Which Indoor Plants Clean the Air? - Walls of Plants

Which Indoor Plants Clean the Air?

Pollutants are everywhere. This is a fact of life. Whether naturally occurring, or released during construction and renovation projects, gases and harmful organic compounds are present in indoor spaces including homes, offices and even shops.

Natural living plants are scientifically proven to improve air quality, thus reducing the presence of these invisible pollutants from urban environments, and bringing serenity to the physical and mental health of their occupants. Walls of Plants are committed to improving air quality through the instalment of living walls, but which attractive air purifiers should you choose for your indoor space?

How do plants clean the air?

Plants possess the remarkable ability to purify the air through a process called phytoremediation. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, but they also take in airborne pollutants through small pores in their leaves. Once inside the plant, these pollutants are either broken down or stored in the plant tissues.

But this isn’t the only method plants use to clean the air.

Microorganisms present in the soil around the plant roots also contribute to the purification process. These microorganisms help convert harmful compounds into nutrients for the plant or into less harmful substances, effectively cleansing the air.

Common indoor pollutants


Formaldehyde is a colourless gas with a strong, pungent odour. It’s commonly emitted from building materials such as plywood, particleboard, and glues. Household items like carpets, upholstery, and certain cleaning products can also release formaldehyde into the air.

Exposure to formaldehyde can lead to respiratory issues, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and in some cases, long-term health effects.

Plants that Combat Formaldehyde:

  • Golden Pothos
  • Spider Plants
  • Fatsia Japonica

Benzene is a volatile organic compound (VOC) found in various household products like paints, detergents, and plastics.

Long-term exposure to benzene is linked to an increased risk of blood-related disorders. Short-term exposure can cause dizziness, headaches, and irritation of the eyes and skin.

Plants that Combat Benzene:

  • Spider Plants
  • Fatsia Japonica
  • Anthurium

Xylene is commonly found in paints, adhesives, and certain cleaning agents. Short-term exposure to xylene may cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

Plants that Combat Xylene:

  • Golden Pothos
  • Spider Plants
  • Polka Dot

Trichloroethylene is often used in industrial processes and can be found in some household products like adhesives, paints, and spot removers.

Exposure to trichloroethylene can result in headaches, dizziness, and skin irritation. Long-term exposure may contribute to more serious health problems.

Plants that Combat Trichloroethylene:

  • Peace Lilies
  • Spider Plants
  • Philodendron

Which Plants Clean the Air?

To an extent, all plants clean the air. But some species are more effective and suited to indoor environments than most. Here are some plants that have proven to be effective indoor air purifiers.

Golden pothos

Golden Pothos is also referred to as ‘Devil’s Ivy’ because it is thought to be almost impossible to kill. Known for its heart shaped leaves and swooping appearance, it is a low-maintenance plant that excels at removing formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene from the air.

In fact, in a study conducted by NASA, it was rated as one of the best household plants for cleaning the air.

Spider plants

Spider plants are renowned for their adaptability and long, spindly foliage. These spiky shrubs are easy to care for and thrive in bright, light-filled environments.

The resilient plants are excellent at combating pollutants like formaldehyde, xylene and carbon monoxide, although they should not be relied upon as the solution for this toxic gas.

Fatsia Japonica

Also known as the Japanese Aralia, this elegant plant is effective at removing airborne pollutants. Its large, glossy leaves make it a visually appealing addition to indoor spaces, and can create an indoor atmosphere that replicates garden spaces with ease.

If you’re keen on the natural world, then this plant is the ideal addition to any room that requires a touch of greenery and cleaner air.

Boston Fern

Boston fern is known as one of the most effective air purifiers, and would be ideal for households with pets or young children, as it is not toxic when ingested. This feathery and lush fern is versatile and popular in office spaces because it provides a light, airy contradiction to the often stuffy and static feel of the workplace.

As well as being immensely efficient at cleaning the air, it requires minimal care, is easy to pick up at any plant shop, and pest resistant.

Peace Lilies

With their distinctive white flowers and beautiful appearance, peace lilies are not just aesthetically pleasing but also proficient at keeping the condition of the air around us clean. Despite outward appearances, these eye-catching blooms are deceptively simple to care for.

When you provide them with bright light, moist soil and plant food on a monthly basis, you’ll watch your space transform into a tropical paradise whilst reaping the benefits of a plant that not only removes typical toxins from the air, but is known to absorb ammonia too.


Commonly known as the laceleaf or flamingo flower, anthurium is a rainforest plant that has similar air purifying properties to peace lilies. This stunning statement piece has the look of a flowering plant with vibrant red leaves amongst green foliage, and would sit beautifully on any shelf, table or plant wall in your home or office.

Although it evolved in tropical climates, it thrives in indoor environments without fuss, particularly where there is plenty of humidity.

These plants should be kept firmly out of reach of children and pets as they are highly toxic when ingested.


Peperomia has round, rubbery leaves that grow upwards and outwards, and is related to the pepper plant. It comes in a range of different colours and sizes, all of which are recognised for their ability to pull pollutants from the air.

In the Wolverton’s Clean Air Study, it was proven that peperomia reduces the level of formaldehyde indoors by 47%.

Polka Dot

Polka dot plants are easily recognisable by the distinctive spotting that lines their leaves. This spotting can be in a myriad of colours, but its most notable pattern is a deep green leaf with pink spotting. The beauty of this plant is only matched by its ability to remove formaldehyde from the air.

At Walls of Plants, our main focus is removing pollution from busy urban areas through the instalment of stackable living wall systems, suitable for both home and commercial use. By using natural living plants that are scientifically proven to improve air quality, our innovative Greenwalls and Slimwalls are designed to meet your needs with full service and maintenance packages available to ensure your indoor plants continue to clean the air in your home for years to come.

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