Even if your indoor plants are not much exposed to dirt and dust as outdoor plants, they do tend to get dirty and dusty. You need to clean them properly to ensure better growth, health and beauty of the plant.
You may wonder that when plants grow in soil, why bother keeping soil, mud or dirt off its leaves? Well, the obvious answer to this is that the layer of dust accumulating on the leaves blocks sunlight and reduces the plant’s ability to perform photosynthesis. Through the process of photosynthesis, the leaves create food for the plant. Inability to synthesize food in sufficient quantities will lead to poor growth and health of the plant. You may find your leaves less shiny and the plant may easily get ridden with diseases and pest infestations.
Periodic cleaning of indoor plants gives better life and longevity to them. It also ensures that your leaves look greener and healthier, thereby making your interiors look better. Here are some instructions on how to clean indoor plants properly.
You must be wondering how often to clean your indoor plants. This factor depends on how much dust you get in your home surfaces daily. Consider the leaves of your indoor plants similar to your home furniture that gets covered with dust periodically. If you live in houses next to dirt roads or if a construction is happening nearby, you may find a lot of dust in your houses. The wind entering your house will bring along with it a lot of dust, that requires you to clean your indoor plants almost once in ten days. It would be ideal to clean them once a week.
A quick way to check whether your indoor plants need cleaning is by rubbing your fingers on the leaves. If your fingers get covered with dust, it means that your plants need a bath.
Here is How to Clean your Indoor Plants Properly:
The easiest way to clean house plants is to bring them to the kitchen sink and spray water either from a tap or from a sprayer bottle. This makes your work very easy and the falling dirty water from the leaves will go straight down the drain. Test the water before you begin spraying. It should not be too cold or too hot. The pressure should be just right, else it will injure the tender leaves and roots.
If your plants are feeling too grimy, you can spray a little soapy water on the leaves, rub gently with your fingers and then rinse off with plain lukewarm water. You can add ¼ tbsp of dishwashing liquid to a quart of water and use this soapy liquid to wash off the grime. Some plants may be too delicate to take the pressure of water from a sprayer bottle or a tap. The best way to clean such plants is to invert them in a bucket of water, swish the leaves, while holding the soil with your fingertips of one hand. If the soil is too loose, you can put a plastic wrap around the base of the plant to secure the soil and then invert it to clean the leaves and the stem. Then, let the excess water drip in the bucket before you invert the plant again.
Wipe the Leaves:
If you have just sprayed your plant with water or if you find too little dust on the leaves, you can also wipe off the leaves properly with a wet cloth. This also works for plants in pots that are too heavy to move. After you have properly wiped them with a wet cloth, you must make it a point to periodically use a soft duster on the leaves to prevent them from getting too dirty.
This technique applies for plants with sticky or fuzzy leaves that are not too easy to clean with hands. If you have plants like African Violets that do not like their leaves getting wet, you cannot use any of the above-mentioned tricks. The only way to clean such plants is by using a soft brush such as a mushroom brush to gently remove the dust from the leaves.
Trimming the leaves and removing all dead leaves is also a part of the cleaning process. While you are washing the plants, you also need to keep an eye on the dirty, withered or dead yellow leaves and remove them. If they fall easily, remove them by hand, else use scissors to trim them. Never pull leaves forcibly. You should only prune the leaf tips from plants that are too dry. Follow the natural contour of the leaves when you are cutting.
Lastly, also clean the pot. Remove all the dead leaves, weeds and stones. Wipe the edges to give a clean look to your indoor plants and pots.