How to clean monstera leaves gently (and how often)

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How to clean monstera leaves gently (and how often)

Key takeaways:

  • Clean your Monstera regularly as a post of your regular plant care routine.
  • Dust and grime buildup can interrupt two very important plant processes, photosynthesis and transpiration.
  • Clean Monstera leaves more often if there is more dust where you live.

I have had the absolute pleasure of growing a beautiful Monstera deliciosa this year, which slowly grew beautiful broad leaves on which to collect dust and grime buildup.

The Monstera’s leaves are something I marvel at on the daily, as I’m sipping my first coffee of the day.

So when the time comes to clean my monster plant, I am ready for the honor. I’ve learned how to clean Monstera leaves through a year-long journey of getting to know my plant.

I’m including all of my tips for a clean Monstera, after a year of carefully cleaning Monstera plant leaves.

jump ahead

    Why should you clean Monstera leaves?

    The main reason for cleaning Monstera leaves is to remove dust buildup and debris that collects on the leaf surface. The dark green leaves photosynthesize the sunlight each day, which is one way that it gathers energy to grow more beautiful, lush leaves. When the Monstera’s leaves become dusty, they are unable to photosynthesize the sunlight as efficiently. When they cannot photosynthesize, they do not have enough energy to grow new healthy leaves.

    Dust buildup can also clog the tiny pores that allow indoor plants to transpire, AKA regulate moisture levels. Dust and grime buildup can inadvertently lead to root rot as a result.

    How to clean Monstera leaves

    Most plants can use a good rinse every few months and a regular dusting. For most indoor plants, there is just one method that I use and that is gently wiping down dirty leaves with warm filtered water. For shiny leaves, I mix a few drops of all natural dishwashing liquid, like Dr. Bronner’s, and a drop of neem oil.

    Here is what I’d recommend depending on the size of your Monstera plant:

    • Small Monstera plants. The best way to clean a small Monstera plant’s leaves is to gently wipe them using a soft, dry cloth or microfiber glove. You can also use a diluted mixture of warm, soapy water and a few drops of gentle dish soap and use the soft cloth to gently wipe the leaves. Afterward, you should rinse the plant with lukewarm water and wipe it down with a clean cloth to remove any excess soap.
    • Medium Monstera plants. Similar to a small Monstera plant, you can use a soft cloth to gently wipe the leaves to remove any dust and debris. For a medium-sized Monstera plant, you can also use a damp cloth to wipe down the leaves. You can apply a small amount of diluted, mild dishwashing liquid to the cloth and use it to lightly scrub each leaf before rinsing it with lukewarm water and wiping it down with a clean cloth.
    • Large Monstera plants. For a Monstera plant with large foliage, you can use a damp cloth with a diluted, gentle dish soap solution, along with a soft cloth to gently wipe the leaves. You can rinse the plant with lukewarm water in the shower or with a hose. For maximum effectiveness, you may want to clean each leaf individually to make sure all debris is removed.

    How often should you wipe Monstera leaves?

    Typically, it is recommended to clean Monstera leaves every two to four weeks. Cleaning the leaves more frequently will help keep your plant clean for optimal photosynthesis. When plant leaves are dirty, the plant is unable to photosynthesize and will slow its growth.

    the buildup on my monstera leaves from one week
    All of the dirty grime on the Monstera leaves, after one week from previous dust

    How to make Monstera leaves shiny

    To keep your Monstera’s leaves shiny, remove dust accumulation regularly. To make your Monstera plant’s leaves shiny, you can use a mixture of water, mild dish soap, and a few drops of olive oil or coconut oil. I like to use a simple mixture of vinegar and water, then wipe down with a microfiber cloth.

    spray monstera leaf with leaf cleaning mixture

    First, spray water on the Monstera leaves and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then spray with the solution and gently rub the leaves with a soft cloth, making sure to avoid any vigorous scrubbing that could damage the leaves. 

    wipe monstera leaf with microfiber cloth

    Afterward, rinse with tepid water and wipe away any excess water with a clean cloth. This process should leave your Monstera plant’s leaves looking shiny and healthy!

