How to Clean Live Plants to Keep Them HealthyLive plants bring warmth and character to your home.  They are often given as housewarming, get well soon, and congratulatory gifts because of these reasons. Live plants are generally easy to care for.

They do not require much – just some water and a light periodic cleaning.  If you are surprised to hear that live plants need to be cleaned, you are not alone.  Many people do not realize that house plants need to be cleaned as part of your routine home cleaning tasks.

Outdoor plants are washed regularly by the rain.  The wind also helps keep them dust free.  However, our indoor live plants do not get the natural wind and rain so they rely on us to help out.  Dust, dirt, and grime collect on the leaves of indoor plants.  Not only does this make them appear dull and dirty, but it puts the plant’s health at risk too.  Dirty leaves cannot absorb as much sunlight as clean leaves.

Supplies Needed

You will not need much for this home cleaning task.  Below is a short list of the supplies you will need to clean your indoor live plants.

  • Clean cloth, or soft sponge
  • Feather duster
  • Misting bottle
  • Liquid non-detergent soap
  • Shower (optional)
  • Shower stool (optional)

How to Clean Live Plants to Keep Them Healthy and live longer

How to Clean Live Plants

Periodic cleaning of your houseplants improves their look, stimulates growth, and helps control insects.  You will need to clean your plants at least every two months (more if you live in a dusty area).  Moisten the sponge or cloth with plain old water.  If the plant is really dirty, you can add a couple drops of liquid non-detergent soap.  If the leaves are hairy, do not use a sponge or cloth.  For these types of live plants, choose a feather duster.

Clean one leaf at a time.  Support the leaf with one hand and gently wipe with the other.  Clean the top and the bottom of the leaf.  Repeat until all leaves are clean.

Mist the live plant with your misting bottle.  Be sure to use room temperature water as plants typically do not enjoy the cold water (cannot blame them, right?).  Really wet that plant down.  If the weather is nice (warm and not too windy), you can actually take the plant outside for a few hours to perform the misting.  Your plant will enjoy the change of scenery, and you will avoid getting any water on your flooring.

You may find some brown leaves on your live plant.  Don’t worry – the plant will survive!  Go ahead and snip off the brown parts, and your plant will look great again.  You may want to re-evaluate your watering frequency as the brown leaves are often a sign of drying out.

How to Clean Live Plants to Keep Them Healthy by showering them

Shower with Love

Sponge baths and misting are great for your live plants, but sometimes your plant needs a little more.  If it is too cold or windy outside, you can actually take your live plants for a shower.  It sounds crazy, but watch your plant turn to a bathing beauty!  Showering gives a great cleaning and waters your plant as well.  Ensure you are using room temperature water and only a light gentle spray.

Set your plant inside the shower on a stool if you have one.  Move the water stream up and down, back and forth around the edges of the plant.  Rotate the plant and repeat until the entire plant has been washed.  You may get a little shower yourself too!  Let the plant hang out in the shower for at least an hour.  Your plant will enjoy the cool sauna and the excess water will have time to drain.  Make sure you tip the plant slightly to allow water to get out before you try to move the plant.  Otherwise you might end up with water all over your floors!

After you are finished pampering your live plants, put them back in their designated homes.  Step back and take in the beautiful results of your labor.  Check for any water on the floors and do a little home cleaning if you find some.  You don’t want to forget and slip and fall later!