Monstera deliciosa is popular for many reasons, but one of the primary attractions is its shiny, dark green leaves. However, just like other surfaces in your home, Monstera leaves can start to get dusty and dull over time. Cleaning your Monstera’s leaves periodically will keep your plant looking great and contribute to its overall health.
How do you keep your Monstera leaves shiny? Clean Monstera deliciosa leaves are naturally shiny, so you just need to clean them regularly. A smaller plant can be cleaned by submerging the leaves in water or giving it a shower, while a larger plant that’s difficult to move can be cleaned by wiping the leaves with a wet towel.
Monstera deliciosa leaves are especially prone to getting dirty because they’re large and mostly horizontal, meaning floating particles in the air will land on them. There is no set schedule for how often a Monstera’s leaves should be cleaned, but you should do it anytime dust is visible.
Should You Clean Your Monstera Deliciosa Leaves?
You should definitely clean your Monstera deliciosa, either as part of your normal plant maintenance or from time to time when the leaves look dull or dirty. They may need cleaning more or less frequently, depending on the season, where you live, and how much dust is in your home.
Monsteras use their huge leaves to capture and process sunlight into energy, but a layer of dust acts like a curtain blocking out the sun. Aside from looking worse, a dirty Monstera leaf also isn’t functioning as well as a clean one does.
How to Clean Monstera Deliciosa Leaves
The best way to clean your Monstera deliciosa will depend mainly on how big it is. My Monstera is so heavy that I prefer not to move it unless I absolutely have to. If you have one that’s more portable, you might prefer to clean it in the shower to get the job done more quickly.
Regardless of which method you use, plain water should be enough to clean your Monstera’s leaves in most cases. However, if you find they’re still dirty, you can try mixing a few drops of pure dish detergent into the water. This is useful if your Monstera is exposed to grime other than typical household dust, like cooking oil from being kept in a kitchen.
The best time of day to clean your plants’ leaves is in the morning, so they have a chance to dry thoroughly before it gets cooler at night. This helps avoid any fungal infections that might set in from water remaining on the leaves or stems.
As I said before, the size of your plant will determine the method which you should use to clean it, so read all three of the options listed below before getting started. Once you’ve determined your best method, give it a go and get those dull leaves back to their former shiney glory.
Method 1: Dunk Your Small Monstera Deliciosa
Only the smallest Monsteras will be suitable for this method since the plant needs to be light enough to turn over and small enough to fit in a bucket or similar container. This method’s advantage is that it’s quick and cleans all the leaves at once, both top and bottom. It also doesn’t add much extra moisture to the potting soil, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally overwatering.
Obviously, since you’re going to be turning your plant over, you need some way to keep the potting soil from falling out. You might be able to simply use your hand, but a towel or plastic wrap can also be used to keep it in place.
Dunk the leaves into the container of tepid water and swish them very gently to remove dust. Monstera leaves are not especially delicate, but it can be difficult to see what is happening while you dunk them, so be sure you don’t damage any leaves.
Method 2: Give Your Monstera Deliciosa a Shower
This method works great for a medium-sized Monstera deliciosa that can be moved easily. You can just put your Monstera into a lukewarm shower for several minutes to wash the leaves. I like to do this at the same time with several other plants to be efficient.
If your shower takes a few minutes to warm up, make sure you adjust the temperature before putting the plants in to avoid shocking them with cold water. Use a lower pressure setting to avoid accidentally damaging any smaller, more delicate leaves. You can also point the showerhead toward the shower wall instead of directly onto your plants to give them a more indirect shower.
Be sure you don’t try this method with a Monstera planted in a container without drainage holes. I never recommend any plant be in a container without drainage, but if you do have them, use the wiping method below instead. Putting your plants in the shower will run a lot of water through the pot in a short amount of time, and it will create problems (wilting and possibly root rot) if that water isn’t able to drain out.
Since you’re adding a lot of extra water to your pot in the shower, be sure to adjust your watering schedule accordingly after you use this method. Avoid overwatering by letting the top couple of inches of potting mix dry out completely before watering again.
Method 3: Wipe Down Monstera Leaves
Wiping down your Monstera deliciosa’s leaves one-by-one is more time-consuming than the other methods, but it’s the best option for big plants that can’t be moved around easily and for making sure that every inch of the leaf gets cleaned. This method lets you get up-close and personal with your plant, so you can inspect it for any problems such as pests while you are cleaning.
I like to use a small bucket of lukewarm water and a microfiber cloth to clean my Monsteras and other plants’ leaves. Starting from the top of the plant, support the leaf with the palm of your hand and gently wipe the surface from the center out with the damp (not dripping wet) cloth. Although the back of the leaf probably hasn’t collected much dust, I like to clean both sides.
If you prefer, a spray bottle can also be used to wipe down your Monstera leaves. Just spray a leaf, then wipe it off with a damp or dry cloth as described above. Be sure to rinse your cloth between leaves to avoid transferring dirt from one leaf to another.
A Quick Note on Water Temperature
Regardless of which method you use to clean your Monstera’s leaves, you should use room temperature or slightly warmer water. Tropical plants like Monstera deliciosa are not accustomed to extremes in water temperature, so you want to keep it mild to avoid shocking your plant and potentially damaging it.
Should You Use Leaf Shine Products? What About DIY Methods?
You may have seen commercial leaf shine products for sale at the garden center or seen online tips about putting all sorts of things on your plant’s leaves to make them shiny (banana peels, mayonnaise, olive oil, etc.). While most of these probably will make your Monstera’s leaves shiny in the short-term, they will cause problems very quickly.
First off, Monstera leaves are already shiny if they are clean, and putting any substance on a dusty leaf is not going to help that situation. Anything oily that you apply to the leaves will block up the tiny pores called stomata that plants use to breathe. These substances also end up attracting more dust and become sticky over time.
If you find yourself considering putting milk or mineral oil on one of your plants, take a moment to remember what would and wouldn’t be available in its natural environment. Monstera deliciosa are cleaned by frequent rainfall in the wild, so the best course for your indoor Monstera is to clean it with water.
Keep your Monstera deliciosa looking and functioning at its best by occasionally cleaning the leaves with water (and possibly a tiny bit of dish detergent). The best method to clean the leaves will depend on your plant’s size and how easy it is to move around.
No matter how you choose to clean your Monstera deliciosa’s leaves, you can use this time as a chance to assess your plant’s overall health; plus, you’ll be rewarded with a shiny, healthy-looking plant!