Picture: Pexels
Picture: Pexels

How to clean the leaves of your indoor plants

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Jun 7, 2019

Share this article:

Sunny skies make way for dull days as we delve into chillier winter months. 

For our houseplants, this time of year can be rough. To avoid losing the beloved plants you’ve cared for all year long, that liven up your home and make it beautiful, ensure you keep them clean.

Plant-lovers tend to fixate on watering and sunlight, but forget that plants thrive when their leaves are dust-free. When a fine layer of dirt settles on their leaves, it blocks sunlight and reduces the plant's ability to photosynthesize. A clean plant that’s producing food for itself to survive at prime levels will be able to fight off diseases or pest infestations.

How to clean your plants so that they thrive indoors:


If your houseplant has broad leaves, use a damp cloth to carefully wipe the dust that collects on the surface. Use one hand to support the leaves as you wipe to avoid damaging them.


View this post on Instagram

#aloevera #cleaningplants

A post shared by aka marc (@jamie_marols) on

For plants with velvety leaves, like African violets, gently brush away dust using a soft-bristle paintbrush or soft toothbrush. Maintain gentle pressure and stroke from base to tip to remove the build-up of dirt.


Plants with smaller, more delicate leaves respond well to being sprayed. The simplest method is to move them to the kitchen sink or outside (if possible) and spritz the leaves. The water should be lukewarm as both hot and cold water can cause harm to leaves, plant roots, and foliage. Leave them to drip dry before returning them to their usual spot inside.


Rinsing is another effective way to clean small, lightweight houseplants. Start  by watering the plant’s soil to ensure that when you invert the plant, it does not empty out. Hold your plant at its base, to support it as well as the soil. Then dunk the leaves in the lukewarm water, swirling them about. This technique may seem a little drastic, but it works.

Trim and tidy-up leaves

Clear away dead leaves that have fallen onto the soil of your pot plant. Pull off the leaves that are shrivelled and fall away easily - if the leaves resist, do not force them. You can prune browning leaf tips using scissors. The plant will look more natural if you follow the natural contour of the leaves when cutting.

Since you’ve already got your hands dirty, when last did you give those pots a good scrubbing?

Fill your basin or large container with soapy water and add a cup of vinegar. Use a brush with firm bristles to dislodge hardened soil and stubborn debris from in and around the pot. Rinse well and let dry. 

Share this article:

Related Articles