Using Houseplants to Clean Indoor Air (Mold, Humidity, Odors, Chemicals)


Biologists call it “phytoremediation” Scientists may refer to it as “rhizofiltration” and gentrifiers can be overheard saying they spent the weekend phytotherapitizing their new apartment. We’re going to stick with this; Using Plants to Improve Indoor Air! I know, I know, it’s longer to say but still: you know exactly what I’m talking about. Right?

Whatever you call it, one thing is for sure: House plants can transform a humble space into an oasis of tranquility and natural splendor, and help ease our stress levels while contributing lots of incredible oxygen into our spaces.

In addition to their calming effects, and ability to inject our surroundings with oxygen, plants can also help solve common household air quality problems. Let’s have a look…

How Plants Can Improve Your Home

There are plenty of ways that plants can improve our homes. These are just a few of the benefits you’ll get from having a plant or two around for the purpose of improving air quality.

Understand that Air Quality can impact mood

Perk Up a Depressing Space

If you’re feeling like your home is looking a little bit blah, or YOU are feeling a little bit in the dumps, it could be a result of stale indoor air quality. If this sounds like you, let your plant do a double duty by trying a color pop of orange or yellow.

Both colors are known for their ability to elevate a person’s mood. Add an indoor flowering plant into the corner and watch the space transform from meh to marvelous!

Feeling Blah: May We Suggest Kalanchoe?

Whether you live in a smaller apartment or a larger house, getting a plant or two to elevate your mood is one of the best ways to improve your living conditions. A welcome bonus is that plants will help make your home look more put-together and inviting.

Contribute Positively To Mental Health

Nature is good for your mental health, and indoor plants are a great way to get the bountiful benefits of nature all of the time. No matter how bad your day is, there’s something really restorative about being surrounded by plant life. House plants can boost your spirits and help you find your center in an uncertain world.

If you have absolutely no nature to look at through windows (like you’re facing a brick wall), go for lush greenery or multiple plants in one location. Look how this grouping of orchids made a cold place look happy.

And if you have the space for a miniature tree, go for it! Bringing nature indoors is a great way to bring calm and joy to an otherwise blank space.

Plants can Absorb Chemicals

In addition to being great for your home aesthetic and mental health, plants can also help to remove chemicals from the air within your home. You can’t see many different types of toxins that float around in the air, but rest assured, they are there.

Especially if you’ve recently purchased anything made of chipped wood/MDF (read our article about particle board furniture smell).  Fortunately, plants can come to the rescue!

Some varieties of plants, like dracaena, can soak up pollutants and filter your air.

As an added bonus, these types of plants are attractive and look good in just about any type of space.

Eradicating harmful pollutants is just one trick that plants have up their sleeves. There are plenty more benefits to investing in some indoor plants.

What Other Plants Remove Toxins?

Peace lilies and spider plants will also do the trick.

Plants Can Eliminate Unwanted Odors

Plants don’t just suck up indoor pollution, they can also eliminate unwanted odors from your home. One of the most common unpleasant smells that plants can whisk away is the stench of cigarettes.

Cigarette smoke is notoriously difficult to eradicate from a home, even if nobody has been smoking in it for several months. Cigarette toxins and odors can linger in the air, stick in the walls, and reappear long after the last butt has been stubbed out.

Nicotine can live inside walls

Years ago when my parents bought their 3rd home, I remember sitting in their breakfast nook which happened to be located just outside the laundry room.  Well the humidity from the dryer forced a yellow gooey substance out of the painted walls.  What was it?  Nicotine from years of accumulated cigarette smoke!

Plants can soak up Cigarette Odors

If you live in an apartment with carpeting, smoke can be even more difficult to remove, but plants can help get rid of the smell and residual toxins from cigarettes for good.

Some plants varieties actually suck up the toxins and replace them with oxygen, cleaning your air without you even needing to lift a finger. In addition to cigarette smoke, plants can also remove unpleasant odors from your home.

Instead of spraying harmful and artificial aerosols that cover up bathroom or kitchen odors, why not invest in some plants? Odor busting plants include

  • peace lilies
  • jasmine
  • gardenia
  • chrysanthemum.
Gardenia is sooooo fragrant

All of these plants are exceptionally easy to maintain and they look lovely. Invest in some of these plants and these areas of your home will look and smell totally fresh.

Can Plants Can Consume Mold Spores?

Mold infestations can wreak havoc on your health, causing bad respiratory problems and sinus infections. Mold is not good for your lungs, the integrity of your home, or your overall health. It also looks unsightly and is just plain unhygienic.

Unfortunately, mold is also stubborn and can crop up in any number of different places, including damper rooms like your bathroom or basement. To learn more about mold and its humble mildew beginnings, check our article here. Fortunately, house plants can come to the rescue!

Which Plants Help with Mold?

Large-leaved plants can utilize mold spores for food, sucking up the toxins and replacing them with human-healthy oxygen. If you have a mold problem or want to keep mold at bay, consider investing in a

  • rubber tree plant
  • bamboo
  • snake plant
plants for better indoor air quality
Snake Plant Helps with Mold

These plants are hearty, easy to handle, and can filter mold spores as they travel through the air.

Got Moldy Bathrooms?

Bathrooms are excellent spots for plant-life because the plants help transform the space and can erase unpleasant bathroom odors.

Certain types of plants will also inhibit bathroom mold. Consider investing in a stately plant for your bathroom. It can really do wonders and help keep the room hygienic. You can read a separate article here: Best Plants for Bathroom Odors.

Plants Can Fight Humidity

In addition to eating up mold and helping keep toxins at bay, plants can actually help fight humidity!

Ferns for Humidity

Certain types of ferns thrive in moist environments and suck up humidity like sponges. Pop these plants into your bathroom and enjoy a better environment for showering and freshening up. Additionally, ferns don’t need too much care. All you need to do is make sure that they have enough access to sunlight and you are good to go!

The other added benefit of putting your plants in humid places is that you generally do not need to water them.

Plants Can Improve Your Air Quality

Even the cleanest homes have some air quality issues, and plants can help keep your air clean and clear of anything that could cause your lungs problems. We discussed the ability of plants to remove chemicals from the air, but there are also certain types of plants that infuse your air with extra lung-benefiting oxygen.

Aloe vera is not just good for your sunburns. It is also an excellent plant to have on-hand if you want to have amazing air quality. Rubber tree plants and spider plants improve your air quality as well, so scatter these plants around your home to make the most of your space.

Indoor plants are a great way to detox your home naturally and improve the quality of your air. You can put them in virtually any room, and they will do wonders removing unpleasant odors, stopping harmful mold in its tracks, and contributing to a healthy environment.

In short, plants rule!

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