    Best ways to clean Monstera leaves

    Ditch the leaf shine products and get shiny leaves with this cleaning regimen. Here are the best ways to clean Monstera leaves.

    Give your Monstera a shower

    How often: Every 3-4 months

    The steps to give a Monstera plant a shower are quite simple.

    1. Place your monstera plant in the shower.
    2. Turn on the water, making sure that the temperature is tepid.
    3. Using a hand-held sprayer, spray the leaves lightly but do not saturate them.
    4. Once the leaves are damp, use a soft cloth to gently scrub the leaves.
    5. Rinse the leaves off with a gentle stream of water and wipe them with a clean cloth to remove any remaining soap residue.
    6. Allow the leaves to air-dry before putting the plant back in its home.

    I don’t recommend doing this if your shower is connected to tap water. If that’s the case, then I highly recommend installing a water filter on your shower head before doing this. The chemicals in the water can affect the pH and nutrient availability in your plants. A filter will help remove harmful chemicals.

    Give your leaves a wipe down

    How often: Monthly

    The steps to wipe down a Monstera plant’s leaves are relatively straightforward.

    1. First, you will want to mix a small amount of diluted, gentle dish soap with lukewarm water in a bucket or container. I like to put the mixture into a spray bottle, but you can simply dunk the cloth in the bucket if you prefer.
    2. Then, take a damp cloth and lightly scrub the leaves, making sure to avoid any “over-scrubbing”. You can also use a cotton swab dampened with the soap solution to target specific areas of the leaves.
    3. When finished, make sure to rinse the plant with tepid water and let excess water drain from the bottom of the plant.

    Gently wipe the foliage

    How often: Weekly

    1. First, make sure to use a soft, natural duster such as a feather, microfiber, or handmade duster.
    2. Then, gently use the duster to microfiber gloves away any dust or debris that is settled on the leaves.
    3. Take care not to press too hard or you may damage the leaves.
    Evridwear Microfiber Dusting Gloves

    Mist with a spray bottle

    How often: Daily

    1. First, fill up a spray bottle with filtered water.
    2. Then, make sure the nozzle of the spray bottle is in the “mist” setting and gently spray all of the leaves on the plant.
    3. Make sure to evenly mist the entire plant, including the top and bottom of the leaves.

    Trim dying leaves

    How often: Once leaves are mostly dead

    As the Monstera leaves die off, trim them with sterilized gardening shears. I like to wait until the tissue is mostly brown and dried. This way, the mother plant has had time to reabsorb nutrients from the dying flesh before I remove it.

    What do you clean your Monstera’s leaves with?

    What you need to clean your Monstera depends on how much dust buildup there. Here are the general ingredients that I use:

    • Use dish soap. Dish soap is a great ingredient for cleaning Monstera leaves because it is mild, non-toxic, and effective at removing dust and debris from the leaves. Dish soap can help break down oils, sap, and other substances that can accumulate on Monstera leaves. By using a diluted mixture of warm, soapy water and a few drops of gentle dish soap, you can safely and effectively clean your Monstera leaves.
    • Use vinegar. Vinegar is a great ingredient for cleaning Monstera leaves because it is an effective natural cleaning agent. Additionally, vinegar can help to repel insects and pests, as well as help to prevent the accumulation of fungus and mold on the leaves. However, it is important to dilute the vinegar with water before cleaning your Monstera leaves, as undiluted vinegar can be damaging.
    • Lemon juice. Lemon juice is a great ingredient for cleaning Monstera leaves because it is a natural antiseptic and is effective at removing dust, debris, and oils from the leaves. Lemon juice can help to repel pests and act as an effective fungicide. However, it is important to dilute the lemon juice with water before cleaning your Monstera leaves, as undiluted lemon juice can be damaging.
    • Oils. Olive oil or coconut oil work well as an all natural leaf polish. After you clean your Monstera, wipe the broad leaves with a damp cloth with a drop of olive or coconut oil.

    Avoid harsh chemicals and ingredients on delicate leaves, like new leaves or weak leaves.

    These are just some of the tips I’ve gathered in the past year of caring for my own Monstera plant. It is so easy to take pride in a plant when it receives the love and care it needs to grow and thrive. I hope these tips bring your Monstera joy as it has mine.

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