How I Keep Houseplants Healthy and Make Leaves Shine

Thanks to Swiffer for sponsoring this post on adulting and quick cleaning tips! All opinions are, as always, 100% my own.


Most of you guys know I’m a fan of Swiffer products, and that they’ve been a sponsor of this blog for a few years now. Over that time, I have found a number of uses for them that you might not immediately think of (and even shared this tip with a friend the other day and realized I hadn’t shared it with you guys yet!). So today, I’m sharing one of my “Adulting” quick tips for making my house look like a grown-up actually lives here.

the secret to healthier houseplants and making leaves shine - clean them regularly

Keeping my plants alive = an adultier adult

When I first moved into the UDH, I was given a houseplant as a housewarming gift. I was also gifted toilet paper, which wound up both funny and practical, and I still recommend the idea to this day. But as for the plant, I didn’t actually know it was alive for the first few months of owning it.

To my surprise, I managed to save it, but countless others weren’t so lucky. Like many new homeowners, I needed to hone my houseplant instincts. To be the type of person who can now share advice on plants, gardening, and the like, makes me realize how far I’ve come from that first plant. If I can manage it, just about anyone can find their inner green thumb with just a few good tips.

A lesser-known hack for healthy houseplants: regular dusting

Do your indoor plants collect dust like mine?

Ok, well probably not exactly like mine. Mine are subjected to quite a lot of indoor pollution because of all of my renovation activities (drywall dust, sawdust, dog hair and dander, etc…).

But, chances are, you may not have given much thought (prior to now) to the dust collecting on your indoor plants. To keep my green friends happy and performing their best, I give them a little help by periodically cleaning their leaves.

Why you should clean your indoor plants

Indoor plants have a lot of benefits. They make any room look more cheerful, they purify the air (some better than others), and in the case of a DIY blogger (coughcough), they make “after” photos look more polished, even when they’re not. According to at least one study, they may even help with productivity or attention span (so instead of the usual comment suggesting you take a break and grab a cup of coffee, perhaps you should get coffee and a plant )

A dusty or dirty plant is like a me on a diet: it’s cranky, it’s stressed, and it’s really not in the mood for your crap, Simon. Dust and dirt on the tops of leaves block sunlight and impede the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. It also makes plants (especially the waxy-leaf ones, like my fiddle leaf fig) look sad and dull.

The healthier a plant is, the better it can fight disease and infestations. As a former brown thumb myself, I know all too well the frustration of plants that seem to wither before my eyes. Not to mention, the stress on my wallet to replace them! Once I started wiping down my plants on a regular basis, though, I saw a noticeable improvement in their stability. Even when I forget to water them, they bounce back faster when I remember to clean them off as I start to care for them again.

(It doesn’t hurt that wiping them down also made me more attentive to watering them regularly, but I digress…)

I refuse to make it a separate cleaning task

If you read the first paragraph of this post, then you’ve already figured this part out: I use Swiffer to keep my plants clean! It’s honestly not a separate task during the cleaning process for me, nor do I fanatically use the same Swiffer product each time. I simply use either the dry cloth or the duster (whichever activity I happen to be doing at the time, dusting or wiping stuff off the floor) to do a quick swipe across my plants. If it’s the sweeper cloths, I will usually start by wiping the plants down with a clean cloth and then attaching it to the Sweeper before sweeping the floor. It’s easy and simple, and it keeps me consistent enough to avoid dust buildup.

Using the dusting habit often enough, I don’t really have to do much more than that. If I ever neglect my plants for a longer period and the dust accumulates more, there’s a plant product specifically for helping to restore waxy shine on leaves. I’ve bought it before, but it mostly sat under the kitchen sink, unused. I’ve even heard that people use mayonnaise to do the same cleaning/shine treatment (haven’t needed to try it yet, though). It should also be noted that the duster option is also ideal for the fuzzy-leaf plants, like violets, that shouldn’t be watered directly on its leaves.

I use Swiffer duster on smaller plants too - it sweeps down each leaf quickly and has less maintenance
(not a violet — just a small windowsill plant)

So, that’s it! Just a quick tip and a good reminder for spring, since lots of people turn their attention to new growth around this time of year. Tell me: have you ever dusted your plants before? Do you have any small tricks you use for your houseplants?

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