Should you clean your houseplants? Plant experts weigh in with their views

Cleaning plant leaves – worth it, or yet another plant myth? Here's what seasoned indoor plant experts have to say

Cleaning a monstera plant with a cloth
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Should you clean your houseplants? With so many conflicting house plant care tips online, it can be difficult tell the ones you really should be following from those that are simply the result of current fashions. 

We've previously written about houseplant care trends like regular misting and stroking their leaves, but what about cleaning? Do you really need to clean your best indoor plants? Here's what the experts say. 

Should you clean your house plants?

Woman wiping leaves of a house plant

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In a word, yes. It's a very good idea to get your houseplants a regular clean – about once a month should do it. Plant experts from Patch Plants recommend 'cleaning the leaves every month or so using a damp cloth. Plants with fuzzy leaves can be cleaned using a soft brush.' 

Our homes are often dusty places, and an excessive buildup of dust on your plant's leaves is bad news: 'Dust on your plant’s leaves prevents sunlight from reaching them, which will affect their growth. It can also block the pores on the leaves, which suffocates the plant.' Richard Cheshire, plant expert at Patch, adds: 'Clean leaves absorb more light. The more light your plant can absorb, the happier and healthier it will be.'

Moreover, regularly cleaning your houseplants encourages you to take better overall care of them. While cleaning, 'take the opportunity to examine your plant for any signs of stress or disease' and trim off any dead or yellowing leaves. 

What's the quickest way to give your houseplants a clean?

Misting plants

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While many people use the damp cloth method to keep their indoor garden looking in great shape, it's actually not the only way to clean your indoor plants. Popping your plants under a gentle, tepid shower is an excellent way to clean them – and is as close to authentic rainforest conditions as it gets. 

If your plants are too heavy to move them into the shower, you can clean them simply by misting them. Gardening expert and presenter James Wong has previously debunked the myth of occasional misting as the answer to dry indoor conditions, but in a different article, he actually praises misting because 'the act of misting can help dislodge dust and dirt to keep the plant leaves clean, boosting not just their appearance but their efficiency as living, breathing solar panels.'

Try it for yourself – especially large houseplants with big leaves will look much cleaner after a thorough mist, and you don't need to do it too often, unlike misting plants to increase humidity. It's also just a nice thing to do for your indoor plant ideas, James writes: 'Some people (like me) simply enjoy the action of misting itself, finding it greatly therapeutic as they potter around their collection, inspecting, admiring and caring for their plants.'

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.