There are many houseplant care tasks indoor gardeners need to consider to keep their plants healthy. Watering and fertilizing are the most obvious, with things like pruning and repotting only thought about annually. Then there are those tasks you find recommended across the internet that sound like more effort than they are worth, such as misting and cleaning the leaves. While the benefits of misting have largely been debunked, there is solid science to back up cleaning houseplant leaves regularly.

For starters, a layer of dust on the leaves impacts photosynthesis. This essential process is how plant’s take care of themselves and lower rates of photosynthesis than normal usually indicate a stressed plant. The dust limits sunlight absorption in the leaves, ultimately slowing growth over time. Thick layers of dust also impact the process of gas exchange in the leaves, resulting in further stress.

But houseplant growth is not the only issue. Dusty plants also don’t look good and tend to attract attention for all the wrong reasons. Rather than showing off their glossy green leaves, your houseplants will look gloomy and diminished. They can also attract more pests and diseases that then spread to the rest of the houseplants in your home.

Cleaning leaves doesn’t have to be a daily task either. If you notice some dust accumulating every few weeks, simply dust them off to keep the foliage clear. If layers of dust have collected and aren’t easy to remove, grab a damp cloth and wipe down the leaves one by one. Wipe them as gently as possible to avoid any leaf and stem damage in the process.

We may not want to add unnecessary care tasks to our to-do list. But, cleaning houseplant leaves is one essential task that certainly deserves its spot.


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