What to Use to Clean Leaves on Houseplants

Houseplants need sunlight in order to thrive, so keeping their leaves free of dust helps extend and increase their lives. A layer of dust prevents photosynthesis from occurring effectively and must be cleared away for photosynthesis to occur successfully.

To safely clean your plants without risk of damage, use these methods. Make sure that the plant is supported as you clean so as not to risk wilting or breaking of its stems and leaves.

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Houseplants require both sun and water in order to thrive, but they also need some TLC – tender loving cleaning. Dusty or grimy leaves limit how much sunlight they can absorb as well as provide entryways for diseases, insects and pests into your plants – therefore regular leaf-cleaning sessions will keep your houseplants looking their best and looking fresh!

One of the simplest and fastest ways to keep your plants clean is simply using water. Use a sponge or cloth dipped in warm water to wipe both sides of each leaf while simultaneously wiping down both the pot and plant’s pot before returning it back where it belongs in your home. Finally, allow time for drying before placing back where it belongs.

Regardless of what method is chosen to clean a plant that attracts dust or features hairs on its leaves, when first starting off to remove dust, begin by brushing away loose dust using a soft bristled brush before wiping down the rest of it with water. Be mindful when using this cleaning method as too much rubbing can damage its leaves; keeping leaf surfaces smooth encourages healthy new leaves growth as well as giving your plants an attractive natural shine.

Water mixed with other ingredients is an effective way to clean or enhance the appearance of leaves on certain types of houseplants, while products like leaf shine should be avoided as they contain oils and waxes that clog microscopic pores of leaves, disrupting photosynthesis and breathing processes in plants.

An easy and straightforward way to add some shine and protection for delicate plant leaves without harming them, is using a mixture of half milk and half water applied with cotton rag after wiping away dust, to deter pests and lower the risk of rot and other fungal diseases. As another option for leaf shine, misting can also help deter pests while providing antimicrobial benefits against mold growth and fungal disease outbreak. For larger plants or leaves that are difficult to reach feather dustering could also provide effective coverage.


Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent with low risks of harm to plants, which works wonders on dusty leaves. Additionally, it works as a pest deterrent and can easily be found at any grocery store. Distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar work great – one teaspoon in every gallon of water provides enough solution to be applied using cloth or sprayed onto plants directly – additional addition of Neem Oil may further protect against pests or fungal growth on houseplant leaves.

One easy and natural way to clean plant leaves is by simply submerging them under the shower and letting the lukewarm water gently wash away any dirt and debris on their leaf surfaces. This method works best when dealing with plants that do not require deep-cleaning sessions; just remember to have a damp cloth or sponge handy afterward in case any soapy residue clings.

If your plants are particularly dirty or live in an area with high dust levels, using a more concentrated cleaner may be best. Mix one teaspoon of distilled white vinegar with one gallon of water and use a soft cloth to wipe your leaves with it – this provides an effective alternative to soap which could damage leaves of plants.

After washing your plant leaves, be sure to gently shake and air-dry them until completely dried out. This will help ensure they retain their moisture, look more attractive while also preventing quick drying out times.

Avoid products labeled “Leaf Shine.” These tend to contain oils and waxes that clog the pores on leaves, interfering with photosynthesizing and absorption of nutrients by your plants. A mild, natural soap that’s safe for them such as Dr. Bronner’s or WholeNaturals Castile Liquid Soap may be more appropriate than harsh chemical cleaners for cleaning their leaves.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice works just like vinegar when it comes to cleaning houseplant leaves, yet is much gentler and suitable for those avoiding toxic chemicals or costly plant food. Simply mix equal parts water and lemon juice together in a bowl, dip a cloth into it and wipe down each leaf – be sure to clean underside of leaves as many pests hide there! When done wiping, rinse both cloth and leaf in clean water after wiping each one so as to remove any soapy residue left by soap-making solutions.

An old rag filled with fresh lemon juice can be reused many times before needing to be rinsed in order to keep plants looking their best and smelling great. It is best to use new solutions every time to avoid bacteria build up that could harm their growth.

Another effective method of cleaning plant leaves is submersion in lukewarm water, though this method may be too risky for certain fuzzy or furry leaves that could get damaged from too much contact with water. Instead, consider using a soft brush such as a craft paintbrush or toothbrush to gently coax away dust and debris without risking damaging each leaf in turn.

Baby wipes can be an effective way to clean peace lilies and fiddle leaf figs, among other houseplants, however it’s important to note that many baby wipes contain chemicals and dyes which could harm them. If necessary, only use unscented, chemical-free wipes in this instance.

Cleaning your plants regularly not only adds beauty but is essential to their long-term success and health. Regular watering promotes healthy growth, keeps away pests, and allows more light into their ecosystem. When giving them a bath use water, vinegar, lemon juice or compressed air depending on what type of foliage and needs your specific plant may have.


Every surface in your home accumulates dust, soil particles, water marks and mineral build-up caused by hard water; houseplant leaves are no exception! Over time these layers act like a barrier between photosynthesizing properly and the plant being healthy or attractive – cleaning regularly will help ensure this does not occur and keep it looking its best!

Showering and wiping your plant’s leaves with damp cloth usually do the trick, but sometimes soapy water is necessary to clear away stubborn dirt and debris. A natural soap made of oil-based liquid olive soap diluted in water works wonders; its antiseptic qualities allow it to effectively wipe away dust, grime, bug deterrents, hard water marks as well as adding some shine. You can either apply this solution directly onto its leaves through spray bottles or directly with cloth or paper towel application.

Contrary to many household cleaners, this mixture is safe for most plants; its ingredients contain only mild substances that won’t damage or stain foliage. To use it effectively, simply squirt some diluted solution onto both sides of a plant’s leaves before wiping them clean using a cloth or paper towel – be mindful not to rub too hard, as certain plants don’t appreciate being handled roughly and too much rubbing may damage or discolor its leaves!

Houseplants such as ferns require special treatment in terms of water temperature; hot or cold temperature changes could shock them and damage their roots and leaves. If necessary, submerge them in soapy water. Just ensure it remains lukewarm to avoid shocking them or harming their roots or leaves.

After your plants have been cleaned, it’s essential that they dry completely before returning them to direct sunlight. Overexposure could damage or brown the leaves and leave behind spots of discoloration; touching or placing anything onto them until fully dry could spread germs or insects from one plant to the next.