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Houseplants That Clean Your Indoor Air

The National Gardening AssociationFor years, I've heard that certain houseplants help keep indoor air clean by removing pollutants. Bill Wolverton, former NASA scientist, confirms this fact in his book How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office. In his book, Wolverton rates plants on four criteria: effectiveness in removing the three main indoor pollutants (formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide); ease of growing; resistance to insect and disease; and ability to transpire (release) moisture. Based on those criteria, the top three houseplants were Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa), Rubber plant (Ficus robusta), and English ivy (Hedera helix).


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Wolverton estimates that you need two or three full-sized plants (in 10- to 12-inch containers) per 100- to 150-square-foot room for best results. If you don't have enough room for full-sized plants, place plants in "breathing zones" in your room, such as near the bed or office desk, for optimal results.


(Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)



HHI Error Correction Policy

HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

Houseplants That Clean Your Indoor Air:  Created on December 16th, 2007.  Last Modified on May 18th, 2010


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Other Articles by Charlie Nardozzi, National Gardening Association (NGA)

About Charlie Nardozzi, National Gardening Association (NGA)

The National Gardening Association (NGA), founded in 1973, is a nonprofit leader in plant-based education. NGA actively works to promote “best practice” principles that result in healthy lawns, gardens and gardeners. They provide tools and resources needed to support gardening as an enjoyable, satisfying and environmentally responsible activity. Visit



Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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