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How to Clean
Your Houseplants

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November 3, 2021

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Houseplants are important accessories for your home. Bringing a little bit of the outdoors into your home can breathe new life into a room and add layers of texture to the overall design. Plants work to divide spaces or fill a voided corner, and for some plant lovers, they become important fixtures in a home. 

Unfortunately, just like any other item in your home, plants will collect dust over time. But unlike non-living decor, plants need to be clean to thrive. Think of your plant leaves as skin. Our skin has millions of tiny pores that can become clogged if not kept clean. Like skin, plant leaves have pores too. So, how do you clean plant leaves? Let’s get started.

Cleaning Plant Leaves is a Delicate Process

One thing to always keep in mind when you are cleaning indoor plants (living or artificial) is that they are delicate and must be treated gently. Whatever you choose to use, know that it can take some practice to get it right. Rushed jobs and harsh chemicals will rarely give you a desired result. Likewise, be sure to stay away from vacuum cleaners and canned air. These can easily damage your plant leaves and stems. There are a variety of ways your plants can be cleaned. And most times, you can accomplish it using everyday household items.

Three Methods to Clean Your Indoor Plant Leaves

Method 1: Dust plant leaves with a feather duster.

Feather dusters are made to be gentle and attract dust particles as they glide across surfaces. This is a method you can use when there is a fine layer of dust, but it won’t be as effective for thicker layers of dirt or grime. It’s also a method to use in between deeper cleaning.

To use this method, simply brush the feather duster over the leaves using slow movements. Remove as much dust as possible without being too rough or snapping the leaves. Move from the base of the stem to the tip of the leaf. When you’re finished, simply take the duster outside and shake to remove the dust from the feather duster. 

Method 2: Use a cloth to remove dust from house plants. 

Yes, a good ole fashioned cloth. It can be a kitchen cloth, a hand towel, or a microfiber cloth. Bonus tip: you can also repurpose those old, worn-out shirts by cutting them up to use on your plants. Whichever you choose, make sure that it’s soft enough not to damage your plant. This is great for plants with larger leaves. The smaller the leaves of your plant, the more tedious the process can be. 

Similar to a duster, start at the base of the stem and work your way toward the tip of the leaves. We recommend starting with a dry cloth to remove any loose dust first. Then, you can add water. You don’t want your cloth to be soaking wet, as that may leave unwanted water spots. Just simply dampen your cloth with lukewarm water. Distilled water works best, but tap water also works just fine. Make sure you dust the top and bottom of the plant leaves and rinse your cloth periodically to remove any excess dirt. Finally, you can follow up with another dry cloth to remove any excess water.

Method 3: Add a gentle cleanser.

Now remember what we said in the beginning. Your plant leaves are like skin. They have pores and need only gentle cleansers. If you wouldn’t put it on your skin, don’t put it on your plants. As this process can be a little messier, we recommend a little prep first.

Start by laying down newspapers on a countertop or open table. Bring plants to the work area if they’re small enough to move around. MIx a solution. Some household solutions you can use that are safe for plants are:

  • dish soap (¼ tsp per quart of water)
  • peroxide (⅓ part peroxide and ⅔ parts distilled water)
  • rosemary oil (1 tsp per gallon of water; add a couple drops of dish soap for an extra clean)

There are many other safe solutions out there; these are just three of the most common. Using a mixture like this will not only clean your plant leaves, but help to keep away unwanted pests. Many of these solutions are proven to deter mites and other pesky parasites that can take over your plants.

Simply spray the plants with your water/solution mixture. Follow it up with a clean water-only rinse. It may be necessary to wipe down the dirty leaves with a moist cloth, so always be sure to wipe from stem to tip, with both the top and bottom of the leaf at the same time.

A Little Upkeep Goes a Long Way

It’s a good idea to add regular maintenance of your houseplants to your cleaning regimen. Not only does removing dust help keep your home and air clean, it helps your plants grow and thrive. You’ll see them in better shape for longer periods. Don’t stray away from plants in your home. They’ll add that clean, natural touch that only nature can provide.

When you’re ready to hand over the plant cleaning routine, just call The Maids. We’re here to help.

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