How To Clean And Care For Artificial Plants

artificial plants in a shelves

Taking care of live plants at home is wonderful, though it requires plenty of work. Whether or not we want to admit it… real indoor plants can be a pain to maintain. Not to mention all the research that goes into selecting the right type for your lighting limitations and climate restrictions. As a result, many people choose artificial plants for the visual benefits while side-stepping the upkeep. 

However, fake plants have their own set of maintenance requirements– many of which revolve around dust and dirt. The synthetic materials used in artificial plants often act as a magnet for airborne particles, causing dust (and more) to accumulate on and stain your faux foliage. 

We recommend giving some attention to your artificial plants at least once a week to keep them looking pretty. Even a quick but regular cleaning can help keep your artificial plants and flowers fresh.

Polyester & Nylon

Before cleaning your artificial plant, make sure you know what it’s made out of. Your plant’s material will determine how to care for it. Most plants are made of polyester or nylon, although others are made of silk. If you’re not sure, clean with a dry towel or duster only.

Silk Flowers

Silk flowers are more expensive than other materials since they’re natural instead of synthetic. Silk plants also don’t feel as rough or plastic-like as the artificial alternatives. Most colored silk plants can’t get wet since the dye can run when exposed to moisture. 

Styling fake plant photo by HGTV

How To Style Fake Plants

Styling fake plants can be a fun way to add a living touch to an otherwise lifeless decoration. Personal style impacts how to arrange a fake plant or flower. Style has no hard and fast rules. To avoid cutting and fluffing them every season, bend your plants into a nice form and ‘leave’ them as is. There are plenty of ways to style silk and synthetic plants without damaging them.

Bending

Wire stems on fake plants can be shaped to your liking. Realistic synthetic flower arrangements or life-like greenery shouldn’t be perfect. There must be some randomness. By bending, you can reshape your silk flowers as often as you like.

Clipping

The most permanent way to style artificial flowers and foliage is by clipping them. However, you can’t unclip them, of course! So you’ll want to make sure you love your arrangement. Making stems of various heights adds some realism to the plant’s arrangement.

Fluffing

The petals and leaves on fake plants can be fluffed up to create a blooming effect. Although it’s not required, the extra detail will aid in fooling your guests. Pulling back the leaves and twisting the wires every now and then keeps the look fresh and may create a new style.

How to Care for Fake Plants

Caring for fake plants is a straightforward task, but there are a few guidelines to follow.

If exposed to direct sunlight, UV fading can be an issue, though some high-quality imitation plants include UV protection. Examine your plant to check if it already has a UV-resistant layer. There are transparent UV protectant sprays available to prevent fading if desired. 

Rust can be a concern from exposure to moisture, though a small amount won’t hurt. A moist cloth is fine, but never submerge your artificial plants in water. It’s unnecessary and using too hot water can damage the outer covering.

If you like the look of stems in water, dip the end of an exposed wire stem in hot glue before arranging silk flowers in a vase with water. Doing so will seal the exposed wire and keep it from rusting.

How Do I Shine My Artificial Plants?

Adding a little shine to your fake plants can make them look more alive and less artificial. Many silk-specific cleaners are made to increase the sheen, too. Using a spray bottle to add a gentle mist over the leaves will keep them looking fresh and dewy. If you prefer something DIY, try hairspray to naturally lift and polish tough particles. A thin mist of hairspray is all you need.

My mom kept fake plants while I was growing up, and I always remembered how she would wipe mayonnaise on the leaves. Yes, mayo! It wasn’t until recently that I realized a bit of mayonnaise on some synthetic leaves can buff out some loose dust and add plenty of shine.

Put a little bit of mayo to the top of each plant leaf with dry paper towels and rub lightly in a circular motion. Mayonnaise’s vegetable oil enhances dull leaves’ luster without clogging the ‘pores.’

Woman wiping fake plant leaves

How to Clean Fake Plants

For silk flowers, you’ll need a method that does not involve moisture. Simply arrange the flowers and stems in a large enough plastic bag to completely cover them. Add a cup of salt or cornmeal to the bag of flowers. Shake the bag vigorously to remove any debris or dust stuck to the silk petals. Remove each flower carefully, discarding any extra table salt or cornmeal.

