How to Clean Houseplants – 4 Easy Methods
Houseplants are a great addition to any home’s decor. In fact, some houseplants act as very effective, natural air purifiers! But whether you have real or fake house plants, it’s important to keep them clean and well-maintained to ensure their longevity.
We’ll cover the why, how, and how often you should clean your houseplants. And we’ll cover how to clean your plant’s pot, too, in order to maintain optimal health for your plant!
Why You Need to Dust Houseplants
If you thought that the only maintenance required for house plants is regular watering… then you’re almost right – watering is the primary way to keep houseplants happy and healthy. So why is it important to also regularly clean the leaves of your houseplants?
Aside from water, plants require light in order to stay healthy and grow. Photosynthesis is the essential process by which plants convert light into energy. A thick layer of dust on the leaves will eventually start to block necessary light that your houseplants need to flourish. Not to mention, less dust also makes your plants look more attractive.
How Often You Need to Clean Your Houseplants
The simplest answer is, dust the leaves of your houseplants on the same day you dust the rest of your home.
Your cleaning cadence will ultimately depend on how much dust is in the air in your home. If you live in an area with dirt roads, construction, and a lot of wind, you may need to clean your houseplants more often. But lo and behold, the best way to tell if a plant needs cleaning is to rub your fingers on the leaves. If you can feel or see dust, it’s time to clean.
How to Clean Houseplants
There are four ways that you can clean houseplants, depending on the size and delicacy of the plant itself.
- Wipe the leaves – To clean the leaves of large houseplants, start by wiping them with a damp microfiber cloth or damp cotton cloth. You’ll want to support the leaves by placing one hand underneath the leaf to avoid bruising or cracking. Avoid using oils or polishes to make houseplant leaves shine, as they can block the plants’ pores which can interfere with its ability to photosynthesize and “breathe.”
- Brush away dust – For plants that are fuzzy-leafed, gently dust them with a soft-bristle paint brush. You could also use a soft toothbrush, pipe cleaner, or another discarded fuzzy leaf. Simply glide your preferred tool from the base of the leaf to the edge in order to loosen dust and other debris.
- Rinse – This is one of the simplest ways to clean a smaller houseplant. If you have access to a yard or outdoor area with good drainage, simply flip your plant upside down, supporting the surrounding soil in your palm and fingers, and swish the leaves in a bucket of tepid water. Then let the houseplants dry naturally outside in the sun.
- Trim and remove dead blossoms – Dusting is a good time to also remove dead or yellowing leaves from your houseplants. Be sure to also pick up all fallen leaves on the soil and shorten or remove any leafless, string-like stems, too.
Air Purifying Houseplant Options
For more detailed information about which indoor plants best purify the air in your home (plus how many of these plants you actually need based on square footage!), read this post about air purifying houseplants.
In the meantime, take a look at the following top air purifying plant options!
- Warneckii Dracaena
- Snake Plant / Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
- Peace Lily
- Janet Craig Dracaena
- Elephant Ear
- English Ivy
- Dracaena Marginata
- Green Spider Plant
How to Clean a Plant’s Pot
Over time, salt or minerals may form a white layer on the outside or rim of your flower pot. In order to remove these stains, follow the below simple steps:
- Temporarily remove the plant from the pot.
- Create a diluted bleach solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water (or for a DIY natural bleach alternative, try 1/4 part lemon juice, 3/4 parts hydrogen peroxide, and 10 parts water).
- Scrub any salt residue with a stiff brush.
- Rinse the pot well before repotting your plant.
Want to prevent future buildup? Periodically flush the soil in the pots.
Houseplant Pot Options
If sustainability is important to you, then here are a few plastic-free, plant pot options on the eco-friendly side of the scale.
Sustainability tip: Once you have potted your plant, return the plastic container it was purchased in to the seller or to a local nursery that can re-use it (…or keep it for yourself to start growing other plants from seed!).
Kait is the founder and editor of A Clean Bee. She is passionate about discovering natural, eco-friendly, and sustainable ways to clean and organize her home. Kait has been featured in online publications such as NBC News, Oprah Magazine, BuzzFeed and PopSugar for her expertise in natural cleaning techniques. She enjoys spending her off-time outside in her garden with her husband and their two small boys.