Tips On How To Clean Leaves On Houseplants

Houseplants are a great way to spruce up your home and require relatively little maintenance. When buying store brought plants you should always check to see if there is any white residue material left on the plant.

Indoor plants may often become dusty or accumulate grease over time. Try cleaning your plants with an occasional use of light soapy water and water. More below…

Many of the plants used indoors come from Florida, California and Texas. Some are grown in greenhouses, many are produced under screened enclosures called shade houses. Generally, water is pumped from wells and plants are watered overhead with sprinklers.


In south Florida where there is a large concentration of nurseries the water contains a lot of calcium. When the plants are watered overhead and the water dries quickly, a white residue sometimes remains.

Growers try to clean the foliage but are not always successful. This is why sometimes plants arrive with a noticeable “white stuff” on the leaves.

Professional plantscapers always groom plants before placing them indoors. Grooming consist of:

  • Checking the soil
  • Looking for any plant pests
  • Removing any extra visible fertilizer
  • Trimming any damaged leaves from shipping
  • Cleaning the leaves

… to name a few.

Some use their own homemade leaf shine or cleaner, homeowners may use products like “pokon leaf shine” – I don’t shine leaves… I clean the plant leaves only. Professional plant cleaners on the market are nice but sometimes going back to basics is all that is needed.

Over a period of time indoors plants will accumulate dust. The occasional use of light soapy water to clean, followed by a plain clear water rinse should be fine to keep your plants pest free and clean.


Wiping the Leaves

Many interiorscapers use moist towels or cloths to wipe down dirty leaves. With a “wiper” in each of your hands, start wiping from where the leaf attaches all the way to the tip, carefully wiping both the top and bottom of the leaf at the same time.

Apply enough pressure to remove any dust. Be prepared, plants like a Hoya plant can take some time to clean. Make sure you change the wipers regularly. Plants with pronounced leaf hairs won’t be able to be cleaned this way.

Back to the Leaf Shine

Many plantscapers don’t use leaf shine. Leaf shine products can clog pores and inhibit transpiration.

Secondly, the use of any type of food product to clean plants can promote a great place for pests to live.

If you have plants in the kitchen area, watch out for grease that can accumulate on the leaves. These plants will need to be cleaned more often.

Periodic cleaning will help your plant live and grow longer indoors and help remove pests.