Moving on, Erin Marino, director of brand marketing at The Sill, explains why dusting you is green key to be a good plant mother, how often to clean them up and how to spruce up without harming them. Grab your duster (or cloth) and take care of the plant fam.
Why should you clean your plants in the first place?
If you’re thinking, “What’s wrong with a little dust! I’m sure my fiddle leaf fig can handle it” – Marino begs for otherwise.
“Plants can clean the air around them in two ways: physically and chemically. Physically, they purify the air by having a static charge and acting like a substance that clings to it. That’s why you’ll find that some plants get so dusty – that is because they “actively remove the physical dust particles from the surrounding air,” she explains. So just to reiterate, your plants are already dusting for you. (How cute!) But you have to make sure you take care of them.
Why? Over time, these dust particles tend to build up, clogging the pores or your plants, which are called stomata. “These tiny pores are critical to many plant functions — they allow oxygen to pass through for the respiration process; they allow carbon dioxide to pass through for the photosynthesis process; and they allow water vapor to pass through for the transpiration process,” Marino says.
When these pores are clogged, these important gas exchanges cannot take place as efficiently and your houseplants cannot live their best lives. So you see, your fiddle leaf fig needs you – no matter how independent she seems.
How often should your plants be dusted?
It depends on how dusty your space gets, but in general, Marino recommends dusting your plant babies every one to two months. “It’s more of a best practice. You could go longer, but it’s good to check your plants’ foliage at least every few weeks for dust build-up, signs of plant pests, or anything else out of the ordinary,” she says. “You may find, like me, that it can be meditative to give your plants a little extra attention here and there and see the benefits.”
The Best Plant Dusting Methods
1. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth
Take a clean cloth, wet it and wring it out until just damp. Gently wipe the cloth over all the leaves of each plant. “If you want to put a little bit of diluted hand soap on your cloth, that’s fine too, remember to dilute it with water and stay away from harsh cleaning agents. I try to think of it as, if I take my skin with me, I shouldn’t use it to wash the leaves of my plants either. I always skip any leaf shine products, which can clog stomata, just like dust,” adds Marino.
2. Run a duster (carefully!) over the leaves
Dust the rest of your house? Go ahead and add your plants to the spruce – just make sure the duster is clean by the time you get to your ivy, fern and bamboo.
3. Brush your leaves and make them meditative
“If you enjoy the meditative process, you can deal with it in more detail: wet your cloth or sponge and wring out the excess water. With one hand, gently support each leaf from below and gently wipe it away from the stem with at the other side. Also go to the bottom,” says Marino. Make sure to use a small fine brush for smaller leaves.
4. Rinse the leaves of your plants on the day you water
We get it, we get it: You don’t always have time to take care of your plants for hours on end. Fortunately, Marino has a quick cleaning solution for those days. “Sometimes when I’m short on time – or don’t want to waste paper towels – and know the plant will dry out quickly because of a sunny day, I rinse their leaves under the sink while watering them. A quick rinse is always the trick to prevent dust build-up. wash away,” she says. When you’re done, shake your plants gently to rid their leaves of excess water that could cause fungal infections or brown spots.
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