Cleaning houseplants

Reach under fronds of Ferns to clear dead leaves and cut dead bare branches


Why Dirty Houseplants Lead To A Tough Life
Plants growing outdoors are washed regularly by rain and feather dusted by the wind but its up to us to clean indoor plants, especially the hard- working ones,houseplants that clean air of dust, grease, oil, and other air-borne particles that settle on leaves making them look unattractive and dull.

Leaves that are dirty can’t absorb as much sunlight as clean ones. This affects the overall plants health because plants sustain themselves through photosynthesis, a process in which the leaves absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide to make their food. When plants are coated with residues on their stomata, the open pores through which they exhale oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide becomes blocked, they have a difficult time with this critical process.

Every houseplant needs regular cleaning
Dust can accumulate on surfaces throughout your home, which means a couple of monthly wipe-downs are necessary in order to get rid of the build-ups and prevent more from accumulating. The leaves of your potted plants are no exception, and should be wiped down whenever you are cleaning the house. Indoor plants need more than the sun and water: They also need to be cleaned regularly. Dusty, grimy layers on leaves cut down on the amount of light they receive from the sun, while also leaving them open to attack from pests and disease.
Cleaning your houseplants will keep them happy and healthy, (and you know easy, breezy and beautiful)

How often you should clean your houseplants?
Depends on how dusty your home usually is.

Healthy and Beautiful.
It is easier for plants to breathe, soak up sunlight, and make food through photosynthesis when its leaves are free of dust and other airborne particles. Plants like all living things need to be properly taken care of in order to live the best of their ability. As they are part of your indoor décor, you’ll be interested in keeping your houseplants clean.
Along with scheduled watering, houseplants need maintenance cleaning every once in a while. Cleaning houseplants is an important step to keeping them dust free, healthy and provides an opportunity to check pests and diseases that may attack Learning how to clean houseplants isn’t difficult. There are several methods of keeping houseplants clean. You may wonder what to use for cleaning houseplants, this is a guide about cleaning your houseplants:

What to use for cleaning houseplant leaves?
Don’t go purchasing expensive houseplant cleaners; you already have ingredients to make your own. Don’t use commercial houseplant cleaners oil or polishes that prompts to polish plant leaves to make them shine; can actually clog the plant’s stomata (pores) and decreases the transpiration process (the plants ability to breathe) that allows houseplants to clean indoor air. Fads (recommended by some professionals) such as rubbing a bit of mayonnaise onto the leaves using a paper towel or a mixture of milk and water to make keep them glistering or mineral oils with all those commercial “ leaf-shine” products to give weeks of luminous shine. All these will quickly attract more dust to clog the leaves pores and the oil will quickly fry (literally) the leaves up to a sizzling dryness.

Take plants for a walk or to play outdoors for a day. Mist or Shower well. Excess water can drip without harming floors or carpets


Keeping houseplants clean can result from dusting them or rubbing the leaves with cheesecloth or damp paper towel, if needed.
For cloths, you may put away the paper towel and wash cloth. Find an old but clean, white T-shirt, tear or cut into four sections and use. You can also clean firm, not African violet or other hairy leafed plant, with a soft sponge. Look for soft, pliable and gentle sponge. Avoid coarse, rough ones like loofas and some commercial varieties. The best sponges are natural cellulose types and the big light brown, round-corner ones (not loofas) that are used at car washes, baby sponges also work great. There are several methods to clean your house plants to keep them healthy and prolong their lives. Plants need showers too, when dusty and dried out by low indoor humidity. `You wouldn’t go for months without taking a shower would you? Neither do your houseplants.

How To Clean House Plants
Cleaning houseplants includes caring for the underside of the foliage and paying attention to stems, stalks and soil. Never leave dead foliage that has dropped to the soil; this provides breeding place for pests and disease.

