You might be confused when reading the title of this article…
After all, why would you want to clean the leaves of your plants?
They naturally grow outdoors in dirt, so why would you need to keep the leaves of the plants free from dirt?
Well, no matter how well you clean your home or office and regardless of how often you dust, you might have noticed that messes accumulate far quicker than anticipated. As the dust begins to accumulate on the leaves of the plants, it can actually cause the plant to become less healthy.
This is because plants need to absorb sunlight and water in order to go through photosynthesis, which is the process in which plants feed and nourish themselves. If your plants are unable to go through photosynthesis, they will be more susceptible to pests and diseases, they will be come sick and they might even die.
Additionally, the dust will clog the pores of the plant and prevent it from transpiring which is how plants release excess water and gasses into the air. When a plant is unable to transpire it will start to appear dull and lifeless and will eventually begin to die.
As you can see, it is important to keep your plants clean and free of dust and debris, so that they may carry out the processes they need to. This actually makes less work for you in the long run, as you won't need to attempt to nurse a sick plant back to health in the future.
Today we are going to learn more about how to clean plant leaves so that you can keep your plants happy and thriving for a long time to come.
When should you clean your plants?
Obviously, if you can see dust accumulating on the leaves you will know that it is time to clean your plants – but you should never let it get that bad.
If you live in an area that is prone to dust, such as near dirt or gravel roads or where construction is being done, you will likely need to dust your plants more often that other people might need to.
In order to determine if your plants need a thorough cleaning, you'll need to inspect them. Look at the leaves and see if they are dusty, if they are then it is time to clean your plant. If you can't tell by looking, rub your fingers on the leaves of the plant to see if you can feel dust on them. If you can, then it is time to clean the plant's leaves.
There is no fixed schedule or routine when it comes to cleaning the leaves of your plants. Some plants will attract more dust than others, and some homes will just naturally be dustier than other homes. If you want a schedule of sorts, we suggest cleaning your plants once a month or as needed.
How to clean your plants and their leaves
There are a few different methods you can use to clean your plant's leaves, and none of them are necessarily wrong or better than the other.
Whatever method you choose to use, remember to always use warm water, as cold water can shock the roots and kill the plant. Additionally, do not allow the plant to remain soaking wet after being cleansed, instead allow it to drain all excess water so you can prevent root rot which will also kill your plant.
How to begin
If you've not had a chance to clean your plants in a while (or perhaps didn't know you were supposed to be doing this), no need to worry. You'll want to thoroughly clean the leaves with a mixture of soap and warm water but try not to get much of this solution in the soil.
Mix up your solution using about 4 cups of water and a half teaspoon of dish soap. Spray this solution on to the leaves of your plant, then using a wet cloth gently rub the cleansing solution around on the leaves to clean of any dust or other debris. Finally, rinse the leaves with clean water and allow your plant to dry.
Clean leaves individually
Perhaps you have a plant that is quite large, like a rubber plant. If your plant is large and you are unable to move it, the way you'll need to keep it clean and free of dust is by cleaning each leaf individually.
You can choose to use a cloth dampened with warm water to wipe each leaf, or you can spray each leaf with a gentle cleanser and then wipe them clean with a dry cloth.
Give them a bath
One of the simplest ways to clean your houseplants is to literally give them a bath. Again, ensure that you're using warm water.
If your plant is small enough to clean in the sink or bathtub, this is a great option. Simply place the plant, container and all, into the basin of the sink or into the bathtub and use the sprayer to gently cleanse the dust from the leaves of the plant.
If your plant is large, take it to the patio or backyard and turn on the hose to a gentle spray. Use the hose sprayer to cleanse the dust from the plant, making sure to get all the leaves.
Allow your plants to drain thoroughly and drip dry before you return them to their place in your home.
If the plants you need to clean belong to the cacti or succulent family, you should avoid using water to clean them, and you probably won't enjoy being poked repeatedly if you try to wipe them down with a cloth.
Instead you should use a can of compressed air to blow the dust off of the plants. Make sure to blow the dust away from the plants and not into the soil.
If your plant has leaves that are fuzzy or sticky, you'll want to avoid using too much water to clean them as well. Instead you can use a soft bristled brush to wipe the dust from the plant's leaves. This is also a good choice for plants like African violets that don't like to have their leaves wet.
Once you have cleaned your plants, it is important to maintain their cleanliness. This doesn't just involve keeping them free of dust, however.
To keep your plants healthy, you will also want to inspect them for pests and signs of disease while you are cleaning them.
Additionally, this is the perfect time to pluck of dead and dying stems, leaves and flowers. Allowing these to fall into the soil would create a hotspot for disease and bugs to make their home.
Now you know how simple it is to keep your houseplant's leaves clean and healthy.
Remember that a healthy plant is a much happier plant, and a happier plant will look better in your home or office.
It doesn't take much to occasionally clean and inspect your plants and doing this task will ensure your plant will thrive.