How to keep your houseplants clean
Even the lowest maintenance plants need a little love but it’s ok, keeping them clean will be one of your favourite jobs to do.
Household items collect dust and your collection of plants is no different. But unlike those spots on your skirting boards that you keep meaning to tackle, the dust on your leaves needs attention to keep your plants healthy and happy.
Benefits of cleaning your houseplants
Think of cleaning your plants as giving them a spa experience. Removing dust is really important because clean leaves and stems can absorb more light and humidity, and there’s no dust for pests to hide under. Getting up close and personal with your plants regularly helps you check in on their overall health and it’s a relaxing experience for you too.
Most houseplant pests are too small to be easily seen, so if you neglect your houseplant cleaning schedule for too long, they can start doing damage to your plant’s health.
How to clean your houseplants
Cleaning plants is just a couple of simple steps to add to your house parent duties, and can generally be done while you potter around with a damp cloth. Some people give their plants a rinse in the sink, tub or shower but that’s optional. It does make for a cool Instagram post though.
Step one: Avoid using any chemicals on your houseplants, all you need is a damp, clean cloth. Warm water is best and use a different cloth for each pot if you can so you aren’t accidentally wiping mites or other creepy crawlies from one plant to the next.
Step two: Sweep the cloth over the entire leaf, including the underneath. Remember this is about pest eradication as much as it’s about aesthetics, so you aren’t just getting visible dust off. You need to do every leaf on the plant, as well as any exposed stems.
Step three: We’re big fans of multitasking, so while you’re there, give the pot a thorough wipe over and clean the drip tray, if you have one. This is also a great time to trim any dead or dying leaves, flowers or foliage and clear any debris from the soil around the plant.
How often should you clean your houseplants
It’s up to you, but most plant parents find that weekly or every other week suits both their lifestyle and their plants’ health. Your plants will forgive you if you forget for a week or two, but you don’t want to leave it so long that any mites or other pests that move in have time to start damaging your plant.
What if my plants have more build-up than a dust cloth can remove?
Where water on a damp cloth doesn’t cut it, make a diluted solution with washing up liquid and water. Use 1tbs of fairly mild soap for every litre of water and rinse the plant off in the sink or shower, or use a separate cloth to remove all the soapy residue.
What if my plant is a cactus?
There are some plants that can’t be easily wiped down. Brushing sticky, fuzzy or spikey leaves with a soft household cleaning brush will help dislodge any dust. Be gentle, but as thorough as you can.
Will leaf shine products help keep the dust away?
It depends on the product you use, and your plant, but in most cases spraying anything other than water on the leaves may actually cause more dust to accumulate. Some products leave enough of a residue to give the dust something to cling to, just give them a wipe down with a cloth once you're done.
With just a damp cloth and your favourite tunes or podcast playing, cleaning your houseplant is super easy and you’ll have happier, healthier plants in no time.
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