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Dusting plants: how to easily and successfully clean the leaves of houseplants.

Just like any other fixtures and furniture in your home, houseplants need to be cleaned occasionally. But unlike cleaning the baseboards or vacuuming the carpet, this is not just about aesthetics and cleanliness. If you don’t dust your plants regularly, you can compromise their well-being.

How to dust the plants properly?

How often to clean the houseplants

Clean plants are a beautiful addition to your home and they clean the air beautifully. Like pretty much everything in your home, houseplants accumulate dust, dirt and other debris over time. And a layer of dust on the leaves can reduce the plant’s absorption of sunlight, impairing its ability to feed itself through photosynthesis. Never dusted a houseplant before or not sure which method to use on your plant? We have it all for you. Here’s why cleaning should not be neglected and why it has great benefits.

How often should a houseplant be cleaned?

For shiny leaves, dust the plants regularly with a damp cloth

The leaves of houseplants collect dust, especially if they are near a window or entrance. If you live in a dirty environment, your plants will be covered in dust on a regular basis.

There is no hard and fast rule for how often you should clean them. The best way to determine if they need dusting is to rub your fingers over the leaves. If you feel or see more dust than you can blow away, it’s time for a cleaning. In general, we recommend dusting your houseplants every one to two months.

Dust small and delicate plants

Dust the small plants with a feather duster

  • When you dust your home, you can also include your small houseplants. Just gently stroke the leaves with a feather duster, making sure it’s clean.
  • For a more thorough cleaning, place smaller or compact houseplants like pothos or pilea in a sink and rinse them with lukewarm water to rid them of pests and dust. Keep water pressure low and don’t use hot or cold water, as extreme temperatures can damage leaves. During warmer months, you can place your houseplants outdoors in a shady area and gently hose them down.
  • For more delicate, small houseplants like ferns, another option is to submerge the leaves in a bucket of lukewarm water. First support the plant and its soil with your fingers. Then turn the pot largely upside down until you can submerge the leaves under water and swirl them around a bit.

The most effective cleaning methods for medium and large plants.

Large plants can be dusted with a spray bottle


  • Spray nozzle: the easiest way to clean medium to large houseplants is to spray them in the kitchen sink, shower or outdoors with a spray nozzle. Keep the water pressure low and check that the water is lukewarm before spraying – water that is too hot or too cold can damage the plant’s leaves. Gently support the leaves or petioles with your hand when spraying.
  • Spray bottle: For plants that can’t handle the force of a spray nozzle, a spray bottle is a good solution.
  • Damp cloth: Large older plants that are not easily moved, such as the rubber plant or a mature dragon tree , or those with very large leaves can be gently rubbed with a soft, damp cloth. Support the leaf from underneath with your hand to prevent tearing.

Cacti and plants with hairy leaves.

Cacti can be easily cleaned with a brush

Not all plants can be placed in the shower or wiped down. Many cacti and succulents, such as some bonsais and pachypodiums, are sensitive to the over-watering that would occur if water flooded in a shower. With a simple sprayer, you can get the water where it’s needed without overdoing it.

If you have plants with hairy leaves (African violets, for example), it’s best to avoid getting them wet to avoid ugly water spots on the foliage. A duster won’t help much, though. Instead, try using a soft-bristled brush, a soft toothbrush, or a pipe cleaner. Gently brush from the base of the leaf to the tip to remove dust, lint and other debris.

This method also works well for cacti with few small spines. It is more time consuming and can be difficult, but you usually have to do it less often. Just brush or blow the dust away if possible.

Cut off the dead leaves

Remove the dead plant leaves regularly


As you clean your plants, you may notice dead leaves. Cutting off these leaves not only improves the appearance of your plant, but also ensures that more nutrients get to the surviving leaves. You can easily remove dead or dying leaves by hand if they are loose. However, you can also grab a pair of scissors and cut the leaves as close to the stem as possible.