Knowing how to clean fake plants helps preserve the beauty of these decorative touches.
For those who don’t have a green thumb, plastic and silk plants or flowers can soften a room’s look and add a colorful touch. These days, artificial arrangements are so well-made that it’s often difficult to tell them apart from the real thing — unless they’re covered in layers of dust and grime.
It’s a Catch-22 if you’re an allergy sufferer. Many of us ditch live plants for artificial ones to reduce our indoor allergy symptoms. Then we learn the hard way that even artificial plants can trigger allergies, especially if they’re covered with dust.
Fortunately, it’s easy to clean these home accents.
How To Clean Fake Plants
If your artificial plant is relatively new and only lightly dusty, a quick once-over with an electrostatic duster will keep it looking brand new. For more stubborn grime, follow the methods below.
Individual Artificial Flowers
- Insert each piece flower-end first into a pillowcase.
- Add 1 cup of table salt or cornmeal.
- Holding the pillowcase closed around the stems, gently shake the flowers, so the salt/cornmeal knocks away remaining dust on the plants.
- Remove the stems one from the pillowcase one at a time, flicking them gently to dislodge any remaining salt.
Plastic or Polyester Plants
Cleaning these arrangements depends on whether they can be removed from the container or not. Use the appropriate method.
Cleaning artificial plants permanently fixed in a container:
- Fasten a garbage bag around the base of the stems to keep the pot dry.
- Rinse the foliage under a steady stream of cold water. (Hot water might cause the colors to run.)
- Gently shake them to remove moisture, then pat the leaves and stems dry with a towel.
- Leave the garbage bag in place until the arrangement is completely dry, so moisture doesn’t drip into the container and cause mold or mildew.
Cleaning artificial arrangments that can be removed from the container:
- Take the plant out of the container. Set aside any decorative moss or other “soil” covering.
- Swish the foliage in a sink filled with cold water and one teaspoon liquid dish detergent and rinse well. (A kitchen hose sprayer works wonderfully for this.)
- Shake the plant lightly to dislodge moisture, then place it on a clean, dry towel away from heat and sunlight so it can air-dry.
- Start by dusting the plants well.
- Next, fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of cold water and plain isopropyl rubbing alcohol (surgical spirits in the UK).
- Wrap a towel around the base of the plant to catch drips and very thoroughly spray the foliage. Grime will slide off, carrying along any dust with it, while the spray will restore the shine.
- Use a hairdryer on the cool setting to quickly dry the plant.
Additional Tips to Clean Artificial Plants
You can shine artificial plastic plants by wiping the leaves with a microfiber cloth lightly dampened with furniture polish.
Use an old toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove grime in tight spots.
Vacuum artificial arrangements safely by slipping a nylon sock over your machine’s hose attachment. The nylon allows the vacuum to clean away dust without pulling the decorations apart.