Houseplants need to be cleaned occasionally. They accumulate dust just like everything else in our home, but spending a little time every couple of months doing a spot of cleaning will really help keep your plants healthy and looking fantastic.
Our guide will explain why cleaning shouldn't be neglected, why it has major beneficial effects, before we will take you through the various techniques and which is best for which type of plant. We will also deal with leaf shining too.
This might seem like a question that doesn't need to be asked. But there are a few reasons beyond the most obvious that might help you look at the chore issue differently.
On the face of it, this seems like a silly part of our guide because everyone knows how to clean plants right? But in most cases multiple methods can be used to keep them clean, although sometimes certain methods shouldn't or physically can't be used.
Below are some ideas and suggestions about which works best for certain plants. If you have your own methods that you swear by, share them with us in the comments below.
Foliage on most house plants will take on a dull looking sheen overtime, even if the plants are cleaned on a regular basis and are are free from dust they lose the glossy shine that is found on new leaves.
This is Natural and not a sign you are doing something wrong. Many people leave things this way, however it's also understandable if you want to mimic that new shine look.
Having showy shiny leaves is often considered the pinnacle of a well groomed and beautiful looking plant. As a result there are literally hundreds of leaf shine products you can buy and several Do It Yourself varieties. But are they a good thing, are they suitable for all plants and how should they be applied?
If you can cope with the smell then a homemade Neem Oil spray is potentially one of the best things you can use. It protects your plants from pests and can give a long lasting shine to the leaves.
Milk and beer are often recommended as "natural" products to give shine, but in truth they have virtually no shine-producing abilities above using just plain water.
Mineral and Olive oil are sometimes suggested also and while they can produce remarkable shine you only make more work for yourself in the long run, because these substances are slightly sticky so attract dust causing it to settle and dirty your hard work more quickly.
We would gently put our hands on your shoulders and walk you away from jars of mayonnaise, yogurt and banana skins if we caught you entertaining any of these ideas. You might get the shine you are looking for, but pull back a little and allow us to point out that people don't use these things to clean their work surfaces and they shouldn't be used on plants either.
Again they will attract more dust, possibly ruin the appearance of the leaves in the long term and because all of these products will go "off" and feed bacteria it's unhygienic to have the residual waving around on the leaves you have just wiped down.
Often we turn to the chemical methods. Yes, controversial. Remember though, Leaf shining really is optional! However if you opt for this then they typically come in either an aerosol form, which is good for plants with lots of small leaves, or as a liquid which is better for plants with bigger leaves.
Leaf shine is safe for many plants, however check our individual plant pages if you want to be certain. If you shouldn't be using it we will tell you.
In conjunction with not doing it too often, or on dirty leaves the basic rules of polishing are: