why is cleaning the leaves of your plant so important?

Plants, especially indoor plants, can lose their lustre and beauty as the days go by. This does not mean that they are attacked by pests or that they are dying due to lack of care. they are simply dirty!

Dust particles dissolved in the environment form layers of dirt that stick to the walls, furniture, plants and all kinds of elements inside the house.

Therefore, just as you wipe down different surfaces with a damp cloth to remove dust, you should also wipe the leaves of your plants to restore their shine and colour.

How to clean plant leaves in 3 steps

Cleaning the leaves of your plants not only makes them look beautiful, but also has a much more important function: clean leaves allow them to photosynthesise better.

The accumulation of dust on the leaves prevents the plant from breathing properly, which in turn means that at night it cannot convert oxygen into the energy it needs to live.

But cleaning the leaves is also beneficial for humans, because through photosynthesis plants purify the air we breathe in the home, making it healthier.

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Step 1: Remove dry leaves

Before cleaning, it is necessary to remove the dry leaves. It is sufficient to do this once a week, although it is a good idea to remove dead leaves as soon as you see them.

In indoor species, being placed in small pots, the plant is more compressed and this causes the leaves to fall on the substrate without our noticing it.

The accumulation of dead leaves on this surface will reduce the effectiveness of watering, preventing good drainage. Finally, it will cause the plant to drown, as the soil, which is where it drinks from, will be obstructed.

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Step 2: Proper cleaning for each type of leaves

Each plant species has different types of leaves: some are thin and elongated, as in the case of ferns, while others are covered with spikes, as in cacti.

This means that certain types of leaves are really difficult to clean in the traditional way, i.e. by wiping them with a damp cloth to remove dust. so how do you keep them nice and shiny?

For normal cleaning , all you need is a damp cloth:

  • Large leaves: use a microfibre cloth soaked in water or a specific cleaning product.
  • Small leaves: when the leaves are very small and numerous, it is not possible to clean them one by one. The most effective method is to spray them with a spray bottle and then gently shake the trunk.
  • Velvety leaves: these leaves are very delicate. Use a very soft sponge or brush and rub them gently. Do not use raised cloths as they will not clean the leaves as well. You can also dampen, but a light sweep of the leaves with the brush is usually sufficient.
  • Plants with leaves and flowers: in this case, don't touch them! Flowering plants are extremely delicate. The only thing you should do when you see that they are dry is to remove the leaves and flowers so that they do not settle in the soil and end up choking the plant.
  • Cacti or plants with spikes: to remove dust from this type of plant, the wisest thing to do is to use a long-handled brush. This is usually enough and you won't even need water.

Step 3: Intensify their shine

To polish large leaves such as ficus or Adam's rib, you can use products that we all have at home, such as milk or beer.

  • Beer: to polish with beer, just wet a sponge, wring out the excess liquid and wipe the leaves with it. The properties of barley are beneficial for invigorating and brightening your plants.

  • Vinegar: Vinegar is one of the most effective household cleaners. it works every time! In addition to its cleaning power, it is a completely natural and environmentally friendly product that contains no toxic substances. To clean and enhance the shine of your plants, simply mix a little water with vinegar, soak a cloth in it and wipe the leaves gently, as explained above.
  • Milk: milk is another product suitable for cleaning and polishing the leaves of your plants. But in addition to its cleaning and polishing power, milk is an effective fungicide that will prevent the proliferation of fungus.

Other homemade tips to keep your plants clean and strong

Finally, if in addition to cleaning the leaves you want them to grow healthy and vigorous, we are going to give you a series of tricks based on natural products:

  • Coffee grounds: coffee grounds have many properties: they are effective for keeping pipes clean and preventing unpleasant odours. But you can also use them as a fertiliser, especially for orchids or hydrangeas, as they increase the pH level of the substrate, which is good for these species.
  • Eggshells: Eggshells are very rich in calcium, which will increase the vigour of your plants. Just crush one or two eggshells and place them around the stem.
  • Tea: Tea has anti-oxidant properties. To pass these properties on to your plant, simply make a tea infusion and add it to your watering water, or bury the tea bag directly in the substrate. You can also dampen a cloth and gently wipe the leaves to keep them free of dust. As well as bringing vigour and health, the tea also cleanses and acts as a fungicide.
Leaves are the "clothing" of plants. Clean, shiny leaves enhance their beauty, make the plant breathe better and purify the environment.
About the author
Yvonne Briones

There is something that plants and content creation have in common: natural geometry. I love creating visual content and managing Be.Green campaigns.

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