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How to Clean Complex Faux Plants

The biggest edge that artificial or silk plants have over live plants, is the amount of maintenance needed. 

While silk plants don’t need a green thumb to keep them alive, they still need to be maintained. 

And occasionally cleaning silk plants is still an essential part of that.

If left uncared for, whether indoors or outdoors, silk artificial plants will accumulate layers of dirt and dust that will dull their shine and make them look unkempt. 

So the questions arise: 

How to clean silk plants? 

How often do silk plants need cleaning? 

  • What to use while cleaning silk plants?
  • Obviously, there is no one process that applies to all situations. 
  • The amount and type of cleaning needed vary from situation to situation.

An outdoor plant on a dusty Arizonan entryway is bound to need more thorough and regular cleaning than an indoor plant in an air-conditioned Washington cubicle.

Hence, we’ve classified the types of cleaning processes based on:

  • the type of faux plant
  • location of the faux plant
  • the stage of dust accumulation
  • recommended frequency for that method

1. Cleaning silk plants: Small-medium sized plants, indoor 

Approx. size range: 6″ – 6′

Indoor plants don’t require as intensive cleaning of a cleaning regimen. But to keep them looking fresh and well maintained, follow these steps.

2. Cleaning silk greens: Large plants, tall trees, outdoor trees

Obviously, one can simply use the simple dusting and spraying techniques for large or outdoor plants as well. But with tall fake trees that have higher exposure to dust, these techniques can become very cumbersome. 

So instead, we offer to you simpler alternatives for cleaning fake outdoor trees and plants.

  1. Dusting for regular maintenance

    Markers to look for: When there is light dust on the plant leaves and flowers.

    Recommended cleaning frequency: Every 1-2 weeks

    Dust your plant with a feather duster, starting from the top and working your way down. This way you'll avoid pushing dirt onto parts you've cleaned before.

    If the plants are too small or have delicate leaves, use a soft-bristle paintbrush instead. 

    Gently brush the leaves, flower petals, and stems of the silk plant. For intricate or highly dense plants, pay attention to the narrow nooks between the stems. That is where the dust is likely to accumulate and cobwebs form.

    This dusting process may seem basic and skippable but the consequences are harsh. Leave your plants undusted for 1-2 months and the dust layers will accumulate, get rigid and become much harder to remove.

    Dusting for regular maintenance

  2. Spray washing for settles dust

    Markers to look for: Moderate amount of settled dust on the leaves, flowers, and stems.

    Recommended cleaning frequency: Once a month

    First, let's see how to clean dust off fake plants? dust your plants with the feather duster, then follow up with 1-2 coatings of non-aerosol silk cleaner. 

    Each brand has specific instructions for the usage of silk cleaners. 

    But some thumb rules to follow are: 
    1. Start spraying the plants from top to bottom, spraying evenly until the liquid starts to run off the surface. 
    2. If needed, lightly shake the plants to remove the excess liquid on the plant. 
    3. But, do not rinse the plant or wipe it after spraying. Let the liquid cleaner dry naturally. 
    4. If needed, follow up with another coat after the first coat has fully dried. 

    Pro-tip: Some silk cleaner brands might not be a good match for your silk plants. Always do a spray test in a discrete corner of the plant to check for colorfastness, before using a new brand.

    Spray washing for settles dust

  3. Soap-water for deep cleaning

    Markers to look for: Stubborn patches. Thick layers of dirt settled on the plant.

    Recommended cleaning frequency: Whenever needed or once every 6 months.

    Even with many layers of dirt caked on, cleaning silk plants is still a fairly simple process. 

    First, brush off any loose dirt or dust from the plant surface with a feather duster.

    Next, make a cleaning mix with one teaspoon of soap with two gallons of warm water. Spray this mixture over your plant (or the problem area) with a spray bottle. Then gently rub off the dirt layers with smooth strokes, using a soft, damp cloth.

    If the stubborn patch still persists repeat this process, before wiping off any excess soapy remnants. 

    Finally, follow up with 1-3 applications of the non-aerosol silk cleaner.

  4. Using an air blower

    Markers to look for: Tree not fresh-looking anymore. A light layer of dust, dirt, or debris on the plant. 

    Recommended cleaning frequency: Every 2 weeks – once 1 month

    Dusting or wiping down the surface of every leaf, flower, and branch makes sense while cleaning silk plants. But when it comes to heavy-duty outdoor faux trees, it is simply ridiculous. 

    So bring in a gentle leaf blower instead, and use it on the lowest setting to blow the dust off of the surface of the artificial trees or plants. Use a stable ladder to prop yourself up. Start blowing from the top and work your way down.

    Pay attention to the outer leaves and textured branches especially.

    In extreme cases like with a cell tower fake tree or a large fake banyan tree, you might need to bring in a tree crane to reach the apex of the trees.

  5. Washing the faux tree

    Markers to look for: Dull, faded-looking leaves. Clear layer of dust on the plant, when you swipe your finger on it.

    Recommended cleaning frequency: Once every 1-3 months

    Dry dusting with an air blower is not always enough, especially when it comes to outdoor silk trees. It is recommended to follow up the “dusting” process with a round of thorough washing.

    For this, simply spray down your outdoor silk trees with fresh water from top to bottom. 

    In case of extra dust, start with generous spraying of the soap-water mixture or a silk tree cleaning agent, and then wash it off with water.

    Finally, end with a layer of UV-resistant artificial plant spray. This will help keep your outdoor silk plants looking vibrant and bright, even in the years to come.

Follow these steps, and your silk plant should look as good as new.