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How to clean houseplant leaves

Are the leaves on your houseplant looking dusty and dirty? Cleaning your leaves will make them more attractive – and help the plant get more light! Here’s a tutorial for how to clean houseplant leaves!

Having a houseplant can be a bit like having a pet. You have to water them, feed them… and give them a bath?

It might not have occurred to you, but plants need cleaning, too!

Plant leaves – especially plants with large leaves like fiddle leaf figs – can be total dust magnets.

They need to be dusted or cleaned regularly to keep your home clean and to allow the plants to thrive!

How to clean houseplant leaves

Why should you clean plant leaves?

Plants have feelings too! Ok, maybe not. But, that doesn’t mean that they want to be dusty.

Plants complete photosynthesis using their leaves. The surface of the leaf absorbs sunlight and oxygen!

Dusty leaves are like clogged pores – they can’t absorb as easily so they will likely be less healthy compared to clean shiny leaves.

Typically, outdoor plants don’t need to be cleaned. This is because they have rain and wind keeping their leaves fresh.

As for indoor plants, they will need to be periodically wiped down to keep them doing their best.

How to clean houseplant leaves

Cleaning the leaves of a houseplant is very easy to do!

Materials needed:

  • Dirty old house plant
  • Soft cloth – I use microfiber towels
  • Room temperature water

Steps to clean houseplant leaves:

  1. Identify your dirty leaves
  2. Wet your cloth, but wring out any excess water
  3. Wipe the leaf gently. You might need several wipes to get all of the dirt and dust off
  4. Admire your handiwork!
How to clean houseplant leaves

How do I clean small plants with small leaves?

That process is all fine and good for my big palm or monstera leaves, but what about plants with tons of teeny tiny leaves? This is not such a quick fix if you have to wipe 200 1/4″ long leaves!

Small plants, for me, it’s easiest to just rinse them off. Put them in your kitchen sink, shower, or even under your hose. Use lukewarm water and give them a good old fashioned bath.

Be sure that your planter has good drainage so you don’t flood your soil!

How to clean houseplant leaves

What do you clean indoor plant leaves with?

I just use warm water to wipe my leaves. If your plant has pests, you can use soapy water. Just use a clean damp rag or paper towel to wipe off the soap afterwards.

Want to show your houseplants some love?!
–> How to clean plant leaves
–> How to propagate a plant (free eBook!)
–> When to repot a plant
–> Rotating houseplants
–> When to cut leaves off of plants

How often should I clean my houseplants?

This is up to you. Definitely try to do it at least twice a year – remember when you change your HVAC air filters to wipe of your leaves, too!

To be honest, I just wipe off the leaves as I notice that they are dirty. It’s not a perfect system – but it works for me!

How to clean houseplant leaves

How do I clean my pots?

When you are wiping down your plant is a good time to give your pots a cleaning, too. I just use a soapy sponge to clean any mineral build up, dirt, or mess off of my terracotta and ceramic pots.

Can you oil plant leaves?

I know some people wipe a little oil (like, olive oil or similar) on their leaves to make them shine.

If you google how to make your plants shine you will see suggestions to use mayonnaise or milk or even butter. Whaaaat? No.

I don’t do this. I try to keep my plants natural and there’s no olive oil rain in the fiddle leaf fig jungle.

How do you clean dust off plant leaves?

It’s easy to clean dusty plant leaves using a damp cloth. Wipe gently along the direction of the veining to avoid ripping the leaf!

Can you use baby wipes to clean plant leaves?

Baby wipes are another great and easy way to clean the leaves of your plants if you don’t have a microfiber towel on hand. They are plenty gentle enough for plants!

Trimming brown spots off a fiddle leaf fig house plant

Trimming leaves

When you are cleaning your plant, you might notice loose, dead, or yellowed leaves. This is a great time to trim off dead leaves and add them to your compost pile!

How to clean houseplant leaves
Yield: 1 clean plant

How to clean houseplant leaves

Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $0-10

Got dirty houseplants? Here's how easy it is to clean them!


  • Dirty houseplant
  • Water


  • Soft rag


  1. Visually identify dirty leaves. Specifically look for large leaves or those with texture.
  2. Get your cloth wet and wring out excess water
  3. Gently wipe down the surface of each leaf
  4. Re-wet the cloth as needed
  5. Repeat on each plant!

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

How to clean houseplant leaves

Any more questions about how to clean houseplant leaves?

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