Like any piece of furniture, your houseplants can get dusty too. Keeping plants clean will also prevent disease and keep them healthy!

By BH&G Garden Editors
Updated April 13, 2020

Plants, like all living things, need to be properly taken care of in order to stay healthy and thrive. Along with regular waterings and the right amount of light, houseplants need a maintenance cleaning every once in a while. As long as you're spring cleaning the rest of your house anyway, you might as well give your houseplants a little extra attention. Not only will cleaning your houseplants keep them dust-free, but you'll be more aware of any pests or other problems they might be having.

dusting leaf on African violet houseplant
A small paintbrush works well for cleaning the fuzzy leaves of African violets.
| Credit: Dean Schoeppner

How to Clean Dust Off Houseplants

Remove dust from African violets and other fuzzy-leafed plants with a soft-bristle paintbrush, soft toothbrush, or pipe cleaner. Gently brush from the base of the leaf to the tip to dislodge dust and other debris. You can also clean the leaves of large houseplants by wiping them with a moist cloth or damp cotton. Support the leaves with one hand to avoid bruising or cracking them. Don't use oils or polishes to make houseplant leaves shine; they can block pores, which can interfere with a plant's ability to breathe.

houseplant with wilting leaves
Yellowing or dried out leaves like these on a cyclamen should be removed regularly.
| Credit: Dean Schoeppner

Deadhead Spent Blooms and Wilted Leaves

Remove withered blossoms to keep your houseplants healthy and encourage further blooming. Pick up any flowers that fall on the soil to prevent mold and disease. Additionally, remove all dead or yellowing leaves regularly from your houseplants, picking up all fallen leaves on the soil. Ferns are a special case; reach under their green fronds and cut the brown leaf stalks at the soil line. Shorten or remove any leafless, string-like stems, too.

washing houseplant in sink with faucet
Wash off smaller houseplants in a sink using tepid water.
| Credit: Jay Wilde

How to Wash Houseplants

When your houseplants are due for a watering, wash them in lukewarm water to get rid of insects and dust. Don't use cold water, because it can cause spotting on the leaves. Place small houseplants in a sink; wash larger houseplants in a shower. Let plants drip-dry before placing them in the sun.

You can also clean small houseplants (especially ones with fuzzy leaves) by supporting them and their soil with your fingers, turning them upside down, and swishing their leaves in tepid water. Let the houseplants plants drip-dry out of the sun.


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