Plant care

How to Clean Houseplant Leaves

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. July 21, 2021
How to Clean Houseplant Leaves

While the basic care of plants requires us give them enough light, water appropriately and even fertilize them from time to time, cleaning their leaves is not something all home gardeners think to do. This is because it isn't always a necessary part of their care. But indoor plant leaves can get dirty, something which can make us wonder whether we should clean them. Since plants use the sun's light for photosynthesis, a serious layer of dirt will prevent this from happening. A thin film of dust likely won't be a problem, but we should clean them for aesthetic reasons anyway.

Since the elements usually due a sufficient job of keeping outdoor plant leaves clean, this is only something we usually need to do with indoor plants. At oneHOWTO, we show you how to clean houseplant leaves to shine them naturally.

You may also be interested in: My Plant Leaves Are Turning Black
  1. Clean houseplant leaves with water
  2. Clean plant leaves with beer
  3. Clean plant leaves with vinegar
  4. Clean plants leaves with milk
  5. Naturally restore leaf color
  6. Should I use commercial plant shine?

Clean houseplant leaves with water

To know how to clean the leaves of plants, the first thing you should know is that different sized leaves require different types of care. To clean houseplant leaves with water:

  • Large-leaved plants: to care for large-leaved plants, clean their leaves one by one using a water-soaked microfiber cloth. Do not rub the leaves too hard or you could damage them.
  • Small-leaved plants: when the leaf is very small, it is not necessary to clean them one by one. The best system is to spray a little water on top with a vaporizer and shake them gently.
  • Velvety-leaf plants: use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub them. This is because normal cloths may not be sufficient to clean them. You can wet the brush with a little water to help.
  • Flowering plants: the flowers are very delicate and you do not have to do anything other than remove them when they are dry, so that they do not fall on the ground.
  • Thorny plants: in these cases it is best to pass a brush over the thorns, without the use of water.

If you are wanting to clean the leaves of houseplants, remember there are different factors to consider. For example, some may not need very much light, something we cover in our article on indoor plants for low light.

Clean plant leaves with beer

Although water is sufficient, you can give the leaves more shine by using a number of homemade products. One common trick is to use beer.

How to clean houseplant leaves with beer

Dip a sponge in beer, drain well and wipe it over the leaves. Some people say that barley is beneficial to plants and gives them vigor. We do not know if it is true, but what we can assure you is that the beer will give the plant leaves natural shine. Don't use too much or it might attract insects to the plant.

Clean plant leaves with vinegar

Vinegar is also great for cleaning plant leaves. It is an economical, ecological product and is used to restore the shine to practically everything, including the leaves of your indoor plants. To use it, put a mixture of water with a little vinegar in a vaporizer and you now have a spray to shine the leaves of the plants. To use it, proceed according to the type of leaf as shown above.

Vinegar is used as a cleaner for just about everything. Find out how to use it in this related article on the household uses for vinegar.

Clean plants leaves with milk

Another option to clean your plants is with milk diluted in water. The ideal ratio is one part milk to ten parts water. Dip a cloth in this solution and gently rub the leaves of the plant according to the guide above. In addition to giving them shine, whole milk is an excellent fungicide, so you can prevent the appearance of fungus on your plants. In doing so, it can help to prevent the top of your soil turning white.

Naturally restore leaf color

Cleaning the leaves of houseplants is only one way to make them shine again. Ensuring the health of the plant is just as important. To do so, you will need to give them a boost of invigoration. You can do this naturally with some home remedies to make your plants shine. You do so by adding them directly to the soil of each indoor plant.

Coffee grounds

Used coffee grounds serve as a great fertilizer for some plants, especially hydrangeas, azaleas and orchids, since it increases the level of acidity of the soil. Mix the coffee grounds with the earth to achieve this effect. Although be careful. If you see that the leaves begin to dry out at the tips or turn yellow, it is possible you made the soil too acidic. Do not use it on plants which require more alkaline soil.


Eggshell increases calcium levels in plants and gives them strength. Break up a couple of eggshells and place them on the ground around your plant. You do not need to mix them into the soil.

Cold tea infusion

Make a tea infusion as if you were making a cup for yourself and add it to the irrigation water. The antioxidant properties of the tea will pass into the soil and will serve as a reinforcement to your plant's strength. In addition, the tea prevents the presence of fungi. Another way to use it is by directly mixing the contents of the teabag with the soil of your plants.

How to Clean Houseplant Leaves - Naturally restore leaf color

Should I use commercial plant shine?

You can use a commercial brand of plant shine on your plants. However, you need to be careful. Some of these leaf shine for plants use chemicals which are bad for your plant. We should only purchase a quality product which is positively peer-reviewed. Do some research if you do want to buy commercial plant shine.

In general, we recommend using the tips to clean houseplant leaves we have shared with you above. These are natural leaf shine products which do not have harmful chemicals. They are also much cheaper and more readily available.

If you are looking for more ideas to decorate your home with plants, take a look at our list of the best aromatic houseplants for your home.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Clean Houseplant Leaves, we recommend you visit our Gardening & plants category.

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