6 air-filtering houseplants that make you breathe easier

Aug 19, 2014

As an Earth-dwelling organism, we know air is important to you. If you happen to also be a work-from-home freelancer, then the quality of the air in your home is pretty important too, given you are breathing it in for most of your day.

You could spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy air filtration system, or fill your home and home office with the very best in houseplant air-filtration. Let nature do its business, so you can get down to yours.

1. Aloe Vera

Photo by: @kellllbell

Will you kill it?: You would be hard-pressed to kill this plant. Succulent plants are good starter plants for those with questionably-colored thumbs because they don’t require too much fussing over.

Sun: Full sun

Water: Water sparingly in winter, maybe once every week or two. You can soak the soil in summer, however, let the soil dry out between waterings.

Why it’s great: It clears formaldehyde and benzene (which are byproducts of many chemical-based cleaners and paints). Additionally the gel inside is great for treating cuts and burns!

2. Spider Plant

Photo by: @r_dickerman

Will you kill it?: Try to kill it, I dare you, it cannot be done.

Sun: Prefer bright light, but will grow in semi-shade or partial direct sun as well

Water: Water often in warmer months, cut watering back in winter.

Why it’s great: This hearty plant takes arms against formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide.

3. Snake Plant

Photo by: @allpowerfultim

Will you kill it?: Only if you severely over-water or under-water or don’t believe in yourself.

Sun: They prefer bright light, but, can survive in low light.

Water: Let soil dry out between waterings and err on the side of under-watering.

Why it’s great: A great plant for your bathroom since it loves steamy humidity and filtering out formaldehyde which can be found in cleaning products, toilet paper, and personal care products.

4. Golden Pothos

Photo by: @cubiclegardener

Will you kill it?: Not likely, this plant can take just about anything you throw at it.

Sun: Prefer bright, indirect light

Water: Let soil dry out completely between waterings. Water when leaves start to look droopy.

Why it’s great: Can be grown as a hanging plant and will produce lovely and fast-growing vines all while filtering out that pesky formaldehyde.

5. Weeping fig

Photo by: @charliekillick

Will you kill it?: Maybe, this is a very tricky plant to maintain, but not knowing whether you are fit for keeping a ficus alive makes life interesting, right?

Sun: Bright light

Water: Water thoroughly and allow to dry slightly between watering. Keep the soil slightly drier in the winter months.

Why it’s great: A great living room plant that filters out pollutants that are commonly found in carpeting and furniture such as trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde.

6. Chinese Evergreen

Photo by: @interiorgardensaustin

Will you kill it?: Probably not, unless the plant gets too cold (it likes to be kept above 55º).

Sun: Prefers low light

Water: Prefers slightly drier soil, the stalks will rot if the soil is kept too moist.

Why it’s great: This plant can filter out all sorts of air pollutants and just gets better at filtering out air pollutants the longer it is exposed to them.

Freelancers, what’s your favorite houseplant? Share your photos @freelancersu and follow us on Instagram!

Ashlee Christian is from the north-side of Chicago and will never stop saying "pop" or eating pizza with a fork and knife, so please stop trying to change her. Follow her on Twitter @nomadnation