Plant Care: Should you clean your leaves?

Hey there. Here’s a friendly, short, simple reminder to clean your leaves to help them properly photosynthesize! Over time, plants can collect dust on their leaves. You might notice plants with thicker cuticles, such as rubber plants and ZZ plants, accumulate grime quicker than your other plant babies. Your plants won’t die if you forget to wipe them down, but dust can prevent them from drawing as much energy as possible from the sun. In turn, dust blockage prevents them from growing. 

How Do You Clean Your Leaves?

The good thing is, cleaning your leaves is easy. Fill a sprayer with water, mist your plant, and wipe the leaves down with a cloth. Alternatively, you can also run water from the faucet onto your leaves — just be sure not to soak your soil in the process. Your plants should look rejuvenated and hydrated in a jiffy! And they should stay rejuvenated, since more photosynthesis means they’re making more food from sunlight. Just don’t leave them in direct sunlight, or else you may get some crispy or burnt leaves!

Should You Use Leaf Shine on Your Plants?

Relevant side question: should you use leaf shine on your houseplants? I personally don’t use any leaf shine products, which yield a very glossy look that borders on artificial. Once upon a time at the beginning of my plant journey, I did happen to use coconut oil on my polka dot and purple waffle plants to create the same effect. It was a terrible idea, but hey, you live and you learn! In general, many experts in the plant community discourage the use of leaf shine. Leaves breathe through underside pores called stomata, and using leaf shine can clog these pores with oil and waxes. Using straight-up oil on your plants, especially if they lack thick cuticles, can invite death. Don’t be past me.

How Do You Get Rid of Houseplant Pests?

Pests are another story, though. When you get infested with mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, or scale, sometimes you have to bring out the big guns: neem oil, dish soap, and rubbing alcohol. With any of these products, you’ll want to create a solution with water to mitigate long-term damage to your plants.

That’s all! This has been a friendly reminder to clean your leaves. They’ll really appreciate it, and you’ll be rewarded with more growth over time.

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