How to Get Bugs Out of Houseplants


Even indoor plants are not safe from flying, crawling or hopping bugs. If bugs want to get to your houseplants, they will find a way. Environmental conditions such as excessive heat and dampness can be especially tempting to bugs that want to call your houseplants their new home. Once infested, houseplants face the threat of irreparable damage from bugs that feast on their foliage. Getting bugs off your plants when you see them and taking precautions to prevent future infestations will prolong the life of your houseplants.

Step 1

Set your houseplants in your shower or sink and give them a lukewarm water rinse, using your shower hose or kitchen sink sprayer to give the foliage a vigorous rinsing that will wash off or drown the bugs.

Step 2

Vacuum the bugs off your houseplants with a small, handheld vacuum that has enough force to suck up the bugs without sucking in the foliage, too. Empty the vacuum bag into a plastic bag immediately afterwards. Tie the bag and throw it away.

Step 3

Slip on a pair of gardening gloves and pick the bugs off by hand if there are not too many. Place the bugs in a plastic bag, seal it and throw it away.

Step 4

Set your houseplants in an area that does not get too hot, as large amounts of direct sunlight will dry out the soil quickly and invite spider mites. Hanging sheers or blinds on your windows can help filter some of the direct sunlight and keep the spider mites at bay.

Step 5

Avoid keeping your soil overly moist, as soaked soil can eventually cause the roots of your plants to rot. Waterlogged soil also invites fungus gnats. To get these bugs out of your houseplants, keep your soil damp, not wet.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use an ordinary carpet vacuum on your plants. The suction on a regular vacuum is too strong. It can potentially suck the foliage and flowers right off your houseplants. Never use outside garden soil for your indoor houseplants. Garden soil usually contains pests that you will end up bringing indoors. Bagged potting soil is sterile and free of critters.

Things You'll Need

  • Sink or shower
  • Lukewarm water
  • Shower hose or sink sprayer
  • Handheld vacuum
  • Plastic bags
  • Gardening gloves
  • Sheers or blinds


  • Colorado State University: Managing Houseplant Pests

Who Can Help

  • The Garden Helper: Insects, Bugs and Pests that Invade your House Plants
Keywords: bugs on houseplants, vacuuming houseplant bugs, houseplant spider mites

About this Author

Eleanor Jewell started freelancing in 2007, writing for eHow, LIVESTRONG.COM and Trails. Lifestyle changes have led Jewell down a new path, quite different from her background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in education and a teacher certification from East Stroudsburg University.

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