How To Clean Houseplant Leaves

I am absolutely obsessed with plants, and have been for the last two years. Not only do they look beautiful in my home, but they give my home a sense of greenery. I love how good it looks! But what comes along with having house plants in your house, is cleaning them so they can thrive. Learning how to clean houseplant/ leaves is crucial to keep your plants alive, healthy, and pest free.

Why You Should Clean Houseplant Leaves

Over time, dust not only accumulates in the house, but on your plant leaves as well. It’s inevitable, and if the leaves aren’t cleaned, your plant can die. A layer of dirt or dust on your leaves will block them from absorbing sunlight, which means your plant can’t photosynthesize. If your plants can’t photosynthesize, then they can’t feed themselves. 

If you keep your plants clean, they will photosynthesize properly which will help keep them healthy. The healthier your plants are, the less they will get sick from pest infestations and diseases. 

When I started my indoor plant collection I wasn’t aware foliage got dusty and that I had to clean them. Not cleaning the foliage left pest infested plants that I had to throw out, and a lot of wasted money.

When Should You Clean Houseplant Leaves

The time frame between cleanings of your indoor plants depends on how much dust accumulates in the air at your house. Plants sitting by a window that is often left open for instance, need more frequent cleanings than one on your desk.


Plants that are hanging higher in the air like devil’s ivy or peace Lily’s, will also require more frequent cleanings if you typically have your AC unit running. 

Here is how I figured out how often to clean my plants. I cleaned all of them on my day off, then tracked them in a notebook. Then, I created a plant log to keep track of how long it takes for each plant to get dusty. 

Every two days I checked on them to keep track accurately. Now, I clean them according to my plant log. For example: I clean my sugar cane the least out of all my plants, as well as my succulents. I clean them once every three weeks. My pothos, snake plants, and monstera deliciosa, however, I clean once every 2 weeks because they get dusty quicker. 

how to clean houseplant leaves

How To Clean Indoor Houseplant Leaves

  1. Dusting Plants
  2. Wipe the dust off the leaves with a microfiber cloth
  3. Shower
  4. A Damp Cloth
  5. Dunk The Plant In Water
  6. Spray Plants with Solutions

Dusting Plants

Use a gentle duster if the plant leaves are fuzzy or have light dust. I dust my plant leaves every few days in-between cleanings to help keep small particles off the leaves before they build up.

Microfiber Cloth

You can use lukewarm water on a microfiber cloth to wipe away dirt and grime from your plant leaves. Be sure to wipe not only the front, but the back of the leaves as well. Insects and pests often lay eggs on the back of the leaves when hanging out on the stems. *Be sure you use a different cloth for each plant so you don’t contaminate your plants by spreading any pests.


If you have a plant with a lot of leaves, or with delicate leaves, you can use your shower. I use my shower for ferns, spider plants, and my wandering Jew. Be sure that you use lukewarm, not hot water.

Damp Cloth

If the dust on your leaf is a little bit heavy or caked on, you can try using a damp cloth. Be sure that when you’re using a damp cloth to clean your plants leaves, you hold the back of your leaf with the other hand so that you don’t rip the leave from too much weight or pressure.

Dunk In Water

If you have a small plant that still has a lot of dust on it even after trying the previously mentioned methods, you can dunk it. To dunk your plant you will need a bucket of lukewarm water and a towel. Set the towel next to the bucket and while holding your plant at the base (soil level), flip your plant gently and dunk the leaves into the water, swishing them back and forth. If your plant is dry, I would suggest watering the soil first so that it doesn’t all fall out into the bucket.

Let your plant drip dry on the towel when you’re done before you put it back where it was. It’s very important to make sure you let your plant leaves dry.

Solution Spray

For plants that are extra grimy, you can use diluted soapy water mixture. says “Use about ¼ tablespoon dish soap per 1 quart of water.” If your plant is too delicate to be dunked or hosed in the sink, spray lukewarm water on them to wash the soap off.

Tips for Houseplant Upkeep

Tip 1: Dust your plant leaves once every week or two, depending on how often dust forms. Ex: If your plant is near a window or ac vent, dusting will need to be more frequent. 

Tip 2: Remove yellow or dead leaves from your plant. Remove by hand if they’re loose, and scissors if they aren’t. However, do not pull off any leaves that are still firmly attached to the plant. 

Tip 3: When dusting and cleaning your plant leaves, make sure you keep an eye on the under belly of the leaves for any mites or critters. NOTE: If you find any mealy bugs or critters on your plants, remove them from the vicinity of your other plants, immediately. Mealy bugs spread rapidly to other plants. Be sure to check every other plant carefully after quarantining your infected plant.

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