This guide provides you with the best air purifying house plants that are hard to kill, considered low maintenance and perfect for beginners thanks to their resilient nature.


Can House Plants Really Purify the Air?

Indoor plants lend to a trendier-chic living space, but do they really purify the air and remove harmful toxins? Turns out, yes they do.

A 1989 study conducted by NASA found that indoor plants cleanse the air of carcinogenic compounds and harmful irritants such as benzene and formaldehyde and reduce the level of harmful compounds in the air by up to 40%.

It was also found that the microorganisms within the potted plant soil had a key role in this.

But before you head to the garden centre and scoop up any plant you can find you should know that not all plants are made equal.

Again, according to NASA the bigger and leafier the plant, the better its air purifying capabilities.

“The amount of leaf surface area influences the rate of air purification,” says Bill Wolverton, a former NASA research scientist who conducted that 1989 plant study.

On top of that, you’ll also want to select air purifying house plants that are easy to care for, considered low maintenance and are hard to kill.

There’s no point in having a finicky house plant that dies easily as this defeats the purpose!

For ease of your selection, we’ve also included whether or not these house plants are pet-friendly so you can rest assured your feline or canine companions are safe.

What Exactly is Polluting the Air in your Home?

  1. Benzene – Found in glues, paints, furniture wax and detergents
  2. Formaldehyde – found in disinfectants, commercial adhesives, outside emissions and consumer products.
  3. Trichloroethylene – Released during home renovation i.e. metal work, paint strippers, rug cleaners
  4. Xylene and Toluene – Commonly found in a variety of household sprays and consumer products
  5. Ammonia – Aerosols and freshener sprays used in the home.
  6. Carbon Monoxide – Outside emissions, stoves, generators, garden tools, barbeques

To help you select the best air purifying plants to place in your home, we’ve put together a list of hard to kill plants that not only look stunning but are perfect for beginners!

These indoor plants have been reported to:

  • Reduce indoor air pollution
  • Reduce irritation to nose, ears and mouth from chemicals inside the home
  • Lower your stress levels
  • Prevent or ease coughing and congestion

1) Spider Plant


Incredibly easy to keep, the spider plant is a champion air purifier, and is one of the hardest plants to kill, making them a great choice for beginners or busy owners.

This versatile houseplant grows well in both light shade or brightly lit spaces, although they prefer indirect sunlight.

Ease of Care Rating: 9/10

Toxins Removed: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Carbon Monoxide

Safe for pets? Yes. The Spider plant is safe and non-toxic for dogs and cats to be around.

Top Tip: Re-pot the little ‘spiderettes’ and grow a family of spider plants.

2) Snake Plant or Mother In Law’s Tongue


These yellow striped succulents release oxygen at night lending to a better night’s sleep.

Considered an extremely hard plant to kill, they only need to be watered occasionally and generally prefer drier conditions.

They can also tolerate most light conditions, making them perfect for practically any home, flat or office space.

Ease of Care Rating: 9/10

Toxins Removed: Formaldehyde, Xylene, Benzene and Trichloroethylene.

Safe for Pets? Yes. Non-toxic to dogs and cats.

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3) ZZ Plant


ZZ plant is another low maintenance houseplant.

You’ll spot a lot of ZZ plants in malls and shopping centres as they can thrive in darker, low light conditions (though they prefer bright, indirect sunlight) and only require the occasional watering, roughly once every 2 weeks.

Safe for pets? No. This plant is poisonous to cats and dogs. Choose a pet safe plant instead.

Ease of Care Rating: 8/10

Toxins Removed: Benzene, Formaldehyde and Xylene.

4) Chinese Evergreen

Small and compact, the Chinese evergreen is perfect for smaller spaces, and forgetful owners.

The Chinese Evergreen plant is highly tolerant to poor light conditions, dry environments and drought.

It typically prefers cooler temperatures, but needs to kept away from drafts.

Evergreens prefer to be watered once every 2 weeks, and make sure to let their soil dry out in between waterings.

This gorgeous leafy plant adds a pop of color to any room.

Safe for pets? No. Toxic for all pets. Choose a pet safe plant instead.

Ease of Care Rating: 8/10

Toxins Removed: Xylene and Formaldehyde.

5) Pothos


This gorgeous trailing vine like plant is arguably one of the easiest houseplants to keep and ranks very high when it comes to air purifying house plants.

With its heart-shaped green leaves, they typically prefer bright, but indirect sunlight, but they have been known to thrive in almost any light conditions, making them perfect for shadier apartments or homes.

Safe for pets? No. Toxic to cats and dogs. Choose another plant.

Ease of Care Rating: 9/10

Toxins Removed: Formaldehyde, Benzene.

6) Heart Leaf Philodendron

Philodendrons are considered extremely easy to care for thanks to their high tolerance to many different light conditions.

They can thrive in almost any kind of light; low light, indirect sun, medium light etc.

This type of philodendron in particular likes low light, humid environments and can be watered once every 10 days.

Safe for pets? No. Toxic to cats and dogs. Will cause vomiting and intestinal issues. Choose another plant.

Ease of Care Rating: 8/10

Toxins Removed: Formaldehyde

7) Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena)


Often found in offices, these inexpensive, slow growing plants come in more than 40 different varieties.

Dracaena can grow up to 8 feet tall so will need to be repotted at some point.

Keep these spiky beauties in a reasonably well lit room with high ceilings, and mist them with water rather than watering them with a can.

Safe for pets? No. These are very toxic to cats and dogs. Choose another plant.

Ease of Care Rating: 7/10

Toxins Removed: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Xylene and Trichloroethylene.

8) Weeping Fig


Looking for a taller indoor houseplant with luscious deep green leaves?

This popular Victorian Palour plant can grow up to 10 feet tall, so you’ll need to have room for it to grow.

Considered a little fussier than their other air purifying counterparts, weeping figs aren’t a fan of change; they enjoy bright, indirect sunlight away from drafts and like their soil to dry out before watering again.

Safe for pets? No. They are toxic to cats and dogs. Choose another plant.

Ease of Care Rating: 6.5/10

Toxins Removed: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Tricholoroethylene

9) Boston Fern


Boston Ferns will immediately add a touch of color to any room, and transport you back to the Jurassic era in the process.

Considered one of the easiest house plants to grow, the Boston Fern requires conditions similar to its home environment; the forest floor. All it needs is a moist environment with some indirect sunlight.

The soil should never be completely dry, and ideally it should have a good soak once a month.

Add a humidifier to your room to help this gorgeous house plant thrive.

Safe for pets? Yes. These are non-toxic and pet-friendly houseplants.

Ease of Care Rating: 9/10

Toxins Removed: Formaldehyde, Xylene

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