NASA Guide to Air-Purifying Houseplants

Houseplants are not something you would typically associate with NASA, but in the late ‘80s the US government agency joined forces with the Associated Contractors of America (ALCA), to determine the most effective indoor plants for removing toxic agents from the air. They found that houseplants are awesome indoor air cleaners, and that some of them are more effective than others at filtering out pollutants and toxic chemicals in the air. This infographic (see below) highlights the best air-filtering plants, according to a NASA study.

NASA researchers set out to find the best ways to clean the air in space stations. Their Clean Air study found the plants below are effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air—chemicals that have been linked to a number of health effects.

While the research does date back over 25 years ago, the findings are have stood the test of time, and are regarded as the most comprehensive and accurate results to date.

There are other benefits to having these plants around, but the graphic below from Love the Garden shows you at a glance the plants that make the best natural air filters. NASA research suggests having at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space. (The Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue is pretty hardy, by the way, although not entirely unkillable).