If you have added house plants to your home interiors for beauty and health, you might be often struggling with their maintenance and care. Although these plants require less maintenance when compared to outdoor plants, you do have to spend some time and effort to clean their soil and leaves. Here are some easy ways to clean houseplants naturally.
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Clean houseplants are healthier. When you wipe off the layer of dirt on their leaves and stems, you help them breathe better and look better too. Here are some natural ways to clean house plants, but before that, let us understand better why cleaning them is necessary in the first place.
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Why should you Clean Houseplants?
- When you buy a houseplant from a nursery or a growers’ greenhouse, you can expect a layer of junk on them due to pesticides, hard water, foliage cleaners and regular dirt. Hard water often leaves whitish deposits of minerals like calcium on the leaves, which make your plants look ugly.
- Build-up of dirt and dust is inevitable on the leaves. Eventually, if ignored, these block the leaves and prevent them from breathing better.
- Plants look shinier and make your interiors look wonderful when they are cleaned.
- If your indoor plants have ever been infested with pests like mealybugs, scale, aphids or white flies, you will have to clean them thoroughly to get rid of their sticky secretions, whitish deposits and remaining residue of dead eggs. Just spraying them with pesticides is not enough. When you are sure that the pests have died, you need to wipe off the plant thoroughly to prevent re-infestation, or spreading to other houseplants.
How to Clean Houseplants with Natural Ingredients?
You don’t need to buy any fancy cleaners to clean your houseplants. Some natural elements in your kitchen can do the trick. Here are a few ingredients you can use to clean your houseplants.
- ½ – ¾ cup white vinegar
- 5-10 drops of non-toxic dish soap
- ½ gallon water
- Spray bottle
- Cleaning cloth
- If there is a large dust build-up, you will first have to use a duster. A microfiber dust can help you dust off the top layer of dust easily. You can also use a soft, slightly dampened cloth to wipe off the dust.
- If your house plants are relatively small and easy to carry, you can also wash off the leaves directly under the kitchen sink tap and wipe them dry.
- For larger houseplants, you can make a mixture of vinegar, non-toxic dish soap in water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture directly on the big leaves and let it drip off. It will take away some of the surface dust along with the drippings. You may have to protect your floors with old newspapers or old rags before you do this.
- If you don’t want to create a mess on the floor, you can, alternatively, dip your cleaning cloth in the cleaning mixture and wipe off the leaves. This method is apt for larger houseplants like Mosteras, Dracaena Lisa, Phidendrons, etc.
Points to Remember When Cleaning Houseplants
- Do not put your houseplants under the hot sun to dry after you clean them, as this can burn the leaves.
- Do not buy any commercial cleaners that claim to make your leaves shine. They only clog the pores of your leaves and prevent them from breathing properly. Such a shine will also make your leaves look fake.
- Do not use mayonnaise, coconut oil or milk to render a shine to your houseplants, as these may also end up clogging the pores.
- For plants with fuzzy leaves like African Violets, spraying with the above-mentioned cleaning mixture is not recommended. You can dust such plants instead.
- Never clean your plants later at night, as their respiration process happens more after dark and they do not like being disturbed.
How Often Should Houseplants be Cleaned?
There is no specific schedule for cleaning houseplants. You can clean them twice a month or once a month, whenever you notice dust or spots on the leaves. You can also put your houseplants out in the rain to get a natural shower. But, ensure that you do not let them stay out in the rain for more than 30 minutes.
These are some important points to remember when cleaning houseplants. It does take some time to clean them, but when you do, you will notice a hell lot of difference in their looks and shine. Your overall interiors will also look fresh. Plus, cleaning will ensure that they have a better lifespan.