Most homemade plant shine formulas call for a mixture of mayonnaise and a little cooking oil. Mayonnaise contains egg. I don't like the idea of a layer of egg sitting on my houseplants. At some point, it must begin to smell and I would think it would be an attractant to flies and other insects.
If you have a friendly butcher, ask him/her to give or sell you an ounce of food grade slicer oil. It contains no animal products. Unless you have many plants, an ounce should last a few years.
With an applicator (I like to use a wool swab), apply a very thin layer to the leaf tops only. Applying the oil to the undersides can prevent the stoma from being able to breathe.
By the way... I got this baby at Lowes for a markdown price of $2.00. I brought it home, repotted it, gave it a little TLC and it is growing happily.
You're right about the mayo, milk, and bananas, but I don't think oil is a great idea either. While you're right about the stomata being on the underside of the leaf, dust is going to want to stick to that oil, thus interfering with the light falling on the leaf. Have you ever tried the natural polish of the leaf, rather than the artificial waxy look? After you use some mild soap/water to clean off all the oil, try gently rubbing the top of the leaf with a soft cloth or paper towel, supporting the leaf from underneath with your other hand. All smooth-leaf plants have a beautiful natural shine if you let them.
Here's how professional plant care technicians clean plants. At every service - usually every week or every other week - plants are dusted thoroughly with an ostrich feather or microfiber duster (after the plants have been checked for bugs, of course.) Broad-leaved plants especially benefit from hand wiping every few weeks. Supporting the leaf from underneath with one hand, gently wipe the top surface with a DRY cloth or paper towel. This brings out the natural sheen of the leaves. Palms, however, need to be sprayed with a mild soap-and-water mix on both surfaces of the leaf, then wiped with a cloth on both surfaces of all the leaflets. This is mainly to control mites, which love palms.
I do not agree with Marlie G when she says "All smooth-leaf plants have a beautiful natural shine if you let them". It has been my experience that many do not. On her behalf, I will add that my shiniest plant is due to a natural sheen.
Some smooth leaved plants can, indeed, be caused to shine simply by lightly rubbing the clean leaves with a soft cloth. As I did this to one of my plants, I thought 'My, this works just like polishing an apple'.
So, I would suggest that before you put any foreign substance on smooth leaved plants, you see just how much natural shine you can obtain by giving them a light, loving rub. Thanks, Marlie.
In defense of Marlie G's tip, I am posting a picture I took today. This is a Dieffenbachia I own. After cleaning with a very dilute dish detergent solution, then rinsing and allowing to dry, I gently rubbed the leaves with a soft, dry cloth. This is the plant's natural shine. I've added nothing to it.
I've read many tips that say to use banana skins or mayo to clean houseplants. I don't like using these or any other such thing on my plants because they leave a coating on the leaves which can block them from getting air and/or water.
Apply mayonnaise to your plants to clean them and make them shine beautifully.
To keep the leaves of houseplants shiny and dust free, wipe them with a banana peel.
Cleaning philodendron leaves with a cotton ball saturated with milk will remove the dust and let them shine, shine, shine! After wiping off each leaf gently, let air dry.
Clean house plant leaves using a sock. Slip your hand into the sock. You are able to clean the top and bottom of the leaves at the same time. I always use milk to clean the leaves. Makes them really shiny.
I read an article about cleaning your house plants leaves with something special awhile back. Would anybody remember? I usually keep all of the articles, but I have lost this one. Thanks for any feedback!
I don't remember reading about this in ThriftyFun but ages ago, during the 1950's people used to put a little mayo on a cloth and dust their potted vines such as pothos, philodendron, etc.
Banana skins are really good for this. Fruit side to leaf.
Water is the best thing to use. Spray thoroughly then wipe off with a damp cloth. A piece of an old T-shirt works well. Anything greasy like mayonaise or sticky like a banana peel will just attract more dust sooner. Mother Nature uses water to clean all her plants. How can you improve on that!
I agree 100 percent. Water!
Tips for cleaning house plants. Post your ideas.
Put them in your shower and shower them gently ! Heard on "You bet your Garden" on NPR as a cure for aphids. (http://www.whyy.org/garden)
Editor's note: With cool water
try rubbing banana peels on the leaves
I clean my houseplants using milk. Pour in a bowl and dip in a paper towel and wipe the leaves. When leaves dry they will really shine. Plants like the milk also.
I don't like using banana skins or mayo or any other such thing on my plants because they leave a coating on the leaves which can block them from getting air and/or water. It also causes them to collect dust and dirt faster.
What I do is I take a gallon size bucket and put no more than 1/2 tsp mild dish soap in. I then take a lint free cloth and wipe each leaf. This cleans all the dust and dirt without blocking their pores. And they are totally clean and will not attract dust and dirt, thereby staying clean longer.
I use this method for all my plants that have leaves large enough to wash individually. For all the others, I put them in the bath tub and set the shower to "mist" and give them a good shower for about 10-15 minutes.
Any plants that are too large to pick up I always keep on a rolling tray. That way I can roll it into the bathroom and use a sprayer to spray it down good.
I am looking for a good way to dust, clean my 3 large real plants. I have been using a mild soap, but it seems like it dries out the ends of the greens, and yellows them.
The easiest is to use the hair dryer on cool and then take an old washcloth rinsed in neutral temp, wipe carefully. Also, take them to the shower and turn on to gentle rain force.
When I worked for an interior plant maintenance company we would clean the plant leaves in the warehouse before they went to the client. We sprayed the leaves with water and a mild soap and wiped with paper towels. I'd place a paper towel in each hand and wipe the bottom and top of a leaf between my hands.
For smaller leafed plants we'd spray then gently wipe with an ostrich feather duster. For really dirty plant leaves we'd spray with a hose with a shower type spray then wipe. A trick we used to shine them is to ad a bit of milk or leaf shine to the water so the leaves looked really shiny! Adding some pepper spray as well will prevent insects. Spray with the pepper spray underneath the leaves where the insects hide. A mild insecticidal soap works great too. I really doubt the soap is what is causing the leaf tips to turn brown.