Outdoor houseplants, like any other piece of decor or furniture in your home, need to be cleaned on a regular basis. It’s not like dusting your baseboards or vacuuming your rug that it’s an aesthetic issue. Regularly cleaning plants (and, of course, how you clean them) may have an effect on their health.
How you cleaning plants depends on the type of plant and leaves, as well as how unclean they are. In some circumstances, a simple dusting would be sufficient. A dirty plant may need extra attention and care (and even a trim while you’re at it).
Have you never cleaned a plant before, or are you unsure which procedure to use on yours? We’ve got your back. Here’s how to keep your indoor plants clean.
Why Is Cleaning Plants Important?
After all, no one enjoys a dusty plant. But science is also to blame! Your plants, like the rest of your house, will acquire dust, filth, and other debris if you don’t clean them on a regular basis. A layer of dust on a plant’s leaves can reduce the quantity of light it absorbs, making it impossible for it to feed itself through photosynthesis.
How Often Should You Cleaning Plants?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how often you should clean your plants. A good rule of thumb is to check the leaves every time you water. If a plant has visible dust or debris on it, or if you feel dust when rubbing the leaves, it’s definitely time for a cleaning. The accumulation of more dust may be aided by certain circumstances. If you frequently open your windows, for example, you may need to clean your plants more often than someone who does not.
5 Methods for Cleaning Plants
Cleaning a plant can be done in a variety of ways. You might wish to use a gentle duster tool if yours has fuzzy leaves or delicate blossoms. A sponge and soapy water can be used to clean flat and wide leaves. Alternatively, if you have a lot of plants, you could take them all into the shower with you for a bath (seriously!).
Go straight to the instructions for each method:
How to Clean Plants in the Shower
A brief rinse in the sink might help a tiny plant. If you have a larger potted plant, though, you can clean it in the shower. Because too much power can harm leaves or break them off the plant, it’s best if you have a detachable showerhead with adjustable water pressure.
Simply transfer your plant (or several plants if you have more than one) to the bathtub or shower. Then, gently rinse the plant’s leaves with lukewarm water until the dust and dirt have dissipated. Before repositioning the plant, let it to air dry in the tub. If you need to use the shower straight immediately, dab the leaves dry with a paper towel or a microfiber cloth before transferring it.
How to Clean Plants by Hand with a Sponge and Soapy Water
With a plant with a lot of tiny leaves, like as a ZZ or fern, this method won’t be as efficient, but with a plant with larger, sturdier leaves, such as a snake plant, monstera, or fiddle leaf fig, you can be more exact by using a sponge and soapy water to remove dust and other debris.
Simply use a soft microfiber cloth or a non-abrasive sponge to avoid scratching the leaves. Make a solution with 14 teaspoon dish soap per quart of tepid water, then dip your sponge into it until it is damp. Wipe off the leaves with a damp sponge until they appear clean, rinsing the sponge frequently to avoid spreading dirt. As you clean the leaves, make sure you use your other hand to support them.
How to Dust Plants’ Leaves with a Microfiber Cloth or Duster
Are you fortunate enough to have a large plant that refuses to relocate to the shower? Dust the plant’s leaves using a dry microfiber cloth or a duster. It’s easy to do: Simply wipe the leaves with a delicate microfiber towel individually, or use a duster for a bigger plant. When dusting other areas of your home, use the duster on your plant as a general rule.
Some plants have thick, sticky, or fuzzy leaves that are difficult to clean. Spraying or wiping isn’t an option for plants that don’t appreciate getting their leaves wet, such as African violets. Use a soft brush, such as a mushroom brush, to gently coax dust from a fuzzy-leaved plant.
How to Clean Plants with a Paintbrush
Plants with fuzzier leaves, such as African violets, or plants with smaller leaves, such as ferns and flowers, may benefit from the texture and precision of a paintbrush. The brush you use should be smaller and softer the smaller and more delicate the plant is. For instance, don’t use a hard paintbrush on flowers with easily falling leaves. Instead, a gentler children’s brush should suffice.
Depending on the texture of your plant, you can “paint” the leaves with a paintbrush dipped in lukewarm water until the dust is gone. Otherwise, use a dry paintbrush to create a fuzzy-leaved plant.
How to Trim Dead Leaves from Plants
You may spot dead leaves when cleaning your plants (surefire symptoms are wilting and discoloration—dead leaves are usually yellow or brown). Trimming these off improves the appearance of a plant while also allowing more nutrients to reach the remaining leaves. If the leaves are loose, you can easily remove them by hand. Alternatively, you can use scissors or pruning shears to cut the leaf as near to the stem as feasible.