This list of air filtering plants was compiled by NASA as part of the NASA Clean Air Study, which researched ways to clean air in space stations. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, as all plants do, these plants also eliminate significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene.
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
- Golden pothos or Devil’s ivy (Scindapsus aures or Epipremnum aureum)
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)
- Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)
- Bamboo palm or reed palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
- Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
- Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium, syn. Philodendron cordatum)
- Selloum philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum, syn. Philodendron selloum)
- Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)
- Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
- Cornstalk dracaena (Dracaena fragans ‘Massangeana’)
- Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’)
- Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
- Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
- Gerbera Daisy or Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
- Pot Mum or Florist’s Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
- Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
Most of the plants on the list evolved in tropical or subtropical environments. Due to their ability to flourish on reduced sunlight, their leaf composition allows them to photosynthesize well in household light.
The recommendation of NASA is to use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in six- to eight-inch diameter containers in a 1,800 square-foot house. The amount of exposed surface soil is also important, as microorganisms in the soil consume trace amounts of airborne toxins as well.