Houseplants are not just for decorating the home. Many houseplants help to clean the air inside a home of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene with a process known as photosynthesis. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researchers, you need to use one potted plant per every 100 square feet for the plants to be proactive in cleaning the air in the home. NASA tested 12 houseplants that were obtained from a nursery. The potted plants were in regular potting soil and were fed Miracle-Gro fertilizer so the plants stayed healthy during the testing.

The ficus plant is just one indoor plant used to clean the air of pollutants

Nine Plants Remove Trichloroethylene

Bamboo palm, English ivy, Gerbera daisy, Janet Craig, marginata, mass cane, mother-in-law's tongue, peace lily and warneckei will remove trichloroethylene from the air. Trichloroethylene comes from items such as adhesives, varnishes, lacquers, paints and printing inks. Trichloroethylene can cause headaches, dizziness and in some people, elevated levels can cause confusion.

Ten Plants Remove Benzene

Benzene pollutants in the air come from common items such as synthetic fibers, cigarette smoke, gasoline, detergents, dyes, plastics, paints, oils and inks. Benzene causes skin and eye irritation. Elevated levels of benzene can cause irregular heartbeat, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness. The houseplants that clean the air of this pollutant are Gerbera daisy, pot mum, English ivy, mother-in-law's tongue, warneckei, peace lily, Chinese evergreen, marginata, bamboo palm and Janet Craig.

Eight Plants Remove Formaldehyde

English ivy, mother-in-law's tongue, ficus, peace lily, Chinese evergreen, marginata, bamboo palm and Janet Craig can remove formaldehyde from the air. Formaldehyde pollutants in the air come from such things as natural gas, cigarette smoke, fire retardants, wax paper, grocery bags, press-wood, plywood and foam insulation. Formaldehyde causes irritation of the throat, nose and eyes and can cause headaches.


Plants take in carbon dioxide (and pollutants) from the air and release oxygen into the air, thus cleaning the air in a home.