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.

Now, there are tons of blog posts talking about this NASA study and how you need to buy those plants to clean your air. Turns out, that study was really not meant to be interpreted in a home setting. This was more of a “look what plants can do” rather than how “one snake plant can help improve air quality.” Given this clarification, plants still can improve your indoor space and make it just feel fresher. After scouring the NASA list I compiled a list of “detoxifying” NASA-suggested plants safe for cats and dogs.


Calathea - Air Purifying Plants


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, and generally the bigger the plant the better. 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.