Do You Use Lemon Juice to Clean Your Plant Leaves? I Do!

by | May 7, 2019 | 2 comments

Do you use lemon juice to clean your plant leaves? I do! (Do not use leaf shine of any type!)

I recently purchased an elk horn fern (Polypodium polycarpon ‘Grandiceps‘). It is a gorgeous plant but covered with hard water spots.

How can I clean the water spots off? Until I wrote my first book, I didn’t know exactly how to get them off. Elvin McDonald gave me the tip to use lemon juice. It works like a charm!

Water spots on elk horn fern
Water spots on my elk horn fern (Polypodium polycarpon ‘Grandiceps’)

Use a slice a lemon to clean your plant leaves!

You could use a slice of lemon to clean the plant leaves. That worked great on my phalaenopsis orchid foliage as the leaf is thick and didn’t bend as I was cleaning it.

With the fern leaf, I found squeezing the lemon juice on a sponge to clean the leaf worked better. Use one hand to support the leaf from behind while using the sponge to wipe the leaf.

I found that worked well so I didn’t rip the leaf, though it was a bit tricky to do on the ruffled elkhorn fern leaf. I was careful but did rip a couple of leaves before I got the hang of it. Also, I am a bit impatient and there were a lot of leaves.

Cleaning water spots on leaves
Water spots are so unsightly

Where do these spots come from?

Some greenhouse water plants with hard water containing lime and minerals. (Do not use softened water to water your plants, by the way.) The white residue remains after the water evaporates off the leaves and this can also be from the salts from fertilizer residue left on the leaves.

After wiping down the leaves with the lemon-infused sponge, I then rinsed the plant off. This removes the excess lemon juice from the leaves. It is best to try it on one leaf before using it on your whole plant, but I have never had a problem.

Look how much better the leaf looks after cleaning it!

Cleaned with lemon juice
All clean

Have you tried lemon juice or something else? Let me know how it worked for you in the comments.


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  1. Kai Theaderman

    Thanks for the Lemmon juice cleaning tip it worked.

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Awesome! Thanks for letting me know. Lisa



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