While many plants have naturally glossy leaves, some don't, and when it comes to houseplants, polished leaves aren't always the best indicator of good health. Keeping your plants clean with a homemade plant cleaner is important, and can definitely help brighten up dull, dusty leaves. Keeping them shiny, however, is not a necessity, and using a commercial leaf shine spray or store-bought plant polish can often be harmful to the plant.
For plants to look their best, clean them regularly with a homemade plant cleaner, followed by a light polish with diluted milk. You'll find that each of your plants has its own natural luster, which is beautiful without adding gloss and shine from possibly harmful commercial products, oils, or other DIY plant leaf shine recipes you may find on the internet.
Video of the Day
Cleaning your plant's leaves with a homemade plant cleaner should be enough, but if you insist on glossy leaves, make a homemade leaf shine using diluted milk. Commercial leaf shine products are never recommended, as they often contain oils, waxes, and other ingredients that may damage the plant.
Recommended Methods to Clean and Shine Your Plant's Leaves
Like everything else in a home, houseplants can become dusty, which can make their leaves appear dull and dingy. Sometimes plants also accumulate a greasy buildup or lime deposits from being watered. All of these can reduce photosynthesis and affect the plant's ability to breathe and thrive, so cleaning the leaves of your plants on a regular basis should be a part of your plant care routine.
Gently washing your plants with a mild soap mixture is a great way to get rid of any dust and greasy residue that may have accumulated on the leaves. Adding a small amount of lemon juice or even diluted vinegar can help clean off any limescale and hard water buildup, brightening lackluster foliage.
If you desire to further polish the leaves, a mixture of diluted milk does the trick. Many plants love milk for various reasons, but milk's anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, as well as proteins that dissolve residue, are useful to clean and brighten leaves. When mixed in water, it does not have a scent or sour smell, and will not leave a sticky residue or attract bugs.
What to Avoid
When it comes to cleaning your plant, stick with a wet cloth or soap and water mixture, but never use baby wipes or sanitizing wipes, as these can contain harmful chemicals that could be absorbed by the plant. In addition, disposable wipes are not environmentally friendly.
Commercial leaf shine spray is not only expensive, but it can also harm your houseplants. Many leaf shine sprays, both store-bought and homemade, contain oils and waxes that coat the leaves, reducing photosynthesis and the plant's ability to absorb light and expel water.
You will find many natural leaf shine ideas on the internet, but many of these should be avoided, too. Mayonnaise is often cited, but it not only can clog a leaf's pores, but it also can attract dust and bugs. Oils, such as olive oil and coconut oil, are also mentioned. These can clog pores and attract dust much like mayonnaise, and may even cause the leaves to sunburn more easily. Using banana peels to polish your plants may not have similarly detrimental effects but can leave behind a sticky residue that may attract more dust in the long run.
How To Make Your Own Plant Leaf Cleaner and Polish
Things You'll Need
Step 1: Mix the Ingredients
Mix 1 teaspoon castile soap, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Shake to combine.
Step 2: Test a Small Area First
If you have not used this method on a plant in the past, test one leaf with the mixture first. If you haven't noticed any adverse affects after a day or two, continue to clean the entire plant as directed below.
Step 3: Spray the Plant
Spray the plant you are cleaning with the mixture, coating the leaves evenly. Spray the stems as well.
Step 4: Spray the Cloth
Dampen the cloth by spraying the mixture from the spray bottle onto the cloth.
Step 5: Wipe the Leaves
Wipe the front and back of each leaf until it is clean. Gently wipe the stems.
Step 6: Shine the Leaves if Desired
In a separate spray bottle, mix 1/2 cup milk and 3/4 cup water, shaking to combine. Spray the front and back of each leaf with this mixture, and finish by buffing each leaf dry with a clean, dry cloth.