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How to Clean Houseplant Leaves

Having one or more houseplants is a great way to spruce up your home and require relatively little maintenance. Proper grooming takes time but keeps plants healthy and greatly enhances their appearance. 


Keeping clean leaves on your plants will help you keep your plants tidy and healthy.


When you are cleaning houseplants leaves regularly, you are more likely to catch pests and signs of illness early, and early detection makes treatment and cure easier and more successful.


Clean leaves help air-purifying plants and air-filtering plants absorb more light and can perform photosynthesis more efficiently. They can absorb foliar fertilizer more completely and efficiently, as well.


When cleaning plants, it’s important to use gentle, effective methods that remove contaminants without harming the plants.


You can use a commercial leaf cleaning product and follow the instructions on the packaging, or the occasional use of light dish soap water to clean, followed by a plain clear lukewarm water rinse should be fine to keep your plants clean and pest-free.


If you are having problems with pests such as aphids, attacks of spider mites, plant scale insects or mealy-bug infestation, use a solution of water and insecticidal soap or Neem oil.


Using a natural shiner is effective, except for plants that have curled leaves or small hairs; avoid use on such plants. Use a sponge and soapy water to gently wipe leaves for a healthier shine; you can also try using olive oil. Both options will give your plants a nice shine.


Here’s how to clean indoor plant leaves:


Spray the leaves of your plant with your cleaning solution and then gently wipe clean with your soft cloth or paper towel.


Be careful to apply just the right amount of pressure and resistance to remove dust and contaminants without damaging or accidentally removing the leaves. No scrubbing!


Always work from the base of the stem toward the tip of the leaf. With a “wiper” in both hands you can do both sides of the leaf at once with a soft cloth or paper towel.


Plants with pronounced fuzzy leaves or leaf hairs won’t be able to be cleaned this way. Clean individual leaves with a dry, soft washcloth. Furry leaves may also be very lightly brushed with a soft paintbrush or makeup brush. Again, work from the base of the stem toward the tip of the leaf.


Perform this kind of leaf-by-leaf cleaning once or twice a month. In between, use lighter methods to keep dust off. For smaller plants, you can use a soft feather duster to displace dust and keep your plants refreshed between thorough cleaning sessions.


If you have large plants to clean, you may use a leaf blower to blow away dust and debris and then spray the plant thoroughly with a mild solution of insecticidal soap and water.

Be sure to do this early in the day, in an area with good air circulation so that the plant can dry entirely before dark.


Caution: Do not use of any type of food product to clean plants can promote a great place for pests to live. 


If you have plants in the kitchen area, watch out for grease that can accumulate on the leaves. These plants will need to be cleaned more often.


Be careful on the following:


  • Don’t use a plant shine, they can clog the pores plants use to “breathe” and damage some plants like ferns.

  • Don’t spray the flowers; this can reduce the longevity of the blooms

  • Don’t “scrub” leaves, you can damage and bruise the leave surface

  • Keep the surface of the soil clean. After you have finished cleaning your plant’s leaves, check to be sure there are no dead leaves, fallen blossoms, fruit or other debris on the surface of the soil. Clear away any debris that may have accumulated and refresh soil as needed.


Trim off diseased and damaged leaves. The leaves of indoor plants may be damaged by the environment or by pests. Sometimes they fade or become blighted. Sometimes they get old, change colors and die. It’s a good idea to keep these compromised leaves trimmed away to help your plant present a better appearance and to prevent problems with disease and pests.


Leaves that have died or turned completely yellow should be snipped off at the base using sharp, clean scissors or shears. While it is possible to pinch or pull damaged leaves off by hand, it is always wisest to use a sharp, clean implement to avoid further damage to the plant.

Leaves that have small damaged spots or edges can be carefully trimmed to remove the damage. To do this, use very sharp scissors and trim in a way that maintains the natural shape of the leaf. Don’t trim into the healthy part of the leaf. Instead, leave a fine margin of the damaged area.


Deadheading is important. Flowering plants benefit by being kept tidy – deadheading. Always cut off spent blooms to improve the appearance of the plant, encourage more blooms and help prevent disease, fungal infections, and pest infestation.


If you have potted plants that tend to shed pollen (peace lily flower), you may wish to remove the anthers (pollen-bearing parts) as soon as they emerge. Doing this keeps the plant tidy, helps the flower last longer and is beneficial to people who are allergic to pollen.


Cleaning your plant’s leaves will only require a few minutes of your time. However, it’ll have wonderful effects for their health. If you use plants for home decoration, bright and healthy plants will completely change the atmosphere of your place.


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