7 Ways to Make Plants Look Their Best

If you like to decorate your home with plants, but find that some of them aren't living up to their potential, these tips are for you. 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
2-minute read

Spruce up your houseplants by cleaning leaves with baking soda, removing flowerpot stains with vinegar, and more.


Shinier, Prettier Plants

If your houseplants are dusty, gently wipe the leaves with a soft cloth and a damp sponge. If you want your plants’ leaves to really shine, rub them (gently!) with a cotton ball dipped in either mayonnaise, diluted mineral oil, or a solution of half baking soda and half water. Wipe off any excess with a soft cloth.

Got Stale Milk? Use It!

If you have milk left in your glass, don’t toss it out. Milk will do a great job of cleaning plant leaves. The protein in milk called “casein” has a mild cleansing effect on the plant cell walls.

Shiny Leaves

Want your houseplant leaves to shine the way they did in the nursery where you bought them? It’s easy, even if you don’t have time to spray them every day with a light mist. Instead, mix ¼ cup baking soda with ½ gallon cold water and use to clean each leaf with a soft rag. (Fuzzy leaves are better left au naturel.)

Bath Time!

If you’re like us, you rarely have the time to dust your houseplants. If they’re smaller, here’s a way to make quick work of the job: Simply stick your plants in the tub and turn the shower on for a few seconds. Not only will the water get rid of dust build-up, but the plants will also get a deep watering.

Fun Fern Facts

If you have a fern that’s seen better days, water it with lukewarm salt water and that’ll help it recover. If your fern is plagued by worms, that problem is easily solved, too. Just stick half a dozen unlit matches into the soil, coated end facing down. The sulfur content in the matches will keep the worms away.

Make Pots Like New

Remove the stains in clay and plastic flowerpots with vinegar. Just fill the kitchen sink with two-thirds water and one-third vinegar, and soak the pots. In an hour, they’ll be good as new! Make sure to wash with soap and water before re-using.

Jazzing Up Plants

Sure you can stick with plain flowerpots for your potted foliage, but here are some ideas for days when you’re feeling more inspired: pretty watering cans, an old mailbox, a leather boot, crockery from a second-hand shop, a broken teakettle, a dresser drawer. If you use them outside, all you’ll need are holes in the bottom (cut or drill as appropriate), and you might want to add some stones to the bottom as well.

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Photo courtesy of Who Knew?

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.