After living in an old house for many years, we had noticed that our air quality was not the best. Allergies and everyday sniffles seemed to be a regular problem, and it eventually reached a point where we needed to act.

We went shopping at our local home supply stores for an air purifier, but all we found were headaches! With so many models to choose from we were overwhelmed. Most models easily cost $100, and others were so noisy there would be no way we could sleep while they were  running. Some needed messy filters changed regularly, and others required the purchase of additional supplies for use. In the end, we saw a lot of extra work and dollar signs.

We started looking into natural ways to purify the air in our home and were quite pleasantly surprised at what we discovered. Not only are there many ways to naturally clean the air in your home, they are quite simple and very inexpensive, too! No bulky, noisy, and expensive machinery required! In fact, the easiest way just requires a simple trip to a florist or gardening center.

Snake plants, also known as “mother-in-law’s tongue,” is known as a natural air purifier. A two-year NASA study found it reduced certain toxic chemicals by up to 53 percent. Although the name is a bit unappealing (what is up with those awful names, anyway?) it is more affordable than a commercial air purifier and adds some green to the home, too.

An snake plant can be purchased for around $12 for an 8-inch plant. They can be divided as they grow, so if you know someone who already has one, you can ask for cuttings and get a start going for free!


It requires only a minimal amount of sunlight (a room without windows is fine for this plant). But don’t worry about finding the perfect spot: This is a hearty species and will adapt to an environment with lots of light or low light. Be careful not to overwater (it is a tropical plant). Depending on the room’s temperature, watering generously every couple weeks should be sufficient. Drooping foliage indicates the plant is being overwatered, while foliage that is wrinkled or bent indicates the plant needs more water.


Experts list the snake plant as one of the best plants for improving air quality. It’s often recommended for the bedroom because it converts CO2 into oxygen at night. Since most people spend at least eight hours (hopefully) in their bedrooms each evening, they benefit from breathing better air during sleep.

The NASA study showed the plant caused a 53% reduction in the chemical benzene (commonly used to make plastic and then released into our air). It also caused a 13% reduction in the chemical trichloroethylene, a common contaminant in drinking water that is commonly released though steam (during hot showers). While most plants take away oxygen at night, this one gives off oxygen at night. The plant also filters formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air. How amazing is that?

Recommended quantity

These plants pack a punch when gathered in groups. It is recommended to have four to six plants per person for optimal output from this oxygen factory. This does not mean you need four to six actual pots in one room, however (you don't want to feel like you are sleeping in a jungle!). Simply combine plants into a larger planter for maximum effectiveness.

Keep dust off the plants by simply wiping clean with a damp cloth or dusting gently with a commercial duster.

Safety note: Snake plants are toxic, so be cautious if it will be kept in a household with children or pets.

Use a Plant as a Natural Air Purifier