12 House Plants that are hard to kill and will clean the air

Work in a small office, a cubicle, a stuffy apartment and want to brighten it up?


We put together a list of the 12 best house plants to clean the air – that also happen to be pretty sturdy and easy to care for. Every house, and climate has a slightly different set up, so they might not all be perfect for you.

This should give you a pretty good start if you want to green up your living space and breath fresh air.

#1 Garden Mum or Chrysanthemum morifolium

Garden-mum is a colorful air-filtering plant for the home

(Flickr – Rachel Kramer)

This wins the day because the indoor air experts, NASA, are the people who rely most heavily on clean pure air in a closed environment found it to be a powerhouse of air-purification.

The garden mum is cheap and it helps remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and xylene from the air.

#2 Spider Plant or Chlorophytum Comosum

the popular spider plant is easy to keep and the flowers make even more spider plants for cleaning your air!

(Flickr – Forest and Kim Starr)

This one is popular because it’s so easy to keep. It’s actually a flowering perennial herb you’ve probably seen the spider plant in offices before.

Bright indirect light and flowers that allow you to plant new baby spider plants!

#3 Dracaena

Flickr - ritesh3

(Flickr – ritesh3)

An ornamental species of the Dracaena (which can be a massive tree!) are popular houseplants.

In fact a rooted stem cutting of this plant is often sold as “lucky bamboo” despite not being bamboo at all.

Also the name makes it sound like a dragon in Game of Thrones, so that makes it manly to keep for the fellas.

The Dracaena is not safe for pets. It’s toxic to cats and dogs.

#4 Ficus or Ficus benjamina

The ficus is an umbrella tree that removes formaldehyde from the air.

(Flickr – Yoppy)

Under the umbrella of the fig tree, the ficus benjamina is a flowering plant that can be quite hardy grown indoors, tolerating shade reasonably well.

It’s susceptible to cold drafts but manages to help remove formaldehyde from the air.

Depending upon the size of the pot you keep it in these can grow quite large and sometimes require pruning.

#5 Peace Lily

Peace lily's are common house plant that's hard to kill and easy to keep, great for cleaning the air.

(Flickr – /\ \/\/ /\)

You’ve seen this a thousand times in offices because this lovely little beauty is hard to kill!

Not only it is tough, it helps remove formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air.

#6 Boston Fern

The boston fern is a perfect bathroom plant.

(Flickr – Andrea Falcone)

Cool locations, high humidity, indirect light. Basically made for the bathroom, plus it filters the same ingredients you might find in paint, or nail polishes.

This makes the soft, prehistoric plant a happy little air cleaning buddy.

#7 Snake plant or Mother-in-law’s Tongue

Snake plant or mother in law's tongue is a barbed tough to kill air cleaning plant!

(Flickr – Charles Hoffman)

Incredibly common because this plant is hard to kill. Water occasionally, little sunlight, and it helps detoxify the air around you. Perhaps they only call it mother in law’s tongue because this plant never stops!

#8 Bamboo Palm

The bamboo palm starts small but can grow huge, and makes a stunning indoor air purification system.

(Flickr – Lukestehr)

If you can give it full bright sun, this beautiful palm can be a stunning indoor plant reaching up to 12 feet tall. It’s most effective as an air filter for formaldehyde but also benzene and trichloroethylene.

#9 Aloe Vera

You can use aloe vera to treat your burns or purify the air. A hardy staple of the indoor plant world.

(Flickr – Olga Berrios)

Growing up there was always an aloe plant around in case you had a burn. Well it turns out it was also happily creates clean air for your home as well.

#10 Schefflera or Brassaia actinophylla

The waxy leaves of a schefflera make it look fake, but it's air purifying power is real.

(Flickr – Tree Species)

Sturdy looking oval leaves with a waxy shine can make the Schefflera looks fake!

Especially if you let dust build up on the leaves, if you give them an occasional wipe down though it’s a beautiful plant that helps remove a lot of the toxins you might find in second hand smoke.

#11 Orchids

Orchids aren't as hard to care for as you think, plus they release oxygen during the night.

(Flickr – Charlie Nguyen)

The incredibly beautiful orchid has a reputation of difficulty. So why did we keep it on the list?

The reality is if you stop over-caring for it and neglect it a little, it will probably live longer!

It’s an indoor plant that needs lots of light, and medium watering. It’s stunning to look at and removes xylene from the air. Orchids also respire, this means that at night they produce oxygen, so are sometimes favored as a bedroom plant.

#12 Pothos or Epipremnum aureum

The pothos plant has beautiful golden heart shaped leaves, it's sturdy and removes carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the air.

(Flickr – Maja Dumat)

This plant has lovely golden heart shaped leaves that are quite hardy. They survive in lower light, colder temperatures, and help rid your home of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.

We see trucks outside spraying malathion for mosquito’s, big trucks letting out puffs of exhaust while dust is kicked up on roadways.

Sometimes it seems safer to stay indoors to avoid all the obvious ‘stuff’ in the air.

Unfortunately the crazy reality is that because of the stagnant air your home is far more likely to be building up with unseen pollutants than you realize!

So try these plants to brighten up your space and freshen your air.

(Source 1Source 2  – Source 3)