Top 10 Houseplants for Oxygenating and Filtering Indoor Air, According to NASA

December 14, 2021 at 8:18 am

NASA’s Clean Air Study found these houseplants removed up to 90 percent of air toxins in a sealed room within 24 hours

During the energy crunch of the late 1970s, Americans started building air-tight, super-insulated buildings.

These energy-efficient buildings significantly reduced electricity bills, but came along with a new set of problems.

The lack of fresh-air flow, combined with off-gassing from synthetic building materials and furniture, created a new health condition known as “sick building syndrome.”

Office workers breathing nearly 100-percent-recycled air all day began complaining of itchy eyes, skin rashes, drowsiness, headaches and allergies.

As the manufacturer of the most air-tight “office” spaces in the world, NASA began working on a solution to indoor pollution in the 1980s. Here’s what they came up with: houseplants.

Below is a list of the best indoor-air-cleaning houseplants, according to NASA’s 1989 study.

As well as soaking up carbon dioxide and creating fresh oxygen for you to breathe, the following plants also all eliminate impressive amounts of the common indoor air toxins benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

“As an emitter of carbon dioxide, man himself is a source of indoor air pollution,” the authors of the report write.
“Since man’s existence on Earth depends upon a life support system involving an intricate relationship with plants and their associated microorganisms, it should be obvious that when he attempts to isolate himself in tightly sealed buildings away from this ecological system, problems will arise,” wrote lead investigator B.C. Wolverton, a microbiologist for NASA.
“The answer to these problems is obvious,” he added. “If man is to move into closed environments on Earth or in space, he must take along Nature’s life support system.”

Here are the Top 10 air cleaners:

English Ivy removed 90 percent of dangerous levels of benzene injected into a sealed room:

Mass Cane removed 70 percent of formaldehyde:

Gerbera Daisy removed 50 percent of formaldehyde and 68 percent of benzene:

Marginata removed 79 percent of benzene:
Peace Lily removed 80 percent of benzene:
Chrysanthemum removed 61 percent of formaldehyde, 53 percent of benzene and 41 percent of trichloroethylene:

Warneckei removed 50 percent of formaldehyde and 70 percent of benzene:

Golden Pothos removed 73 percent of benzene:

Janet Craig removed 78 percent of benzene:


Snake Plant removed 53 percent of benzene. The snake plant is also one of the few plants that continues emitting oxygen (rather than reabsorbing it) at night, and is therefore safe to keep in your bedroom!

NASA researchers suggest at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space for effective air cleaning.