It’s important to know how to clean monstera leaves (and any plant leaves, really) so you can keep your monstera beautiful and healthy for the long run.
Monstera plants are known for their beautiful, striking, fenestrated leaves. Those leaves are the star of the show, so it can be really frustrating when they look dull and dusty no matter what you do.
And it gets worse. Not only are dusty leaves unattractive, but they can also cause health problems for your monstera!
In this article, we’ll walk you through the reasons why leaves might get dull and dirty even after your best cleaning attempts, and why these factors can create health problems as well as diminishing your monstera’s beauty.
And don’t worry, we’ll share our top tips, tricks, and products for cleaning those leaves so they shine!
Why Are My Monstera Leaves Not Shiny?
Shiny leaves are healthy leaves! Your monstera’s leaves can get dull for many reasons that go way beyond simply getting dusty. Here are a few reasons why your leaves might lack that shine you’re after.
Hard water: If you notice a bunch of dappled, dusty white spots on your monstera leaves, hard water may be to blame.
While monstera plants generally love misting, showers, and humidifiers, minerals like lime, sodium, magnesium, and calcium can get left behind from hard water after the moisture evaporates. Over time, these minerals can build up on the leaves and become really difficult to remove.
This can happen in your home just from misting and watering your monstera, but you might also notice this on monsteras fresh from the nursery where they were frequently sprayed and watered from the top.
Note: It might be tempting to use filtered or softened water to mist your monstera, but the salts in many water softeners can actually harm your plant. If you want to avoid using tap water, try purified or distilled water instead, or even rainwater if you can get it.
Chemical burn: Ironically, cleaning products you might use to make your leaves shinier can have the exact opposite effect! Harsh chemicals can burn and damage your monstera’s delicate leaves, which can cause a lackluster appearance at best, and dry, brown spots at worst.
This can also happen with fertilizer sprays. (Liquid fertilizers you can mix with your watering regimen are a much better alternative.)
Overall, it’s best to keep harsh chemicals off the leaves as much as possible.
Dust buildup: While dust isn’t always the cause of dull leaves, it’s a very common one, especially if you let it build up, because it can become extremely difficult to remove after a while. (Have you ever tried to remove heavy dust buildup from furniture? Same story!)
Be sure to dust your plant regularly to prevent yucky buildup that can smother your leaves.
Over-scrubbing: When dust, hard-water deposits, and debris build up on a monstera’s leaves, it’s tempting to want to scrub all that stuff off like you would off a tile floor, but don’t! Scrubbing too hard (or at all, really) can scratch and damage your leaves, which can make them look even worse. Monstera leaves are delicate, so be gentle!
Dryness: Underwatering or even overly dry air can cause leaves to look dull. Make sure your monstera is getting the right amount of water, and consider using a humidifier or moisture tray if you live in a very dry location. And of course, avoid placing your monstera near a vent, furnace, etc., that could dry out the leaves!
Overwatering: Conversely, overwatering can also cause leaves to develop a dull, even rough texture because the roots might not be getting enough oxygen. (Yes, roots need to breathe too!)
Learning to water your monstera properly is crucial to raising a healthy, beautiful plant! Make sure to check out these resources so you can give your plant the perfect amount of water:
Should I Clean Monstera Leaves?
We get it. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about whether you should or shouldn’t clean plant leaves. This is because while some methods actually do work to clean and shine your leaves, other methods can actually cause more harm than good.
For example, cleaning leaves with hard water can often backfire and just contribute to more mineral buildup on the leaves. We also don’t recommend using fats like coconut oil or mayonnaise to shine the leaves because this can actually clog your leaves’ pores, which can lead to issues with respiration and photosynthesis. If left unchecked, this can easily kill off your plant!
It’s also important to not scrub your leaves or use an abrasive cloth. This can damage or even remove the top layer of tissue on your monstera’s leaves. That kind of trauma can severely damage or even kill leaves, which is the exact opposite of what you’re going for.
Another “don’t” when it comes to shiny monstera leaves: avoid harsh cleansers and spray fertilizers. Many of these cleansers, even when diluted, can chemically burn your monstera leaves and cause unsightly spotting! Not only are these spots ugly, but they can prevent the leaves from doing their job to nourish the plant, which means your plant can actually die if the chemical burns are severe.
