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How to Clean Outdoor Plants

By Nannette Richford ; Updated September 21, 2017

Plants add color and contrast to your yard or patio creating a comfortable atmosphere and a relaxing nook for reading or simply soaking in the sun. Keeping outdoor plants clean not only improves the appearance of your yard, it helps to keep plants healthy. The techniques used to clean plants depend on the type of plants and the gardening space they occupy.

Remove dead leaves by clipping close to the base of the stem. Although it is perfectly natural for outdoor plants to have some discolored or dead leaves, an abundance of dead leaves indicates problems. Inspect for signs of insects or disease and treat promptly with the appropriate products.

Deadhead spent flowers on flowering plants as soon as they begin to fade to keep your plants looking fresh and to promote further blooming. Dispose of plant debris away from the garden to prevent the spread of disease.

Wash foliage on container plants that are small enough to handle by running the leaves under tepid water from the faucet or in a washbasin with a few drops of dish detergent. Swish the leaves in the soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Not only does this clean the leaves, it kills insects too.

Spray down larger foliage plants or garden vegetables with the mist attachment on your hose. Take care to spray evenly getting all sides of the leaves and stem to remove dirt and debris that may splash on the foliage during summer storms.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden clippers
  • Washbasin
  • Dish detergent
  • Mist attachment and hose


  • Use mulch under plants to prevent soil from splashing back onto the plants during rains.
  • Wash plants in the morning or early evening when weather is cool.


  • Do not wash plants in the late evening. They need time to dry before nightfall, as moist conditions invite disease.

About the Author


Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.