Why Clean Your Plants?

Just like anything else in the home, houseplants can get dusty. They may also acquire grime and mineral deposits left behind from water. All of this buildup can inhibit the plants from functioning like they should and take away from their organic, vibrant look. In this article, you will find out  how to clean houseplant leaves and make them shine – and why it’s important to do it regularly. Hint: it’ll increase their beauty, improve their health, and even help them purify indoor air. A clean leaf is a happy leaf!

  • Cleaning Plants Makes Them Healthier

As you can probably imagine, a layer of dust on plants and the surface of their leaves won’t let in as much sunlight. As a result, the plant won’t be able to photosynthesize as effectively. Photosynthesis is responsible for the production of chlorophyll and assists houseplants in all of their processes, from moisture absorption to energy transfer. With less opportunity for photosynthesis, houseplants will be less efficient overall, and their health will suffer. When you clean the leaves of your green friends, you let more nourishing sunlight in – similar to wiping the grime from a window.

  • Clean Plant Leaves Look a Lot Better

Clean indoor plant leaves

You’d be surprised how much dust can dull your plants’ naturally bright green color. Just a wipe with a soft rag or a gentle spray with water can have them looking shinier. While there are ‘Plant Shine’ products available, these are not actually good for indoor plants and can inhibit their natural processes (including the absorption of sunlight and of CO2). Instead, clean your plants’ leaves regularly, and you’ll get them looking better than ever.

  • Clean Plants Can More Effectively Freshen the Air

Indoor plants absorb CO2 and release oxygen through the pores in their leaves. Dusty, scummy, or grimy leaves simply can’t absorb as much CO2 or release as much oxygen into the air. This will cause the plant’s health and quality of the air to suffer. Dusting or washing your plants can go a long way in improving their health and increasing the quality of the air!

How to Clean Plant Leaves And Make Them Shine

There are a few ways that you can clean houseplants. For particularly grimy leaves, try a bit of soap with about ¼ TBSP of dish soap to 1 quart of water.  Keep in mind that not all houseplants are suitable for spraying or misting. Some should instead be dusted or brushed off. 

  • Dunk Your Plants in Water

How to clean leaves dunking plants in water

Some indoor  plants are hardy enough to withstand a good, old-fashioned dunk in water. This is one of the fastest ways to clean your green buddies and their leaves: simply fill a bucket with fresh water. Water your houseplant, so the soil stays down. Then, use your hand to support the plant and its soil while dunking it top-first into the water. Gently swirl it around until the dirt and scum are washed away. Allow the plant to drip dry a bit before setting it upright again. This method should only be used on the species that can withstand it, or their leaves may break. 

  • Give Your Plants a Shower

How to clean plant leaves giving them a shower

Bring your indoor plants in when you shower. Or, since the water shouldn’t be hot (or cold), you may prefer to give them their own lukewarm shower. Once you’ve got the temperature right, ensure that the water pressure is suitably low. Otherwise, the force of the spray may cause the leaves to break.

You will also want to use your hands to support the leaves that are directly in the spray, as this can help ensure that the stems and leaves won’t bend or break. Make sure that your houseplants are able to dry off quickly after their shower. To reduce the humidity afterward, turn on the bathroom fan, or open the door or window.

  • Use a Plant Mister

The best way to hydrate delicate houseplants is with a mister. There are special plant misting bottles with a very fine spray that can work excellently against dust on plants. For scum and grime, you will need to wipe the plant down with a soft cotton rag, along with applying the mister. Make sure to do this out of the sun, so the water doesn’t scald the leaves as it naturally dries in the air. You can also prevent leaf scald and potential mold growth by manually drying the leaves off.

  • Spray Your Plants in the Kitchen Sink

One of the ways to wash your houseplants is in the kitchen sink. Compared to the shower, it’s a lot easier to control the water pressure and temperature, as well as hold the leaves so they don’t break.

  • Brush the Dust Off (Plants You Shouldn’t Clean in Water)

How to clean plant leaves brushing the dust off

There are several indoor plants with leaves that are sensitive to moisture. When their leaves get wet, they can splotch, mold, and scar. For these plants, you will instead want to brush the dust off. 

  • African Violet. It’s true that African Violets are accustomed to rainforest, but they also get lots of shade from the canopy, allowing them to stay relatively dry while their leaves absorb moisture. When African Violets get wet, they will quickly scar.
  • Orchid. Like African Violets, Orchids grow in rainforests, but they grow ‘upside-down,’ allowing the water to drip by without causing their leaves to soak.
  • Bear Paw. Bear Paws are fuzzy and can all-too-easily absorb too much water. This will rapidly cause their ‘wet paws’ to develop rot (they should never get wet, ideally).

Clean the Debris from the Soil

Part of keeping a clean plant is clearing debris from the soil. This will prevent mold from developing on the fallen leaf bits, flowers, etc. and keep your plant safer. It will also allow better airflow and help to keep pests in check.

As you can see, cleaning your plants is an important part of their care routine. This will keep their leaves in tip-top shape, and now that you know how to clean them – your leafy friends will thank you by beautifying your home and providing you and your family with cleaner and fresher air.