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How to clean houseplant leaves

The leaves of houseplants naturally collect dust and get dirty. Cleaning them makes them more attractive and helps them absorb more energy from the sun! Here’s how to clean houseplant leaves.

Leaves get dirty. It’s just a fact. Especially plants with giant, flat leaves – like my fiddle leaf fig. The leaves are always dusty!

And, you might not even realize how dusty the leaves are until you clean them and see a side by side.

Plants might also get water spots on them. I have noticed this a lot on the plants that I tend to spray with a spritz bottle – little white dried dots on the 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 absorb sunlight and oxygen through their leaves. Dusty leaves are like clogged pores – they can’t absorb as easily so they will likely be less healthy compared to clean shiny leaves.

Outdoor plants don’t need to be cleaned, usually. They have rain and wind keeping their leaves fresh.

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!
wiping fiddle leaf fig leaf with microfiber cloth

How do I clean small plants with small leaves?

That process is all fine and good for my big palm or mostera 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!

shiny clean fiddle leaf fig leaf

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.

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!

close up of cleaning fiddle leaf fig leaf

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 an 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!

However, baby wipes aren’t my first choice. Read my whole article on why they aren’t as good as a rag!

cutting brown spot off of fiddle leaf fig plant

Trimming leaves

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

How to clean houseplant leaves

Any more questions about how to clean houseplant leaves?

Thanks for reading!

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