How To Clean Houseplants - An Easy Guide

Cleaning Houseplants – Guide for Gardening Beginners

As time goes by, the passion for growing plants grows as well (pun intended!). Consequently, the duties and responsibilities become more and more complex. Even though plants do not communicate in the way pets can, still we must never forget about them. What I’m particularly aiming at is that we should never forget the importance of cleaning houseplants regularly!

That’s the reason I prepared a brief retrospective on how to clean houseplants. This simple task, if done regularly, can prevent many bigger problems. Without further ado, let us go through the most important points!

How To Clean Houseplants – Step By Step

How often will you clean your houseplants depends on the amount of dust in the air. There are many factors that have influence over that and they determine how often you should do the cleaning.

You can always conduct a simple test- try to blow off the dust from the leaves!

If it doesn’t go away, the time has come. The whole procedure includes several different actions. Some of them require complete showering, while the others will need just brushing off. Here are some of the common steps to take:

Bath Your Plant!

How To Clean Houseplants - Step By Step

The most practical place to take care of cleaning houseplants is the kitchen sink or shower. The simplest method is hosing the plants down, but you need to be careful so that you wouldn’t damage them.

Make sure the temperature of the water is adequate. Lukewarm is ideal, as too hot or too cold water may cause injuries to plants.

If the plants are too grimy, you can also use a mixture of soap and water. Sprinkle, and hose them off afterward. Of course, ensure the mixture is adequate, never use some chemicals that are too strong. On the other hand, there are always some specific products for cleaning plants.

Be careful with the smaller plants, as they cannot handle the heavy force of a spray. You need to use some other method to clean them, such as inverting them into the bucket filled with water and swishing the leaves. As for the soil, you can water it in advance so that it wouldn’t fall off or protect it with plastic wrap around the plant base.

Once you finish cleaning your houseplants, the best is to let them dip dry before you return them to their place.

Rub Individual Leaves

Rub individual leaves

Sometimes plants may be too large or too heavy to move. You can use a damp cloth to rub the leaves off. When you finish that, you can mist them a bit in order to refresh them. Once you clean them detailly, you can maintain their cleanliness by using a soft duster. Each time you dust the house, do the same with your plants.

Remove the Dust

Remove the dust

Some species have a bit sticky or fuzzy leaves, which means they are a bit more demanding to clean. There are certain plants that are not quite comfortable with wet leaves, which means no spraying no wiping. The species that have hairy leaves are best cleaned with a soft brush.

Don’t Forget to Trim Your Plant

The Importance Of Cleaning And Inspecting Houseplants

Washing the plants is an excellent opportunity to get rid of the leaves that are turning yellow, brown or the ones that are already dead. If they fall loose, just remove them by hands. If not, use scissors. When cutting, try to maintain the natural shape of the leaves. Do not pull the leaves that resist, just prune away the browned leaf tips only.

Clean the Pots

Clean The Pots

It would be like washing the hair, but remain in dirty clothes when you are about to take a walk. Sometimes white layers of mineral salts form outside the pot rim. In that case, the best is to remove the plant and clean the container thoroughly. If the situation is too heavy, you can use a bleach solution. The stiff brush works fine for scrubbing the residue. Before you re-pot the plant, don’t forget to rinse the container.

How To Clean The Leaves Of Houseplants

As you could assume, different types of leaves require different approaches. Some plants are fine with getting wet, the others are not. While some plants are sturdy enough to shower them, the others are too gentle to be cleaned like that. Here’s how to take care of each type:

1. Shiny Leaved Plants

To start with the ones that are definitely the easiest to clean – shiny leaved plants! You can moisten the soft cloth and wipe both sides of the leaves. The other way is to mist them with water. If you want to shower them, you can actually do that with several plants at the same time.

Like I mentioned, just make sure the water force is not too aggressive and the temperature is lukewarm.  Once you finish, blot the excess moisture carefully by using a paper towel. That way you will prevent rotting or sunscald.

2. Succulents With Fuzzy Leaves

Succulents are sensitive to touch. The fuzziness is not just for the aesthetic purposes, it’s a protection layer. If you damage it, you can cause troubles to plants. Do not wash them, but use a soft paintbrush to dust the leaves one by one.

How To Clean The Leaves Of Houseplants

3. Cacti With Sharp Spikes

These are the trickiest ones to clean. To make it even more difficult, some of them have a waxy coating which conserves the moisture. Water can damage it and it can lead to scorching the leaf. If you don’t want that to happen, you can use canned compressed air. That way you will safely blow off all the dust and dirt with short bursts of air. There’s another option as well. Pick of stray particles with long tweezers.

The Importance Of Cleaning And Inspecting Houseplants

The Importance Of Cleaning And Inspecting Houseplants

Maintaining the cleanliness of the plants is really much more than just making sure they look beautiful. If the leaves are too dirty, the plant becomes more susceptible to diseases. Photosynthesis is a metabolic procedure that keeps the plants alive. If the leaves are too grimy, dirty and dusty, plants cannot receive enough sunshine to conduct this process. As you can see, clean leaves equal healthy plants, which decreases the diseases and plants.

Speaking of health, cleaning houseplants is an excellent opportunity to do a small check-up and inspect the plants for their overall condition.

Start with the leaves and check whether some insects are hidden beneath them. Mind the spots and discolored areas, as they may be the sign that some diseases appeared. Check stems and their color and strength. In addition to this, check where leaves are attached to stems. Don’t forget the soil. Clean the build-ups. If the mold is present, then water it less frequently and if the salt occurs, drain it.

You need to have a solid knowledge of each and every plant you have. That way you will be able to learn and follow the signs which will show if something wrong is going on.


1. How to make leaves shine?

Although some commercial products for this purpose are available, it’s better to opt for some homemade solutions such as mayonnaise or banana peel. Once you clean the plant, put a drop of mayo on the clot or use the peel to rub the leaves. The milk and water mixture is also used for this purpose.

2. Is coconut oil safe for cleaning houseplants?

It is, just make sure you don’t put the excessive amount of it, or it will be counterproductive. It will attract more dust as the surface will be stickier.

3. Can I use mineral oil for plants?

This is also an excellent option, but, like with the previous one, mind the amount and the frequency of applying it. Once or twice a year is quite enough. Also, make sure you don’t expose the plants to the direct sources of light, as this oil can literally fry the leaves.


It may seem for a moment that this is a quite complicated, complex and time-consuming process, but it’s not like that. First of all, it’s not something you need to do every day. Then if you establish a routine, each next time the cleaning will be faster than the previous.

Clean plants are not just pretty, but healthy plants above all. As I said, they may not be able to remind you that they need you the same way pets do, but you will agree that it is much better to be responsible on regular basis than dealing with the problem when it’s already in some more complicated phase. It’s much better to react before you actually spot that something wrong is going on.

Now you know the essentials on how to clean houseplants and the importance of it. So, make your own schedule and have healthy and glowing plants all year round.

How do you clean your houseplants?

If you have some thoughts on this, feel free to share them with me!