As long as you avoid these harmful methods, cleaning your monstera’s leaves is actually an essential part of keeping your plant healthy. It’s best to stick to simple soap, water, soft cloths, and gentle products that have been proven to work.
Benefits of Clean Monstera Leaves
Shiny leaves are beautiful to look at, but if you need more convincing to clean your monstera’s leaves, it’s important to know that clean leaves are a health matter too.
Dust, dirt, debris, or mineral buildup on the leaves can clog your plant’s pores. This is dangerous because it interferes with both respiration and photosynthesis (the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy).
The bottom line is, dirty leaves can essentially cause your plant to starve AND suffocate. Not good!
How to Make Monstera Leaves Shiny
The best way to make your monstera’s leaves shiny is to start with the right care.
Make sure your plant gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight to support all your plant’s physical functions and give it plenty of energy to grow healthy leaves.
Water your plant when the top few inches of soil feel dry to the touch, or when a moisture meter reads 3-4 (here’s the meter we use and recommend). Make sure your pot and soil drain well.
Fertilize regularly during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer like Monstera Plant Food. Nutrients are essential for supporting growth.
If you live in a dry area, provide your plant with a little extra humidity to keep the leaves soft and supple.
Beyond that, make sure to dust your leaves regularly with a soft, dry cloth to prevent dust and dirt buildup.
We also recommend occasionally washing your leaves with gentle soap and water and regularly and using Leaf Shine to protect the leaves and promote shine.
What Can I Clean Monstera Leaves With?
Despite conflicting advice out there, we don’t recommend using anything but gentle soap and water to clean your monstera leaves.
However, soap and water don’t always cut it, and giving your plant a full-on bath can be time-consuming. While soap and water can effectively clean your monstera leaves and get the job done temporarily, they do nothing to actually protect the leaves from harmful substances.
Leaf Shine Spray
We designed our Leaf Shine spray to not only clean your leaves and make them glossy, but to protect and fortify your plant against fungus, insects, and bacteria. It’s like a shine product and a vitamin supplement in one!
It’s also a convenient way to keep your monstera leaves clean between soap and water washes. The best part is, you don’t have to measure or mix a thing. Leaf Shine comes ready-to-use in a spray bottle so you can just give your plant a good misting and go!
Leaf Shine Wipes
For an even more convenient way to clean monstera leaves, you can also try our Leaf Shine wipes. These super-soft wipes are pre-soaked in our Leaf Shine formula and are perfect if your monstera needs a little more cleaning than you can get with the spray alone. These gentle wipes won’t scratch or otherwise damage your leaves, so they’re an easy way to remove mild dust or mineral buildup.
With these products, you may not need to wash your leaves with soap and water at all! There’s never been an easier way to keep your monstera leaves clean and shiny.
How to Clean Monstera Leaves
One of the easiest ways to clean monstera leaves is with purified or distilled water, a little detergent-free soap, and a microfiber cloth.
To clean the leaves, first spray down the leaves with the distilled water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. This will loosen up any debris or other gunk on the leaves.
Add a teaspoon of detergent-free soap (we like Dr. Bronner’s pure organic castile soap) to a half-gallon of distilled water and use it to soak your microfiber cloth. Very gently, start wiping the tops and bottoms of the leaves, being sure to support the other side of the leaf with your hand. Take your time here so you don’t accidentally crack, break, or scratch the leaves.
Once you’ve thoroughly wiped down each leaf, rinse the leaves with a gentle spray from a hose or in the shower.
Note: You might want to tip your plant to the side so the soap and water don’t run off into the soil.
We recommend doing this at least every few months to keep your leaves clean and healthy!
How Often Should You Wipe Monstera Leaves?
To maintain shine and prevent difficult-to-remove buildup, we recommend using Leaf Shine spray or wipes at least once a week, but they are gentle enough to use daily!
Caring for monstera plants is actually fun and pretty easy once you get the hang of it! Try these resources for growing the healthiest, more gorgeous monstera around!