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Cleaning Houseplants

Category House Plants
The leaves of indoor potted plants can get very dusty and dingy looking if not cleaned off regularly. Cleaning your houseplants will help them grow happy and healthy. This is a guide about cleaning houseplants.
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December 2, 2013

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.

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Comment Was this helpful? 1
Anonymous
March 24, 20160 found this helpful

your plant is beautifully healthy.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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7 found this helpful
September 27, 2011

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. 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.

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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.

By Cricket from Parkton, NC

Comment Was this helpful? 7
September 29, 20110 found this helpful

This is such a good thing to do for your plants! The use of the mild soap and water treatment can also act as a pesticide. It was one of the first things Master Gardeners were taught back in the early 90s when I went through the training in FL.

Using it to clean your plants is smart. All the benefits of a clean plant (healthy 'breathing') and the added bonus of making a plant taste yuck to the potential critters!

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2 found this helpful
February 18, 2011

To keep the leaves of houseplants shiny and dust free, wipe them with a banana peel.

By ashleybunkin from WV

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Comment Was this helpful? 2
March 11, 20130 found this helpful

A banana peel will leave a sticky residue on the leaves that will attract more dust. Would you like that sticky stuff on your skin? The best thing to use is a soft, damp rag. I spray my plants with water and then wipe them off with a soft rag. Mother Nature cleans her leaves with water, how can you beat that!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

August 14, 20071 found this helpful

Apply mayonnaise to your plants to clean them and make them shine beautifully.

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0 found this helpful
December 10, 2012

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.

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March 7, 20050 found this helpful

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.

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Questions

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0 found this helpful
September 20, 2011

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!

By Nikki

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 20, 20110 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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September 22, 20110 found this helpful

Banana skins are really good for this. Fruit side to leaf.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 23, 20111 found this helpful

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!

Reply Was this helpful? 1
May 1, 20160 found this helpful

I agree 100 percent. Water!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

0 found this helpful
October 30, 2012

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.
Any ideas?

By Annie

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 4, 20120 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 5, 20120 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 20, 20170 found this helpful

To clean the leaves on my live indoor plants, all I use is a swiffer duster. One hand under the leaf so it doesn't break, and use the swiffer to dust the leaves. They are naturally shiny when I'm finished. It's fast and easy.

Pat R.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

February 10, 20050 found this helpful

Tips for cleaning house plants. Post your ideas.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 10, 20050 found this helpful

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

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
February 15, 20050 found this helpful

try rubbing banana peels on the leaves

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 18, 20100 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 23, 20110 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

February 5, 20150 found this helpful

Why can I not use Leaf Shine by Miracle-Gro on hard cactus stalks or leaved ones? What do I use on air plants to make them shine?

By Ivamarie

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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