Once I added plants into my home a lot of things changed. My permanent stuffy nose disappeared, my headaches reduced, and I was able to breathe deeper. The air just feels cleaner and fresher and I’m digging’ it.

It wasn’t just because NASA told me plants could make my home’s air cleaner, it was a change I wasn’t even thinking could happen. While you do need quite a few plants to make a noticeable difference in air quality, that isn’t a problem for us plant parents. The more the merrier.

Many of NASA’s air-purifying plants are toxic to pets, which sucks, but all hope is not lost. Here’s a list of NASA-approved, Leaf&Paw-suggested detoxifying and air purifying plants safe for cats and dogs.


Calathea - Air Purifying Plants


Variegated Hoya - Air Purifying Plants
Photo by The Gardening Queen / @thegardeningqueen

African Violet

Variegated African Violet - Air Purifying Plants

Areca Palm

Palm - Air Purifying Plants


Crispy Fern - Air Purifying Plants

Spider Plant

Spider Plants  - Air Purifying Plants


Maranta - Air Purifying Plants


Bromeliads - Air Purifying Plants

Many varieties of these certain plant families, such as ferns and palms, offer the same air-cleansing benefits. Parlour palms, Bostons ferns, and Fan palms are just a few. Rubber trees are also excellent chemical reducers and air purifiers, but they aren’t 100% safe for pets, so I recommend them with reservations.

Air-Cleansing Plant Placement

While I believe plants should go everywhere in the home, a few places are key for air freshness. I suggest shoving plants in your:

  • Bedroom (a couple on bedside tables are lovely)
  • Bathroom (near the bathtub, hanging from the shower)
  • Living Room (everywhere, plants should be everywhere)
  • Kitchen (put herbs and plants in corners away from stoves)
  • Home office (cancel out chemicals your office furniture bring in)
  • Workspace (plants make a huge difference in cubicles or small offices)
Urban Jungle with Cats

I’ve found that too many plants in a bedroom can actually make sleeping uncomfortable. Plus, according to feng shui, a lot of bedroom plants are not ideal since they produce carbon dioxide that can lead to increased breathing. Personally I’ve placed most of my plants in my home office and living room which are larger open spaces.

Maybe plants help cats breathe easier too, but Harvey and Harlequinn have not given me any feedback. They do like the jungle atmosphere though, very much.