Clearing the Air in Your Rental Apartment with Plants


In the hot, sticky days of summer, it’s not always an option to open your window to get fresh air into your home (especially if you have an air conditioner running at full blast). Help to mitigate the stale air in your apartment by purchasing plants and flowers that clean the air for you naturally, all while beautifying your space.Clearing the Air in your Rental Apartment with Plants

According to the website This Old House, you should add as many of these air purifying plants as you can to the areas you spend the most time in. They recommend that you have two plants per 100 square feet of space in these high-traffic areas. However, you should only buy as many as you can care for – a dead plant will not only look unsightly, it will do nothing for the air quality of your apartment.

Up in Space

NASA commissioned a study to find out which plants would help to filter the air of the International Space Station the best. They’ve published their findings so everyone can breathe air that is richer in oxygen and has less formaldehyde and benzene. Try some of these plants that they recommend:

– English ivy

– Spider plant

– Peace lily

– Bamboo palm

– Gerbera daisy

– Rubber plant

– Pot mum (chrysanthemum)

– Chinese evergreen

– Snake plant

– Orchids

Take Care

Once you’ve decided on the plants you’d like to have in your apartment, you’ll need to read up on their care. Most plants will come with a small informational “stick” stuck into the soil or attached to the leaves that will outline how much sunlight and water they need. It’s best to stick to plants that require the same level of care so it will be easier for you (if one plant needs to be watered once a week and the other needs to be watered several times a day, chances are one of them will either get too much or too little water). Follow the recommendations as best as you can – if the soil is too wet, mold can form.


Now it’s time to strategically place the plants around your apartment to get the maximum air-purifying benefits. An orchid, for example, gives off its oxygen at night – place it in your bedroom. If your apartment has recently been painted, you’ll want to place more plants in the room that was done to help get rid of some of those harmful paint-related toxins faster.

This Old House breaks down why some of these plants are so helpful and how your lungs can benefit from their presence:

English Ivy

This hearty, climbing vine thrives in small spaces. It also fares well in rooms with few windows or little sunlight.

Its dense foliage excels at absorbing formaldehyde—the most prevalent indoor pollutant, says Wolverton—which shows up in wood floorboard resins and synthetic carpet dyes.

Peace Lily

Among the few air purifiers that flower, the peace lily adapts well to low light but requires weekly watering and is poisonous to pets.

This year-round bloomer rids the air of the VOC benzene, a carcinogen found in paints, furniture wax, and polishes. It also sucks up acetone, which is emitted by electronics, adhesives, and certain cleaners.

Lady Palm

An easy-to-grow, tree-like species, the lady palm may take a while to start shooting upward. But once it does, its fan-like patterned leaves will add charm to any spot.

Easy on the eyes, this plant targets ammonia, an enemy of the respiratory system and a major ingredient in cleaners, textiles, and dyes.

Snake Plant

Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this sharp-leafed plant thrives in low light. At night it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen (a reversal of the process most plants undergo). Pot a couple and put them in your bedroom for a slight oxygen boost while you sleep.

In addition to helping lower carbon dioxide, the snake plant rids air of formaldehyde and benzene.

Wax Begonia

Place in an area with abundant sunlight and this semi-woody succulent will produce pretty clusters of flat white, pink, or red flowers during the summer.

The wax plant is a heavy hitter in filtering out benzene and chemicals produced by toluene, a liquid found in some waxes and adhesives, according to a University of Georgia study conducted last year.

Happy and healthy planting 🙂

The Team