In a world full of glitter and dazzling things, it’s no wonder gardeners are always looking for different ways to make the leaves of their plants shiny!
Plants definitely look prettier with clean and glossy leaves, especially if we cultivate species with massive leaves, such as rubber plants, Monsteras, or Philodendrons.
Is there really a need to clean the leaves of our houseplants? Definitely! But not everything can be used for this purpose.
In this article, I’ll show you some different ways for how to make plant leaves shiny, as well as the best recipes for homemade leaf shine sprays and cleaners.
Let’s get started!
Homemade vs Store-bought Leaf Shine
It seems that the discussion about using organic homemade vs store-bought products on plants will never end. Sometimes it’s better to use store-bought products, for instance, if your plant has really low concentrations of certain nutrients.
What about leaf shine manufactured products? Sounds tempting… You just buy a leaf shine spray and the leaves will be glossier than ever!
But the truth is a little bit different. First, some products made for this purpose may contain harmful ingredients for leaves, such as wax or oil. Plant leaves need to breathe, particularly the stomata, and if you clog them, you are actually putting your plant at a risk.
The second thing is the price. When compared to homemade solutions, store-bought products are 10 times more expensive, so is there really a need to buy them? I don’t think so.
How To Make Plant Leaves Shiny
Don’t listen to just anyone when it comes to leaf shine products, both store-bought and homemade. I mean, someone can just whisk eggs and rub their plant leaves with them, but will it work? Yes…for the first three times, i.e., until the leaves rot and die!
Plant leaves are delicate regardless of the species. You can’t use everything for your skin, and this also applies to plant foliage.
So, how to make plant leaves shiny? The answer is simple – just use homemade solutions.
Here are some of the best homemade solutions for cleaning and making plant leaves shiny.
Why capital letters? Well, the winner for homemade leaf shine spray is… water. Yes, you read that right. There’s nothing better than clean and fresh water for cleaning plant leaves.
They’ll also be glossy because water removes dust and other debris that collects on the leaves.
You have two options when it comes to using water for plant leaves. The first one is to shower your houseplant(s). This method is especially effective for smaller plants with plenty of leaves, such as pothos, Lemon-lime philodendrons, or some Syngonium species.
You can use this technique for indoor plants grown in containers with drainage holes. You don’t want excess water to accumulate in the plant soil, so just let the plant drain well after showering and shake it a little bit to remove excess water from the leaves.
Another way is to spray water on the plant leaves; spray and spread water equally, or dip a soft sponge in some water and rub the leaves.
This method works well for larger plants you can really move and shower, such as an adult Monstera deliciosa. It’s also a perfect technique for plants with massive foliage, such as rubber plants (Ficus lyrata).
Water + Soap
If you use water only, the leaves will definitely be clean, but if they don’t seem shiny enough, you can add a little bit of dish soap.
Add a few drops of dish soap to water, dip a soft sponge in it, and then carefully rub the foliage.
The advantage of using a water and soap solution is that you can remove pests, especially from the undersides of the leaves.
On the other hand, the disadvantage of this solution is that some dish soaps contain chemicals, so you need to go with all-natural products.
It would help if you rinsed your plant in clean and fresh water to remove any potential chemicals from the leaf surface.
Water + Vinegar
Vinegar and delicate leaves? It might sound like a recipe for disaster, but if diluted in water, vinegar actually makes an excellent cleaning and leaf shine product. Additionally, pests are deterred by vinegar, so it’s a win-win situation.
We must dilute it because it contains pretty strong acids that could potentially harm the foliage.
Carefully rub the foliage with a cloth dipped in the vinegar solution. It’ll be shiny and clean for a long time!
Water + Lemon Juice
Lemon again! This delicious fruit makes for an excellent soil acidity booster, but can also help you clean the foliage of your houseplants and make the leaves shiny.
Even though lemon doesn’t repel pests, it’s an excellent way to eliminate mineral buildup caused by chemicals found in tap water.
I add a tbsp of lemon juice to 16 Oz of water, dip a soft cloth in the solution, and rub the plant leaves. This method is perfect for cleaning Monstera leaves!
Neem Oil Solutions
It’s a common fact that neem oil is beneficial for plants. This especially relates to pest removal in almost all plant species.
Interestingly, neem oil can also be used for cleaning plant leaves. It’ll even make them shiny and repel some common houseplant pests, such as mealybugs and spider mites.
Add a few drops of neem oil and 1 tbsp of Castile soap to a gallon of water, and the rub plant leaves.
Since this is oil, I don’t recommend using it too often. Neem oil can actually burn plant foliage, so you should be cautious with this one.
Why the question mark? I am always skeptical about dairy products; they are beneficial because of their calcium content, but you need to be careful if using milk for cleaning plant leaves.
Skimmed milk mixed with water is way better than regular milk because fats from regular milk can remain on the plant leaves and close the stomata.
If using this method for making plant leaves shiny, monitor the leaves regularly and it may turn out well!
What NOT To Use For Cleaning And Polishing Plant Leaves?
None of the solutions above will harm your plant, especially if applied gently. Honestly, I don’t know why some people experiment with different food and products for their plants.
Plants are living creatures and are very sensitive, so why put them in danger?
Here are the WORST products and solutions for cleaning plant leaves.
It seems like baby wipes are used for literally everything nowadays, and most people think if babies can handle them, why would plants have a bad reaction?
First, plants aren’t human babies, and second, a great number of baby wipes contain chemicals.
I don’t recommend using leaf shine products due to the chemicals present, and the same goes for baby wipes.
This one is a winner. Why on earth would anyone use mayonnaise for cleaning plant leaves?
It may make plant foliage shinier than ever, but it will probably kill it soon too!
Nutritionists are against mayonnaise in diets, and plant experts are against using this product on leaves.
It will close the stomata quickly and your plant leaves will suffocate.
There has been a lot of discussion about using oils for making plant leaves shiny. We’ve seen that neem oil is beneficial if it’s not used too frequently.
What about other types of oil? Let’s first discuss the usage of olive oil for cleaning plant leaves.
It does have benefits, such as vitamins A and K, which are important for leaf and plant health, and it can repel annoying pests, such as aphids.
At the same time, it will close stomata, prevent food uptake, collect more dust, and may cause burns on the leaves.
Since there are so many drawbacks, I advise you not to use olive oil as a cleaner or leaf polisher.
One thing is for certain, shiny and clean leaves add more beauty to already breathtaking plants. Many growers try different products, and often decide on store-bought ones.
There’s really no need for store-bought leaf shine and clean products, as water is ususally enough. There are some ingredients that you can mix with water to get even better results, such as dish soap or vinegar.
Since you’ve seen so many ways for how to make plant leaves shiny, why don’t you go to your kitchen, mix a leaf shine spray, and make your plants clear and shinier than ever?
Until next time!