplants improve indoor air quality?

Houseplants improve indoor air quality, especially if you place 2 plants per 100 square feet in your home. Many houseplants, such as English ivy, aloe vera, and bamboo palms can remove toxins like formaldehyde and xylene from the air. You will also notice better air quality if you have several household plants, as they produce oxygen, especially overnight.

Prestigious organizations like NASA have conducted research that indicates houseplants such as golden pothos can improve indoor air quality. Pay attention to how much water and sunlight each of your houseplants need, so they can thrive. Follow along as we explore how houseplants improve indoor air quality and highlight which ones are most effective.

How Many Houseplants Do You Need To Improve Indoor Air Quality?

Ideally, you should have at least 2 plants per 100 square feet to improve your home’s indoor air quality. Bigger plants typically release more oxygen. You will have better results if your home has a good ventilation system, as it will help distribute clean oxygen throughout your home.

It’s also important to research plants to make sure they can produce enough oxygen and filter toxins. For example, bamboo palm trees and English ivy can better improve your home’s indoor air quality than flowers such as pansies.

Plan your home’s plant layout based on the size of each room. Bigger rooms will need more plants to impact the air quality. It takes 15-20 plants to see a 75% improvement in your home’s indoor air quality if you live in a mid-sized house.

Which Plant Is Best At Improving Indoor Air Quality?

Whether it be golden pothos or aloe vera, many plants work well for improving indoor air quality. It’s important to choose plants that can remove common toxins from the air in your home, such as xylene, benzene, and formaldehyde. Let’s look at which houseplants can best improve indoor air quality.

English Ivy

If you are concerned about mold, then you should consider growing English ivy indoors. Impressively, English ivy can remove 78% of the mold in the air in your home. This perennial is easy to take care of, and it can help naturally fight mold in your house.

While it can help filter the air in your home, you need to be careful about where you place English ivy if you have pets. English ivy is toxic to household pets if they ingest it, so make sure to put it somewhere out of their reach. This houseplant won’t eradicate all the mold in your home, but it’s a great natural solution to make the air in your house safer and more breathable.


Chrysanthemums, or mums, aren’t just beautiful, but they also produce plenty of oxygen. They produce more oxygen than the average houseplant, and mums also help get rid of harmful toxins such as ammonia, xylene, and benzene.

They are easy to take care of if you don’t oversaturate the soil. You don’t need to put your mums too close to a sun-facing window because they only need 6 hours of sun per day. They will flower more if they get more sunlight, but that’s not necessary for the air purification benefits that mums offer.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera can improve the air quality of your home, and it simply looks great. This unique and instantly recognizable plant is easy to take care of. It is most beneficial at night when aloe vera continually produces and releases oxygen.

Even still, aloe vera always produces oxygen, so you should notice a difference in your home’s air quality. You can also collect the gel that aloe vera contains and use it to treat burns and injuries.

Snake Plant

While the name may be scary, snake plants can significantly improve your home’s indoor air quality. Snake plants can filter out dangerous toxins inside your home, such as xylene, benzene, and formaldehyde. They produce oxygen all day, but snake plants are most prolific at night.

It’s also an easy house plant to take care of because snake plants can thrive under low light conditions. Snake plants can even go up to 14 days without water, but you should monitor the soil to make sure it doesn’t dry out entirely.

Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palms thrive outside, but they also do quite well indoors. They produce over 30% more oxygen than most trees, and you will notice the difference if you put a bamboo palm tree in your home. Toxins like formaldehyde and ammonia are harmful to breath, and bamboo palms can filter them out of the air.

Make sure to give your bamboo palm plenty of space to grow, as they can eventually reach 12 feet tall. However, bamboo palms typically stay between 4 and 7 feet tall when they grow indoors.

Golden Pothos

Several types of pothos can clean the air, but none are as effective as golden pothos. They filter the air throughout the day to improve indoor air quality. Golden pothos also releases plenty of oxygen during a 12-hour window at night.

Even NASA has praised golden pothos for its air-purifying qualities. Try to place your golden pothos near a sun-facing window because they need as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. However, putting golden pothos on a windowsill can discolor the leaves in some cases.

Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera daisies are just as helpful for improving your home’s indoor air quality as they are beautiful. It only takes a day for gerbera daises to remove high quantities of toxins from the air, such as benzene and formaldehyde. They also absorb carbon dioxide throughout the day and release lots of oxygen, especially at night.

It also helps that gerbera daisies are safe for most animals to ingest, so you don’t have to worry about your pets. They only need 6 hours of sunlight each day, so you don’t need to place them on a windowsill for them to grow well.

Is The Air In My Home Making Me Sick?

The air in your home can make you sick due to the presence of mold, toxins, allergens, dirt, and dust. Indoor air can be up to 5 times more harmful than the air outside of your home in some cases. Homeowners that are sensitive to dirt, dust, and common allergens are more likely to get sick from the air in their house.

It’s worthwhile to use indoor houseplants and air purifiers if your home has poor air quality and it affects you negatively. You can also install an air quality monitor to keep track of the toxins and impurities in your home. This can tell you when it’s time to act and have your air ducts cleaned or even hire a professional for mold remediation.

Do Indoor Plants Improve Your Health?

Indoor plants can improve your physical and mental health. Houseplants can remove toxins and impurities from the air that can harm you, especially if you have respiratory problems. You can also improve the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and lack of focus with houseplants.

Do Plants Make Your House Smell Better?

Houseplants can make your house smell better. They continually remove volatile organic compounds in the air that can make your house smell bad. Some plants are more aromatic than others, and the smell will overpower bad odors in your home.

Summing It Up

Houseplants can improve the indoor air quality in your house in many cases. English ivy, mums, aloe vera, and snake plants are among the best houseplants to clean the air. These plants filter toxins such as benzene and xylene.

Bamboo palm trees and golden pothos are also effective and they release plenty of oxygen overnight. Place at least 2 houseplants for every 100 square feet of your house to have the best possible air quality. The air in your home can make you sick if there are too many allergens and toxins, so it helps to take advantage of household plants and air purifiers.

Related Guides

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

More by Nick Durante