Cleaning house plants

In order to keep your indoor plants thriving, it is a good idea to give the leaves a bit of a clean every now and then. Dirty leaves make it harder for them to photosynthesise, which is an important process by which green plants and certain other organisms transform light energy into chemical energy. During photosynthesis in green plants, light energy is captured and used to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compound. (Source)

While there are several ways you can clean your indoor plants, in true KB style, I like to keep it super simple!

Just grab a wet cloth or sponge and wipe away. I give the cloth a good rinse between plants (in lukewarm water), and sometimes mid-way – you’d be amazed at how grotty those leaves actually get! Supporting the leaves from the underside, with your other hand, will help prevent them from snapping and cracking.

Here are a few other options that might come in handy, especially if you’re time-poor or have plants with small, spiky or fuzzy leaves:

Pop your plants in the shower or bath and give them a light rinse. Just make sure it’s not too forceful and that the water temp is lukewarm.

Dunk the plant in water. It helps to wet the soil first (this prevents it from all spilling out), then hold the plant between splayed fingers, or secure the base of the plant with a wet tea towel before flipping it over. Again, make sure the water is lukewarm, plants don’t like it too hot or cold.

Dust leaves with a feather duster, especially handy with plants like Maidenhair ferns. You can then give them a light mist with water (in a spray bottle) to rinse them off.

If you have plants with spikes or fuzzy leaves, try a soft paintbrush. I’ve also used a hairdryer on the cool setting (very important!), and from good distance so as not to traumatise them, to blow any dust off.

If your plants happen to look sad and you’re sure you’re watering, feeding and cleaning them adequately, try exposing them to more (indirect) sunlight. I like to give mine some time on our back patio until they perk up again!

Krissy Ballinger

author and passionate advocate for natural living

Krissy envisions a world where people make conscious choices that honour both humanity and the environment. Her mission is to gently guide individuals toward this beautiful way of life. With a background in education and health promotion, she dedicates her time to increasing awareness on common and avoidable toxins, as well as educating individuals on simple ways they can adjust their lifestyles to better serve themselves, and the planet. Natural DIY is Krissy’s speciality, and she has sold over 100,000 copies of her recipe books, including the award-winning “Naturally Inspired – Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning,” “Make & Play – Natural DIY Recipes for Kids,” and “The Lifestyle Edit.”

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