How to Clean Houseplants


Houseplants are prized for their lush foliage, bringing a bit of nature indoors year-round. Unfortunately, just like the furniture in your home, houseplants collect dust and become dingy-looking if not kept clean. Unlike your furniture, you can't just wipe some polish on them and call them clean. You must clean them carefully and avoid damaging the plants. Clean houseplants don't just look better, they also grow better, as their leaf pores are open and better able to absorb oxygen.

Step 1

Fill a spray bottle with clear water. Set the spray dial to the "strong" mist selection and carefully spray down each leaf to wash away most of the dust. Angle the bottle so the mist hits the leaf at a 45-degree angle and runs off the leaf tip.

Step 2

Wipe down broad-leafed plants that have a smooth surface with a soft, lint-free cloth. Wipe from the stem to the tip of the leaf using a single motion and taking care not to pull the leaf from the plant.

Step 3

Brush the dust out of the fibers of fuzzy- or hairy-leafed plants using a soft camel-hair brush. Brush gently, taking care not to scrub off the fibers on the leaves.

Step 4

Purchase leaf wax from a florist. Moisten a lint-free cloth with the wax and gently rub it onto smooth-leafed plants to add gloss and shine.

Step 5

Remove any moss or mulch around the plants once it appears dusty and dingy. Replace with fresh organic mulch.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use leaf polishes on hairy- or fuzzy-leaf plants. Never use cooking oils or furniture polish to shine up leaves. These clog the pores on the plant and block oxygen absorption.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Camel-hair brush
  • Plant wax
  • Mulch


  • Purdue Extension Office
Keywords: cleaning houseplants, houseplant care, washing plant foliage

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.