Wash your houseplants with lukewarm water. Cold water leaves spots and can shock the roots. Don’t forget most indoor plants are tropical rainforest natives and are used to warm rainfall and high humid environment. So it’s no wonder they love to be misted. Most interior spaces however, have very low humidity, which explains why most houseplants dry out so quickly. Brown leaf tips are one of your first clues. Think of misting as a form of preventive maintenance. It helps discourage dust and some common houseplant pests from settling and sticking to the leaves in the first place and it keeps the leaves from drying out. Remember to use tepid, not cold tap water. Sponging and misting help a lot, but there comes a point when more is better. If outdoor conditions won’t allow a misting, head for the kitchen sink or the bathroom shower. Showers give a top notch cleaning, much like going to the car wash is more effective than spraying your car with a hose. Put small plants in a sink and larger houseplants in the shower, let them drip dry before putting in the sun. And you’ll be happy to know spider mites and aphids can’t swim.

For large houseplants, wipe leaves with moist cloth or sponge. Cradle each leaf with the other hand to avoid cracking them.

When dealing with small houseplants, fill your sink with lukewarm water, support them and the soil with your fingers, turn them upside down and gently swish their leaves in the water.

Dust is tricky to remove from fuzzy plants, but easier than you’d think. Simply use a soft-bristled paintbrush, soft toothbrush, pipe cleaner, or discarded fuzzy leaf to dislodge the dust and other debris, working your way from the base to the tip of each leaf. Avoid using water on them as it can leave spots.

If it’s been a while since you last cleaned your houseplant, don’t fret. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of dish detergent diluted in four cups of water and use in a spray bottle. Spray the plants, then rinse off. Set them on a stool so you can easily turn them for a thorough cleaning.

For Cacti and succulents, a can of compressed air can work wonders. Like your fuzzy-leafed friends, avoid using water on them, washing the fuzzy hairs that protect the plant in arid conditions can be hazardous to the leaves. Instead, use a soft paint brush and gently brush each leaf. Cacti have sharp spikes and can be tricky to clean. Many also have waxy coating that helps them conserve moisture. If water remains on the coating, it can act as a magnifier and scorch the leaf. To avoid damaging the waxy coat, spray short bursts of canned compressed air (used to clean cameras) to blow away dust and dirt, or use long tweezers to pick off stray particles.

Finally, spruce up each plant by removing withered blossoms and pick up any flower or leaves that fall on the soil to prevent mould. Ferns are a special case-reach under their green fronds and cut the brown leaf stalks at the soil line. Shorten or remove any leafless stems too. This is also the perfect opportunity to inspect each plant and make sure their only problem is dust:

Inspect the soil: If there is mould, gently scrap it away and don’t water your plants as often.
Check out the stem: Are they strong and in the color they are supposed to be?
Check for webbing: where the leaves attach to the stems, as this could be a sign of spider mites.
Turn over a new leaf: Literally, to look for bugs and discolored areas. These could be signs of pests and diseases like gnats, aphids, thrips and scale. Scale can be treated with alcohol on a cotton swab. Many house plants pests can be treated with neem oil as well.
Insecticidal soap on a feather duster is another means of keeping houseplants clean and threatening for pests at the same time.
“Like people, plants respond to extra attention.” –H.Peter Loewes, author.
Shower time

Take cleaning for example, you wouldn’t want to go months without taking a shower, would you? neither do your houseplants. Periodically cleaning your houseplants improves their appearance (we all like to look our best, right?), stimulate growth and helps to control insects and other pests. Potting Soil gets a good cleansing. When you water plants with little sips, water doesn’t get down to the roots. Thorough watering help encourage plants “to reach for it,” thus, better, deeper root growth. Thorough soakings also flush out toxic salts deposited from chemical fertilizers and residues left from tap water. These deposits leave a white, chalky deposit on the surface of the soil and plant pots. Now that you have learned how to clean houseplants, you can put these suggestions to work. One thing no plant likes is to be left in a corner and forgotten. They thrive when you pause around and pay more attention to them. Try it. Clean your indoor houseplants regularly. Do it more often if you live in a dusty area. Clean plants stay healthy and live longer.

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