Why you should bathe your leaves

Mon. Jan. 4, 2021

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Why you should bathe your leaves

Uh, you might want to give that plant a bath. I’m not saying that there’s an odor, but… no, seriously, that crusty layer of dust is pretty thick… Teri. Yes, speaking to myself!

Dracaena could use a shower but she was a bit too large!

Periodically cleaning the leaves of your houseplants is actually less work than letting it go until a year down the road the sun shines in at just the right angle and you think, oh man, the air-cleaning machine is not able to keep up!

If you live on a dirt road or there’s construction or a lot of wind in your area, you’ll need to clean them more often. When the dust is thicker than what you can blow off, it’s time!

The easiest method is to move the plant to the kitchen sink or shower and hose them off. But make sure the water is lukewarm.

oh my… my poor dracaena

If your plants are really grimy, you can spray them with a diluted soapy water mixture and then hose them off. Use about 1/4 tablespoon dish soap per one quart of water.

Small plants that can’t handle the force of a spray can be cleaned by holding the base of the plant at soil level, inverting it into a bucket of water, and swishing the leaves about. Watering the soil beforehand will help prevent the soil from falling out when the pot is inverted. You could also wrap plastic wrap around the base of the plant to contain the soil while cleaning.

placing plastic wrap over the soil will help to retain it…. it could be a mess!

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For plants too large to move, you can wipe the leaves off with a damp cloth. After the initial cleaning, you can help keep dust from building up on the leaves by using a soft duster on them whenever you dust your house. If you have fuzzy leafed plants like African violets, use a soft brush to very gently work the dust off.

using a toothbrush to clean Episcia cupreata aka flame violet