We often get asked if indoor plants need cleaning. Now, as professional cleaners, we’re very keen to scrub everything in the home until gleaming. However, we are also mindful that cleaning too much or with chemicals can do more harm than good. In the case of indoor plants, whether or not they need cleaning depends on how much dust has accumulated in the home. Most often houseplants will need cleaning when the home has been vacant for a while, such as when you’ve been on holiday. It is during these periods that dust can accumulate due to a lack of motion and activity in the home that would usually keep particles moving around. After such periods, it may be necessary to gently and carefully clean the leaves of your indoor plants.
How often you’ll need to clean houseplants will also depend on the room they are kept in. For example, bathroom plants may never need cleaning since they are kept in moist conditions. Whereas plants in the kitchen may need more regular cleaning because kitchen grease seems to get everywhere.
Why Should You Clean Houseplants?
House plants may or may not be cleaned. Whether you need to clean your plants is entirely dependent on how dusty your house gets. A dusty house is not a sign of bad habits or that you’re not necessarily cleaning regularly. Homes with less activity generally get dustier because dust is able to settle. A family home with kids running about and items constantly being used, moved or brushed past means dust is kept circulating and may not land in any very noticeable or problematic way on your houseplants. Whereas homes with lower levels of activity are more likely to produce that unwelcome film of dust every so often.
Settled dust should be dealt with, wherever it is, because it can irritate the lungs and skin. Although household dust is unlikely to do any serious harm, it can be problematic for sufferers of asthma or other respiratory problems.
Dust can be harmful to plants because, when allowed to settle, it can block sunlight from getting to the plant’s leaves, preventing or decreasing photosynthesis. Therefore, it is important for the health of your plants, to clean off any settled dust now and then.
How Often Should You Be Cleaning Houseplants?
Cleaning houseplants will simply depend on whether they are getting dirty. As above, the necessity to clean plants is based upon how much dust they are attracting. Plants in some rooms may need more regular cleaning than plants in other rooms. For instance, kitchen plants may be exposed to grease meaning they need wiping more regularly.
Indoor plants should be cleaned when you can see dust on the leaves or feel a stickiness on leaves that isn’t natural for the plant species. They should be cleaned to keep them healthy and able to properly take in sunlight, not to improve their appearance.
You may find you hardly ever need to clean your indoor plants if you’re regularly cleaning the rest of your home as this should move dust around effectively and keep air circulating. Leading on from this, regularly airing the home will also help to keep your plants dust-free.
How To Clean House Plants
When cleaning houseplants, minimalism is the best approach. So, don’t use cloths with rough textures that might irritate or damage the plant’s leaves. A dry cloth is ideal for giving your indoor plants a good dusting. However, if the dust does need loosening up more or if there appears to be a film of stickiness or grease on the plant then you might need water or some product assistance to wipe the plant clean.
Try to stay away from using anything chemical because there is little way to know what might make your plant unwell. However, all-natural washing-up liquid or general all-natural cleaning sprays should be safe to use. You might also dilute them further by mixing them with some water. Natural washing-up liquid can be combined with water to use via the mist and wipe houseplant cleaning method below.
The key thing to remember when cleaning plants is they aren’t like other surfaces, they are living and breathing beings that require tenderness and care.
The Mist And Wipe Houseplant Cleaning Method
A lot of houseplants love a good spritz, especially the tropical ones. Fill a spray bottle with water and spritz this around the plant so the leaves become moist. You can then use a soft, microfibre cloth to wipe the dust from the leaves. Do so gently, remembering that they are living things, and rinse or swap the cloth occasionally if you’re doing multiple plants. This shouldn’t take long at all and will only need to be done when a dusting cloth alone might not be enough to remove the build-up of dust or grease.
Misting your plants boosts humidity and recreates the conditions they experience in their natural environment. Of course, when you’re using the misting technique to clean your plants, you are wiping off the water. Therefore, give them a lovely last misting when you’re done. Those with brown tips or dry leaves will be especially grateful and the stronger and healthier your plants are, the easier it will be to keep them clean.
Using Baby Wipes On Your Houseplants
Wet wipes do get jobs done quickly. They are incredibly convenient and save time. However, there is a big cost to this. They are usually – yes even baby wipes – infused with chemicals. Chemicals may not be harmful to human skin or household surfaces but that’s not to say they won’t be harmful to plants. Therefore, wet wipes should not be used when cleaning houseplants.
Other Things You Should NOT Use To Clean Houseplants
There are many myths about what may and may not be used to clean houseplants. Some household products might be claimed to have the right properties to keep plants healthy and remove the dust barrier effectively. However, for every claim, there is a counter and sometimes even a reason why the product might be harmful to the plant.
Our approach is that dusting, or wiping with the aid of water, is enough to remove dust from plants and therefore there is no need to use anything else. Including these household products that falsy claim to aid in indoor plant cleaning:
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice
At the very least these products will not improve the state of your plants. At the worst, they may harm them. Nothing that they do not get in nature is needed to keep your plants healthy, except of course plant food which replaces nutrients found in outdoor soil.
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