Photo: By Marianna Karabut (Shutterstock)
If your home is a disaster, the last thing to remember is to clean your plants. But houseplants, like everything else in your home, get dirty and dusty, even if cleaning them requires special skills. Many detergents (and even gentle soaps) can damage a plant’s leaves and roots, so it pays to know how to freshen them up without causing permanent damage.
Why you should clean your plants
Plant leaves, like any other surface, can accumulate dust, and if it accumulates enough it can actually block light and prevent the process of photosynthesis. It seems far-fetched, but scientific studies have shown that dust can indeed affect a plant’s ability to feed itself. Dust can hide too common signs of illness or infection; Keeping the leaves clean can identify and address problems before they kill your former plant friend.
How often should you clean your plants?
When to clean your plants depends on the type of plant, the pollution, and the airflow in your home. Apartment therapy suggests revising the leaves every time you water. When there is a film of dust, it is time to clean. If you have a generally dusty home, or if you leave the windows open often, you may need to clean your plants more regularly. Otherwise, clean weekly or biweekly should suffice.
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How to clean plant leaves
When it is time to clean, you will have to use others Tactics for different types of plants. Smaller plants can carefully immersed in a sink to remove light layers of dust. When turning the plant over, be careful not to dislodge it from its container or tear it off the roots, and gently rock the leaves back and forth.
You can usually wipe the leaves of larger plants with a microfiber cloth moistened in lukewarm water, starting with the top and bottom leaves and moving gently from stem to tip, but this is difficult for a cactus, for example. In these cases, a feather duster works well. Be sure to clean the underside of the leaves, where insects like to lay eggs, and use a different cloth for each plant so you don’t transfer contaminants to other plants in your home.
When you’re done with the leaves, brush the stems and give the pots a quick wipe too. Avoid using chemicals and soaps that can damage the leaves and roots of your plants. If you want to keep insects at bay, Apartment therapy suggests gently rubbing the leaves with a banana peel; the peel removes the dust and leaves a film that can effectively repel aphids.