How to Clean and Shine Plant Leaves

Discover the best way to remove dust from your indoor plants. We'll explain how to clean and shine plant leaves to ensure your foliage looks healthy and bright.
How to Clean and Shine Plant Leaves

Last update: 25 April, 2023

Without regular cleaning, dust, grease, and microorganisms can quickly settle on indoor plants, ultimately affecting their growth and development. This is why it’s essential to regularly clean and shine plant leaves so that you can maintain their health and beauty.

There are different ways to complete this task, but the tried and tested methods will always prevail. Don’t forget, a plant is a living organism that practically breathes through its leaves. Keep reading to find out more!

Why you need to clean and shine plant leaves

Large plants can be cleaned with a cloth or in the shower, they will like to feel a little "rain" on them.
Large plants can be cleaned with a cloth or even in the shower.

Indoor plants fulfill the function of decorating your home with their beauty and life. To ensure they always stay that way, you must care for them correctly. This includes regular watering, using fertilizer, and maintaining optimal lighting and temperature conditions. Making sure you regularly clean and shine plant leaves is also vital.

By cleaning the leaves of your plants, the process of photosynthesis can take place efficiently and effectively. It’s through this process that plants obtain the energy to keep them alive and absorb enough nutrients to carry out other metabolic processes.

When we allow dust, grime, or grease to settle and live on the leaves of our indoor plants, we make it difficult for our plants to breathe. Although all plants need clean leaves, this is particularly important for plants that help purify the air. These plants absorb toxic and harmful substances present in the environment.

How to clean and shine plant leaves

Now that you recognize the importance of cleaning the leaves of your indoor plants, you need to know how to do it. Below, we’ll explain the easiest ways to clean the leaves of your plants and we’ll also explain how to make their leaves shine too. Take note!

1. Clean the leaves with water

Plants are living organisms that need water to survive. This liquid is vital to their development. Now, there are several ways to clean their leaves with water and we’ll go into more detail on this below:

  • Under the shower: some large tropical plants enjoy rainy days in open natural spaces. As such, give these species a shower! But do it in the morning so that after their shower you can take them outside in their pots. Place them on your balcony or patio, in a place where they can dry naturally.
  • Leaf by leaf: take a container and mix water with some hydrogen peroxide or beer. Then, soak a microfiber cloth in the mixture and clean the plant leaf by leaf. Don’t forget to include the stems if they’re dusty too.
  • Dry clean: there are a number of plants that won’t enjoy having wet leaves, especially flowering plants such as the African violet and cacti. In this case, you can use a small, soft brush to gently and carefully remove the dust.

2. Clean and shine plant leaves: avoid using oils

The second tip on how to clean and shine plant leaves involves avoiding oils. Some people think that oil is a good ally because it adds shine, but the truth is that it creates a greasy film on the leaf. This will prevent the leaves from perspiring properly.

If you do this, then gradually, the leaves begin to wither and droop. The best thing is to avoid using oil and use water instead.

3. Shine the leaves of your plants

Use the white vinegar.
You can use vinegar to clean the leaves of your plants and give them a natural shine.

Once your leaves are clean, it’s time to shine them. Of course, this step doesn’t apply to every plant as some plants have hairs and spikes that prevent this task from being carried out. Moreover, you may even damage the leaves. Although there are a number of polishing products available to buy, you can always make your own at home.

If you choose to make your own leaf polishing product, follow these steps:

  • Mix three-quarters of water and one-quarter of white vinegar in a container.
  • Take a microfiber cloth or cotton pad and clean each leaf.
  • Let the plant dry naturally.
  • Then, take a dry cotton ball and go over each leaf again.
  • You’ll soon notice that the leaves develop a natural shine.

Note: you can also vary the initial mix by using water with beer or water with milk.

How often should you clean and shine plant leaves?

It’s important to regularly clean and shine the leaves of indoor plants, although how often you do this depends on a few other factors too. This includes the location of your plant. For example, if it sits in front of an open window, near a balcony, or within an area under construction, it’ll accumulate more dust and as such need frequent cleaning.

You must also remember that cleaning and shining your plant leaves too often and using the wrong products can damage the plant. A good way of assessing when your plant needs cleaning is by gently passing your finger over the leaf. If you notice a visible trail in the dust, then you know your plant needs cleaning!