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The Importance of Cleaning Plant Leaves

Written by Viki, Plant Lover

It doesn't take long for dust to gather, especially on your plants. Although dusting and cleaning can be a tedious job, it’s necessary for the growth and health of your plants. Find out all the best methods to clean plant leaves without harming them in our latest blog post.

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Find out the Importance of Cleaning Plant Leaves & the Best Ways to do it

Why should you need to start cleaning plant leaves

You may think your home is pretty clean and tidy but there’s always microscopic dirt and dust in the air and overtime this dust settles and builds up on surfaces such as indoor plants. Cleaning plant leaves is vital for keeping your plant looking good but it’s also important for maintaining your plant’s health. Plant leaves have different functions in maintaining plant growth so it’s always important that you keep them as clean as possible.

Dirty leaves can easily halt plant growth and can have a negative effect on overall plant health. If a thin layer of dust is covering a leaf then it does not allow the leaf to absorb light and photosynthesis will decrease. When photosynthesis decreases plants don’t have the right amount of sugar to stay healthy and grow. There are small openings in the leaves of plants called stoma or stomata, these small openings allow for gas exchange. If dirt or dust is blocking the stomata it halts gas, water and vapor exchange and can slow down growth.

What To Remember When Cleaning Plant Leaves

Whilst cleaning plant leaves, it's also important to remove dust and dirt from the underside of the leaves, as well as cleaning stems and stalks. Dust may not collect on stems and stalks as much as it does on leaves but it can still build up. If you're using water to clean your indoor plants then remember to always use lukewarm or room temperature water. Using cold water leaves water spots on the surface of the leaf and using warm water may shock your plants and cause damage to roots.

Cleaning plant leaves on a regular basis using the methods below allows leaves to function properly and helps to maintain a healthy and happy indoor plant.

4 Methods for Cleaning Plant Leaves

From dusting leaves with a feather duster to rinsing plant leaves in the bath, there’s a range of different methods to cleaning plant leaves to keep your plants happy and healthy.

1. Use a Duster To Clean Indoor Plant Leaves

The best way to remove a fine layer of dust from your houseplant’s leaves is by using a feather duster. This method is great for small indoor plants such as an areca palm or boston fern. Gently brush over the leaves to remove as much dust and dirt as possible. Using a feather duster doesn’t always remove all of the dirt or dust from your plants but it makes it a lot easier the next time you want to thoroughly clean your plant’s leaves.

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Boston Fern

2. Wipe Plants With a Cloth To Keep Leaves Clean

Another simple and effective way to remove a small layer of dust from your indoor plant’s leaves is to wipe it away with a cloth and lukewarm water. This method usually works better for large and tall plants such as a bird of paradise plant or fiddle leaf fig tree.

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Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

3. Mist Plants Regularly To Keep Leaves Free Of Dust and Dirt


Regularly misting your indoor plants can help keep them clean and healthy. It’s best to gently mist the entire plant in a sink or bathtub and then allow the plant to dry before it goes back to its home. This works incredibly well for large and tall plants such as a money tree or yucca tree.

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Money Tree

4. Place Plants In The Sink, Bath or Shower To Clean Thoroughly

Smaller plants with a variety of leaves such as a blue star fern or a parlour palm can benefit from being placed in the sink or bath for a number of seconds. This helps to remove a small layer of dust and dirt from the plant leaves, stems and stalks. Avoid using hot or cold water and only use room temperature or lukewarm water, a damp cloth can be used to remove any excess water from the leaves.

Blue Star Fern


If you have large and tall plants that are too big to give a soak in the sink then it might be easier to give them a shower instead. Use lukewarm water and gently spray your plants with the showerhead to remove any dust or dirt. Remember to use low water pressure so you don’t damage or snap leaves from the plant stems. This method works wonders for large plants such as a Heart-Leaf Philodendron.


The Stem & The Importance of Cleaning Plant Leaves


How often you clean your indoor plants depends on the environment in which it lives in and conditions within your home. It’s important to only clean your houseplants when absolutely necessary so you avoid the possibility of snapping leaves from the plant stems. If you want to find out more information about cleaning plant leaves or caring for your plant then visit our Plant Academy for a range of different guides on caring for indoor plants.

Shop our collection of indoor plants here.

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