How to Clean Indoor Plants


Just like the rest of your home's furniture and decorations, houseplants can collect grime and dust throughout the day. Not only might such debris make your plants look unattractive, dust can block vital sunlight from reaching the leaves and attracts insect pests, according to the University of Minnesota. Clean your plants once a week or whenever they get dirty to keep them healthy and looking their best.

Large-Leaved Plants

Step 1

Pour a cup of water into a container.

Step 2

Add a cup of rubbing alcohol to the water and mix it thoroughly. This will help kill any pests, like aphids and mealybugs, on your plants, according to North Dakota State University.

Step 3

Dab a washcloth or a cotton ball into the mixture and use it to wipe down your plant's stems and leaves.

Step 4

Set the plant in a warm, dry place to air dry. Aim a room fan set on its lowest setting at the plant to hasten drying, if necessary.

Fine-Leaved Plants

Step 1

Fill a gallon-sized bucket with water and a couple drops of liquid dish soap.

Step 2

Wrap the top of the plant's pot in foil or plastic kitchen wrap. This keeps the soil from falling out of the pot while you're washing it, according to the University of Minnesota.

Step 3

Turn the plant upside down and immerse it into the soapy water to the point where the stem enters the potting soil. Swish it back and forth for a couple seconds, then remove it from the water and set it aside to air dry.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never use a feather duster or similar dusting tool to clean your indoor houseplants. Dusting tools may spread pests or pest eggs that are on your plant, according to the University of Nebraska.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Container
  • Gallon-sized bucket
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Foil or plastic wrap


  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual"; Barbara Pleasant; 2005
  • University of Nebraska: Tips for Keeping Houseplants Pest Free
  • University of Minnesota: Houseplant Insect Control
  • Penn State University: Caring for Houseplants
  • North Dakota State University: Houseplants Proper Care and Management
Keywords: clean houseplants, clean indoor plants, brush indoor plants

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.