How To Wash Houseplant Leaves

First things first: We do not advise cleaning your indoor plants with leaf-shining treatments. There are various commercial plant shine products available, and many stores utilize them to enhance the appearance of their plants. Nevertheless, leaf shine products sometimes cause more harm than benefit.

Stomata, which are microscopic pores found in plants, are essential for many of the organisms’ processes. Stomata allow oxygen to enter through during respiration. Stomata let carbon dioxide to pass through during photosynthesis. Additionally, stomata let water vapor to flow through during transpiration. Numerous leaf shine items block these apertures with oil or wax, which restricts the critical gas exchanges that stomata are necessary to.

Even while the leaf shine product makes the promise that it is clog-free, its residue might draw in more dust and dirt, giving you a plant that is ultimately not all that shiny. You get caught in a never-ending cycle of cleaning and re-shining as the foliage gets harder to clean.

We all agree that plants are beautiful, but if you want to bring out even more of their beauty, there are safer ways to do it without endangering the health of the plants.

Clean plants’ leaves with a damp cloth.

Wet the towel (or sponge) and squeeze away the extra moisture. Place one hand softly underneath each leaf to support it while the other hand wipes down the top of the leaf while moving away from the stem. Repeat the procedure on the leaf’s underside, where common houseplant pests like to conceal themselves. Use a gentle brush if the leaves are delicate or little.

Shower your houseplants.

All plants, but especially those with numerous leaves, benefit greatly from a light, lukewarm shower. To make sure the water cleanses the undersides of the leaves, carefully run your hands through the vegetation. For ferns, orchids, and palms that enjoy dampness, this technique works well. Just be careful not to overwater your plant while you’re doing it (only water plants in containers with drainage holes) and be sure to shake off any extra water from the leaves afterward.

Clean leaves with a bit of soapy water.

Try combining water and all-natural liquid soap if water alone is insufficient. Either bathe your hands with the mixture and gently apply it to the plant, or you can carefully wipe the leaves with a soft cloth dipped in the soap and water mixture. Clean the plant’s leaves from top to bottom; doing so may assist get rid of any potential pests. When finished, thoroughly rinse the plant to remove all of the soapy liquid, then shake off any extra water.

Or opt for a mixture of vinegar and water or lemon juice and water.

Vinegar and water are also useful for removing residue accumulation on leaves. But be careful not to go overboard. Start by combining a gallon of water and one teaspoon of vinegar. After that, carefully dab the mixture onto the leaves of your plants using a delicate cloth. Bonus: The smell of vinegar works wonders to deter pests and curious animals. Lemon juice is a good substitute for vinegar. Mineral salts can be dissolved with the aid of an acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar. Lemon juice and water, in contrast to vinegar and water, won’t get rid of pests on your plants, but it will dissolve mineral buildup from hard tap water on your leaves.

What is used to clean plant leaves?

The leaves of your houseplants can be cleaned and polished in a variety of ways with just a fast Google search, but which of those techniques and solutions actually work? Which does not gradually hurt your leaves over time but properly cleans and shines them over time?

Let’s discuss some of the most popular advice, whether it is effective, and how it may benefit or harm your plants.

Coconut Oil to Clean Plant Leaves?

Does it operate? Yes. You will undoubtedly get lustrous plant leaves with coconut oil, at least temporarily.

Although a single application of a little coconut oil probably won’t harm your plant (we get it, sometimes you need to shine up your plant to show off to guests! ), you don’t want to apply it repeatedly over the long haul.

For starters, coconut oil doesn’t actually clean the leaves; it merely forms a shiny veneer on top of the leaves. Additionally, because it is perched on the leaves, it will prevent dust and other particles from evaporating by making them stick to the leaves. This could make cleaning and dusting the leaves more challenging, particularly if you let dirt accumulate over time.

Additionally, when coconut oil, a rich lipid, and dust are combined, muck is produced that settles on the leaves and immediately clogs the pores. You already know what that means: your plant will have a harder time breathing and converting sunlight into energy.

Overall, we do not advise using coconut oil to maintain clean, glossy leaves over the long run. Who has time for that, though? It would be alright if you are particularly meticulous about wiping down the leaves of your plant every few days so the dust never has a chance to build up.

Olive Oil to Shine Plant Leaves?

Similar issues can arise with olive oil and coconut oil for similar causes. It creates a fleeting shining sheen on the surface of the leaves that ultimately draws in dust and other particles, which can accumulate and enter the pores of the leaves.

Is Baby Oil Safe for Plant Leaves?

Although baby oil is occasionally used in homemade insecticides and may be OK for short-term use to keep off household insects, we do not advise using it to clean and polish plant leaves.

Baby oil is still greasy and can clog leaf pores like any fatty, oily material, while not being as rich as coconut or olive oil.

Applying gummy fats to plant leaves is not the best cleaning method because it will eventually cause hazardous accumulation.

Milk to Clean Plant Leaves?

For many of the same reasons that different oils are recommended, milk is frequently suggested for cleaning and shining plant leaves. Unless you’re using skim milk, the fat in milk can settle on leaves and temporarily give them a shiny appearance.

However, milk does in fact provide several vitamins and minerals that are good for plant leaves. The minor amount of calcium may be beneficial for the leaves, and the protein in dairy milk may aid in removing any residue or debris from the leaves.

A 50/50 mixture of skim milk and water can be a powerful leaf cleaner that also has some nutritional advantages.

Cleaning Plant Leaves With Vinegar

This is a hazardous one. Yes, vinegar can remove residue and mineral deposits from your leaves when heavily diluted with water. However, using this technique can also harm plants with softer, more fragile leaves by burning them with chemicals and discoloring their leaves.

