Last Updated on January 13, 2022 by Grow with Bovees
Any homeowner or apartment dweller will agree that cleaning dust buildup whether on the TV or houseplants is perhaps one of the most daunting tasks, but is one that should be done regularly to keep your space tidy, healthy, and clean.
The leaves of houseplants tend to accumulate dust faster than other things, which can really take a toll on their appearance and can even be harmful to plant health, making it important to know how to clean plant leaves, and when and when not to use leaf shine.
The Importance of Keeping Plant Leaves Clean
There are several reasons to keep the leaves of your indoor plants and outdoor plants clean, most notably:
Dust accumulated on leaves can block sunlight, and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesize, which is a process that converts light energy, carbon dioxide, and water into food.
A plant that’s free from dust photosynthesizes at optimal levels, making it a healthy plant, giving it the ability to resist diseases and pest infestations.
Stomata are small circular leaf pores on the leaves of plants that look like doughnuts, which when blocked by dirt or dust prevent gas, water, and vapor exchange, and can slow down growth.
So, if you are using a leaf shine product, you must take care not to clog leaf pores by using too much. Use just enough tio make the plant’s leaves shiny.
Check Plant Health
Have you taken a look at the leaves of your plant lately, and checked their current state of health? If your houseplant leaves are green and vibrant, this indicates a healthy plant.
But if your indoor plant leaves are droopy, dull, yellowing, browning, then there’s a reason for concern. You can only check the leaf surface for leaf tears and/or colonies of insects and address the problems if you clean the leaves including colored leaves, frilly leaves, dull leaves, delicate leaves, or healthy leaves.
Houseplants are prone to infestation of household pests, and the simple practice of maintaining clean leaves will prevent future bugs from inhabiting your plants.
Indoor plants will at some point attract insects, but cleaning them can greatly reduce this occurrence, and prevent leaves from damage.
How to Clean Houseplant Leaves?
There are several ways to clean the surface of leaves with common household items such as water or you can also use commercially available leaf shine products for ultra-shiny leaves.
Regardless of whether you use DIY leaf shine recipes, or store-bought natural leaf shine sprays, cleaning houseplant leaves is a relatively simple process.
Some solutions to clean dust and mineral buildup will work better than others depending on the size of your indoor plant’s leaves, the amount of plants you have, how dirty they are in general, and the type of buildup such as buildup of dust, buildup of minerals gunky buildup or greasy buildup.
1. Use a Feather Duster to Dust Leaves
Perhaps the easiest way to clean leaves is with a feather duster. This houseplant leaves cleaning solution works best if you have a fine layer of dust.
The best feather duster to use to clean indoor plant leaves is one made from ostrich feathers because they tend to trap dust better than other types of dusters.
Remember, you need be gentle with the leaves, so get a light grip on an individual leaf, and gently brush it to remove as much dust as possible. If your plant has too many leaves, simply wave your duster above the leaves of the plant to remove the dust from the foliage.
2. Wipe the Dust off the Leaves
If your leaves aren’t terribly dirty, or your plants have only a few leaves to clean, you can clean the dust with a damp cloth and without leaving any water spots.
Even though you can ideally use any soft cloth for this leaf cleaning method, it’s best to use a damp microfiber cloth. Lightly damp the cloth with clean water, hold each plant leaf flat, and wipe the top and bottom without applying any pressure. Be sure to rinse the cloth out periodically to get rid of the collected dirt and grime.
3. Dunk the Houseplant in Water
This method only works for small plants, and removes a light coating of dust. Get started by filling a washbasin or sink with lukewarm water, inverting the plant container carefully to hold the plant and soil inside the pot, and dunking the leaves in the water.
Remove the leaves from the water right or left side up to remove excess water, and allow them to dry before placing the plant back in its original spot.
If the soil is too dry, it may spill over when you invert the leaves in the water, so wetting it beforehand will bind it together in the container.
For large plants, you can move them to your bathtub, and spray them with your shower head to get rid of the dust or grime. This should be done prior to application of any leaf shine products.
4. Use a Brush to Clean Fuzzy Leaves
A brush works great for cleaning fuzzy-textured leaves and is a great dry natural shine cleaning method that won’t damage the tiny hairs of the leaf surfaces with water.
There are several types of brushes you can use to clean plant’s leaves like a soft-bristled toothbrush, or a small craft paint brush to clean foliage.
The brush method is great for plants that have pubescent hairs such as African Violets, given that this type of plant species has hairs that tend to attract dust and dirt, but can get damaged easily if water gets on the leaves.
Start from the base of the leaves, and work your way towards the tip of each leaf, moving from the top of the plant to the bottom.
How to Clean Cactus and Succulents?
Cleaning cactus or other plants that have a waxy coating like orchid leaves requires a different approach than traditional houseplants.
These species of plants have a waxy coating, which helps prevent evaporation and retain water inside the leaf tissues. If you spray these plants with cups of water or even a water mix, it will affect this protective coating. Instead, you can use a can of compressed air for proper care of the leaves of succulent plants.
Make Plant Leaves Shiny With A DIY Soap Solution
If you’ve not cleaned your indoor plants for a while, great chances are that your plant’s leaves have a thick layer of dust buildup.
You can make each leaf shine with a DIY soap and water solution to shine houseplant leaves.That entails mixing ¼ teaspoon of dish soap per quart of lukewarm water in a spray bottle.
Shake this water mix well, and gently spray on the entire plant, after which you can use some clean water to remove the soap residue, and dry the leaf pores and leaves with a soft cloth.
Commercial Leaf Shine Solutions
If you don’t want to make a homemade leaf shine mixture, you can buy a commercial leaf shine product. These are several commercial leaf shine products to choose from to achieve gorgeous leaves such as Miracle-Gro Leaf Shine, which cleans and beautifies all types of leaves including fenestrated leaves and massive leaves.
The Chrysal Leaf Shine Spray is one of the best commercial leaf shine products for shiny houseplant leaves. It keeps your leaves shiny and protects them for up to four weeks.
Things to Consider when Cleaning Indoor Plant Leaves
There are a few important things to keep in mind when shining plant leaves. First, always start cleaning the leaves from the underside and also clean the stems and stalks of the plants because dust can accumulate in these areas of the plant as well.
Refrain from using cold water, as it can leave water spots on the surface of the leaves, and water that’s too hot or too cold may shock the root systems, and damage the plant.
Do not use any household chemical cleaners to clean foliage because doing so may affect overall plant health. Cleaning plant leaves is an essential task of plant maintenance and is pretty easy, but can take up a fair amount of time. You can also use coconut oil, olive oil, or mineral oil to get a beautiful leaf shine for plants.