Also, consider a silk plant cleaner. If you spent a lot of money on a silk plant, you’ll want to make sure it’s cleaned properly. Many companies make silk plant cleaners that whisk dirt away without damaging the silk fibers. This is the best way to avoid damaging your plant and keep it looking beautiful for years. However, it can be a bit more expensive.

It’s also worth noting that some silk flowers can get wet. Some silk plants respond well to vinegar and water, especially if the plant contains no dyes. Check the product label or test a small area before using liquid-based cleaners. 

Remove Debris:

Some leaves, petals, or stems may fall off or become lodged in your fake plant or faux flower arrangement. Pick up any trash to keep your fake tree tidy. If there’s any debris in the plant’s container, pick it out and throw it away.

Paintbrush Dusting:

Weekly dusting with a soft-bristle paint brush is strongly suggested. To avoid dirtying previously cleaned areas, begin cleaning your silk plant or synthetic flower arrangement at the top and work your way down. Brush the leaf, petal, and stem with a soft brush until they are clean. 

Soft paint brushes are significantly softer than a feather duster and are extremely good at cleaning delicate ‘vegetation.’ If you don’t dust on a regular basis, a tough-to-remove layer of grime can accumulate on the leaves.

Compressed Air:

The quickest and easiest way to clean artificial plants and trees is using compressed air, either from a can or a hairdryer. Make sure to move your fake plant or tree outside since the compressed air will spray dust everywhere. If you can’t relocate your artificial foliage for cleaning, cover it with a trash bag or a bedsheet before dusting.

Wet Cloth:

If your artificial plant or tree has stains or a persistent dirt coating, wipe it down with a damp cloth. Before using cool water on your plants, make sure they can handle moisture. Only water should be used to clean. Harsh chemicals can fade the plant or even stain it further. Using a dishtowel, pat the foliage dry to keep the surface from cracking.

Cleaning The Pot:

Plant containers may be easily cleaned with a towel. You can also use the hose of a vacuum cleaner covered with pantyhose to clean the artificial plant’s pot planter. Planters are available in a variety of shapes, styles, and materials.

How Often Should I Clean My Faux Plants?

Fake plants are easy to care for, but care is required nonetheless! The last thing you want to do is damage the material or make a stain worse while cleaning foliage, loose stems, and fragile petals. If you dust the rest of your home once a week, add artificial plants to the routine. The more often you clean your plants, the better they’ll look for longer.

What Clean Materials Are Safe For Fake Flowers And Foliage?

Vinegar

White vinegar is the most acidic and strongest cleanser of the ones mentioned here. The acid in it can cut through grime and stains (and is often diluted with warm water to temper its strength). Lemon juice may be a similar option.

Spraying fake plants photo by Apartment Therapy

Hairspray

Hairspray can be used to clean some faux plants as it contains alcohol. Like hand sanitizer, alcohol in hairspray helps dissolve grime and destroy germs. However, in excess, it can clump onto plants and attract more dirt than it removes.

Salt

The abrasiveness of salt can be effective in cleaning. Shaking salt in a paper bag can remove the dust from a faux plant that a microfiber cloth couldn’t grab. To keep your fake plants from retaining moisture (which can cause mildew), use the salt approach and leave the salt mixed with the plants for longer than usual.

Water

From dusty leaves to dirt spills and early stains, water can address almost every need on your fake plants. Water can catch the small and large particles that a dry towel can’t reach. Use cold water to clean plants to avoid pushing stains deeper into the porous surfaces.

Fake Plants For Sale

Buy Marble Queen Pothos
Live Plant – Marble Queen Pothos by Icarus Plants

Final Thoughts

Neglecting plants, whether real or fake, will only result in deterioration. Artificial greenery looks like real vegetation but doesn’t need to be watered or pruned. With a little cleaning, you can easily maintain the atmosphere and charm of artificial trees and leaves. Add a new artificial plant every so often to keep your design scheme fresh and sophisticated.

Whether or not you’ve got a green thumb, fake plants can be used for spicing up any bland design plan. Faux plants are great for adding color and texture to your home no matter the style. The best part is that they effortlessly add interest and beauty to any area. You can use them to decorate your space without spending a lot of time or money or effort!

Brent Hellendoorn

Brent is excited about all things minimal, and thus environmentally sustainable. From kitchen-scrap composting to indoor herb gardens and air-purifying houseplants, he enjoys continual learning and innovation. In simple, eco-conscious living, there is always room to… grow!

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