Plants, like all living things, need to be properly taken care of in order to live to the best of their ability. Along with scheduled waterings, houseplants need a maintenance cleaning every once in a while. Not only will cleaning your houseplants keep them dust-free, but you'll be more aware of pests that may come around. See our tips on keeping your houseplants squeaky clean.
Remove dust from African violets and other fuzzy-leafed plants with a soft-bristle paintbrush, soft toothbrush, pipe cleaner, or discarded fuzzy leaf. Stroke 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 simply wiping them with a moist cloth or damp cotton. Support the leaves with one hand to avoid bruising or cracking them. Do not use oils or polishes to make houseplant leaves shine; they can block pores, which can interfere with a plant's ability to breathe.
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, stringlike stems, too.
Wash houseplants often in lukewarm water to rid them of dust and insects. Don't use cold water; it may spot leaves. Place small houseplants in a sink; wash larger houseplants in a shower. Let plants drip-dry before placing them in the sun.
Another simple way to clean small houseplants (especially those with fuzzy leaves) is to support them and their soil with your fingers, turn them upside down, and swish their leaves in tepid water. Let the houseplants plants drip-dry out of the sun.