In a rush, cleaning your plant’s leaves with a teaspoon of vinegar and a gallon of water (or a half teaspoon and a half gallon) can work, but there are simpler, safer, and more efficient ways to do it!

Lemon Juice and Water to Clean Plant Leaves

Lemon juice is frequently advised as well, similar to vinegar. And many of the same dangers apply.

Yes, lemon juice diluted in water (about half a lemon squeezed into a pint of water) helps remove residue and buildup from your leaves, but the lemon juice’s acids can still cause harm even when much diluted.

Soap and Water to Clean Plant Leaves

This is one suggestion that we wholeheartedly support! Plant leaves can actually be cleaned very effectively with a light soap and water mixture.

What you should do is:

To start, use distilled water to thoroughly wet the leaves of your plant. Then, wait for about 5 minutes to let any dust or accumulation relax.

After that, combine a half gallon of distilled water with a teaspoon of detergent-free soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s pure organic castile soap. Use a microfiber towel to gently wipe both sides of each leaf after dipping it in the soap-and-water mixture. Avoid vigorously scrubbing the leaves or using your nails to scratch or scrape them; doing so could remove the leaf’s top layer, which could then lead to the leaf drying out.

After wiping all of the leaves, give your plant a last rinse in the shower or with a hose. To prevent the soapy water from soaking into the soil, you might wish to tilt the plant to one side. (However, if some spills into the potting soil, don’t worry.) To maintain your leaves clean and healthy, repeat this process every few months.

Can I Use Baby Wipes on My Plant Leaves?

This one is challenging. Baby wipes can be mild, and they are soft, which is a nice thing.

You never truly know what you’re getting with wipes because not all of them are created equal. Baby wipes may include substances that are good for skin but bad for plants. Since baby wipes aren’t exactly intended for plant leaves, we believe it is best to avoid using them on plants.

Can soapy water be used to wash plant leaves?

Houseplants that spend the summer outside frequently bring bugs inside with them. Take into account these suggestions to avoid issues:

  • The presence of dirt and dust on the leaves of your houseplants can be detrimental to their health in addition to making them appear terrible. Before sunlight reaches the plant, dust filters it, reducing the amount of photosynthesis the plant can perform. By preventing transpiration, it also stresses the plant. Additionally attracting and harboring spider mites and other insect pests are dust and filth.
  • Use a gentle, wet cloth to clean indoor plants with smooth leaves. Spray lukewarm water on plants with lots of tiny leaves, or tip the plant upside down and swish it about in a tub of water while protecting the soil with crumpled paper or aluminum foil. Several drops of mild liquid dishwashing soap can also be added to the water.

First, It Is Important To Clean Leaves

To keep your plants clean, healthy, and working properly, it’s a good idea to sometimes wipe down their leaves. Indoor plants naturally accumulate dust, grime, and dander, which can obstruct the plant’s ability to absorb light. This has further effects on photosynthesis and growth of the plant. Cleaning the leaves with a natural, gentle spray might help remove particularly difficult filth while protecting the plant.

Cleaning the leaves of houseplants is also beneficial as a preventative measure to fend off potential pests and diseases before they become apparent. Damage is frequently more challenging to repair once it has been discovered. The aim is to catch problems early.

Why Manufactured Leaf Polish Isn’t Great

Most store-bought leaf polishes have the simple purpose of making the plant look better and shine more. Beautifying the foliage is encouraged on even the labels. Yes, cleaning the surface with a plant’s leaves generally works. However, the harsh oils and occasionally chemicals used to make these shines and sprays settle on the surface of the leaf. This may result in accumulation, clog the stomata (pores), and prevent respiration, which would hamper plant growth. Ultra-shiny leaves might look phony and be harmful. Who would want a fake plant when they paid for an actual one?

How To Make Your Own Houseplant Polish

Making your own DIY leaf spray at home gives you the chance to securely clean and enhance your plants. This concoction will remove and keep out pests, hard water stains, and dirt. Additionally, as the plant’s inherent beauty is shown, your leaves will acquire a faint sheen.


  • 2 glasses of water
  • a half-strength vinegar
  • 2 drops of castile or dish soap (Dr. Bronner’s is a favorite)
  • Coconut oil, two drops (optional: if you really want that glossy look)

After combining the ingredients, you can either use a spray bottle to apply it to the leaves or just dip a cloth into the mixture. Use a soft fabric, such as microfiber, to shield the leaves from harm in either case. Use a single disposable paper towel for every plant as an alternative to reduce the danger of possibly transferring pests or diseases between plants. (Alternatively, fully wash the cloth in hot water after each use.)

Although there isn’t a particular period of time, we advise cleaning your plants every month or so. Remember that this spray only works on specific types of foliage and shouldn’t be applied to very delicate leaves, such those with a fuzzy texture (like African Violets and Cacti). Overall, caring for your houseplants properly can promote growth, longevity, and survival. Happy cleaning of the plants!

Should I wash the leaves off my plants?

Anyone who has ever left their home for a few weeks at a time knows that dust quickly builds up on all of your surfaces, even your indoor plants. Additionally, a speckling of soil on lower leaves is nearly always present when a fan, AC unit, or window is opened. Cleaning your houseplants’ leaves on a regular basis is crucial, despite the fact that it may seem like a laborious chore. The ability of the plant to photosynthesize, which is ultimately how the plant feeds itself, will be hampered by a layer of dust on the leaf, which will obstruct sunlight.

Healthy plants are more resistant to illnesses and pest infestations because they are clean and photosynthesizing at their peak levels. Cleaning your houseplants’ leaves on a regular basis actually reduces your workload over time and improves the quality of both the plant and your living space.