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Dust Might Be Killing Your House Plants — But Here’s How You Can Save Them


Keeping your indoor plants alive involves much more than simply watering them when you remember. Sunlight requirements need to be met, the temperature needs to be just right, and the potting mix must be the right blend. Some plants can even be fussy about the pot or planter they live in and whether it has adequate drainage or room to grow. If this list wasn’t enough to put you off indoor plants for good, they also need to have their leaves cleaned regularly.

“Cleaned?” you ask. Yes, that’s right. Indoor plants, like the rest of the decorative ornaments, books, and furniture in our homes, also accumulate dust. “What’s wrong with a bit of dust?” you ask. A layer of dust on the leaves of your indoor plants will partially block sunlight and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. Photosynthesis is the process by which a plant feeds itself so it’s pretty important. The more we can do to make this process easier, the happier and healthier our plants will be.

Indoor House Plants Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

How often should you clean your indoor plants?

This will be determined by how quickly dust accumulates in your home. Depending on where you live, whether your house is closed-up or open, the type of surfaces you have in your home, and whether you have a lot of dust-collecting crevices or decorative pieces will all contribute to the amount of dust and how quickly it builds up. The easiest way to check whether your plants need dusting or wiping down is to simply run your finger over the leaves. If you can feel the dust or see where your finger has been, they need a clean.

Cleaning Indoor Plants Dining Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

How to Clean Your Indoor Plants

How you clean your indoor plants will vary for different species. Hardy plants with strong leaves, like rubber plants or fiddle-leaf figs, can be sprayed with the hose or shower and wiped over with a damp cloth. Smaller, more delicate plants, like maidenhair ferns and donkey tail, will need to be cleaned using a soft duster and a spritz with a spray bottle of water afterwards to wash away the residue.

Tip: Take your indoor plants outside once a month and give them a good spray with the hose. This will help to clean off any dust, give them a big drink, and a bit of fresh air — all essential for a healthy plant.

This article was written by Homes to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.

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