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Does Cactus Clean the Air?

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 12:54 pm

These days, houseplants are trending, and almost everyone wants to have one. Although the main purpose of having houseplants is to add aesthetic value to a home, air purification is also another equally important factor.

So, many homeowners and gardeners alike resort to looking for the best easy-to-maintain plants that can clean the air quite easily. And if you’re fond of cacti, you may wonder whether they fall into that category.

Well, cacti do clean the air. Depending on the number of plants you have and their sizes, cacti will purify the air wherever it is planted. They do this through the process of photosynthesis and metabolic decomposition. They absorb these gases and particles and convert them into organic chemicals and feed on them, releasing oxygen in the process.

How Many Cactus Plants Do You Need in a Room to Clean Air?

The number of plants you need per room depends on the size of the room and the size of the plants. However, generally, I’ll recommend having a minimum of 2 average-sized cacti plants for every hundred square feet of space indoors. The larger the plant, the more effective the air purification process is.

Additionally, having just one large cactus in an average room measuring 4 by 5 meters may produce air purification by up to 25 percent. If you have two plants, it’s even better as air purification levels are increased by up to 75 percent.

It’s just like the cliché goes: the more, the merrier. Say you have more, like 5 Cacti plants, the results are astronomical, with the most effective air filtration obtained with ten plants.

If the room you have in mind is larger, say 8×8 meters, for example, you’ll need at least 16 plants to get an air purification level of 75 percent. For maximum air filtration, you’ll need like 32 plants. You can modify these to fit your desires.

Cactus will purify the air from carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, volatile gases, tobacco smoke, glues, cosmetics, paint, varnishes, plywood.

They can also filter out radiation particles from the air and are amongst the most efficient in doing this amongst indoor plants.

What Toxic Chemicals Does Cactus Clean Out from Air?

Cactus purify formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide from the air. These toxic chemicals are produced from different sources.

So, without further ado, the following are some of the toxic chemicals cactus clean out from the air:

1. Formaldehyde

Chronic exposure to formaldehyde predisposes to leukemia. It can also lead to a burning throat sensation. This toxic chemical is produced in the home from cigarettes, gas stoves, wood-burning stoves, carpets, and kerosene heaters. Because of this, having cactus in your home is a splendid idea.

2. Benzene

Benzene is produced from furniture wax, glues, detergents, paints, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhausts, and electronics. Prolonged exposure to this gas can lead to anemia following bone marrow failure. This is why you should filter your air with cactus.

3. Radiation

Cactus is amongst the most effective indoor plants in absorbing radiation. Radiation is produced mostly from electrical devices like television, laptops, printers, and others.

Exposure to radiation over prolonged periods can cause mutation of cells and lead to cancers. It would be best if you positioned the cacti plants between the radiation sources and your sitting position.

4. Xylene

Xylene is present in gasoline, adhesives, and nail paint. Inhaling toxic levels impacts the central nervous system. Prolonged exposures can cause headaches.

Interestingly, this is one of the toxins that cacti plants can purify from the air.

5. Carbon Oxides

These gases are usually produced from the incomplete combustion of fuels such as wood fires, clogged vents and chimneys, and electrical appliances. Cacti plants filter these gases and release oxygen into the air.

What is the Best Way to Clean the Air with Cactus?

If you are quite particular about air filtration, you should combine cactus with other plants that can clean air for best results. This is because each plant has specific chemicals that they filter out of air.

To illustrate, here are some other plants you can add to your cacti collection to effectively purify the air.

1. Adiantum

Adiantum is a very good addition to cactus to add to your home. It can filter out toxins in the air called volatile organic compounds.

These chemicals are released from household items like cleaning products, products for personal care, carpets, paint and upholstery, and even electronics like television, laptops, and printers.

Adiantum can absorb about 20 micrograms of formaldehyde in one hour. So, you can imagine how much it will absorb in a day. It can also absorb toluene and xylene.

2. Aloe Vera

Reputed to be one of the most efficient plants in cleansing air, Aloe Vera can be combined with cactus for synergy.

It is proficient in filtering formaldehyde, benzene, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide from the air. It is said that a single pot of aloe vera is equivalent to 9 biological purifiers of air.

3. Ivy

Considered by many to be the “lord of air” when it comes to cleaning, ivy is another fine option to combine with cactus for maximum result.

It can filter out toluene, benzene, xylene, and formaldehyde from the air. It is the most effective absorber of formaldehyde indoors. Within 24 hours, ivy can remove 90 percent of benzene indoors.

4. Spider Plant

This is also an excellent indoor plant to combine with cactus as well. Besides releasing vast amounts of oxygen and removing cancer-causing agents like formaldehyde and styrene, it can also remove nicotine, benzene, and carbon monoxide.

5. Lady Palm

Lady palm is another good indoor plant air cleaner that you can use in addition to cactus. Moreover, it can also absorb ammonia from the air besides formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene.

6. Peace Lily

Peace lily can also be used in combination with cactus. It is the best indoor plant for filtering out volatile organic chemicals from the air. Examples include trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and benzene.


With the upsurge in industrialization, air pollution as a consequence is the order of the day. We breathe unclean air in our offices, on the road, and even in our homes.

That is why, you should have an air cleansing mechanism in your home, and dacti plants are a very good option.


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