Orchid Leaves: Cleaning

How do I clean my orchid leaves?

Updated 12/11/17

IMG_1468Washing your orchid leaves, with a gentle cleaning solution, will make them very happy!

Orchid leaves need a healthy surface to absorb moisture and to allow them to breathe. Cleaning your orchid leaves removes residue build up such as; hard water residue, fertilizer residue, dust, dirt, mildew, mold and restores their natural luster. Plus it helps to combat and prevent bugs especially scales.

Find one that is safe for your house if you have kids and/or pets. I use Wash ME! Natural Leaf Cleaner from www.rePotme.com, which is safe. It has a fresh citrus aroma. It is “Made with 100% pure RO water, organic natural castile soap, and a pinch of citric acid for old-fashioned careful gentle cleaning without chemicals.”

You can use any safe orchid specific cleaner or make your own. Use one drop of dish soap to whole spray bottle of water. Also neem oil works great.

How to clean your orchid leaves;

  1. You simply spray it on.
  2. Then you wipe it off with a paper towel. Use a fresh paper towel with each orchid so you don’t spread any bugs or disease.
  3. Don’t forget to clean the bottom of the leaves as well. Bugs and specifically scales love to live on the bottom of orchid leaves.


It is so easy and your leaves will be crisp, green and clean!!

Other leaf post;

Hope that helps,


Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

33 Comments on “Orchid Leaves: Cleaning

  1. By chance, is there any way I can make my own orchid leaf spray with safe, home ingredients?

    • Hi,

      Yes there are a bunch of links of how to make your own spray on google. I have not tried any of them though so I can’t tell which is best,


  2. How periodical should this cleaning be? Like, once a week, once a month?

  3. Dear Hannah,
    Thank you for your post. It has been very helpful for a beginner like myself. However, here in Karachi,Pakistan, we do not get these products. Can you recommend a mixture for cleaning orchid leaves that I can make myself at home.
    Thank you.

    • Sure, you can google it but I believe mixing a small dose of liquid soap with a lot of water works. You would need to look up the recipe.

  4. Sorry,  I forgot to email photos of my spotty Moth Orchid to you after commenting on your blog about cleaning leaves with lemon juice.

    I have now sent them to you.

    Would be fab if you know the name of it

    It’s funny I love gardening and growing all sorts of plants for house and garden but I’ve never bought an orchid for myself. I’ve just had them given to me either flowering beautifully for a birthday  or others, from friends, as sickly half dead specimens, with the sword of Damocles hanging over them ie “If you don’t try and save it, it’s going in the compost bin!😄 They all know I can’t throw away any plant while it’s still hanging on!!

    – That’s why I now have 13, plus 3 have produced  babies or should I say keikis! Somebody help me!😆

      • Hi. Many thanks Hannah but I think that answer was possibly for someone else? I imagine you have such a lot of questions to answer so it’s not surprising!😊
        I know it’s a Phaelenopsis but was hoping you might know the particular variety name of this very spotty one. I’ve had it about 7 years but I’ve never seen another exactly like it. Plus I was showing you what the leaves are like when wiped with neat lemon juice after cleaning, as I commented on your blog when someone else had asked about using it.
        Thanks again.

      • Shoot sorry about that! No I don’t know the specific variety but it’s beautiful. And your leaves look wonderful:)

  5. Please correct my loose to lose in my earlier response. I tried a cup of water to one drop of Dawn dish soap. It cleaned like a dream. I’m praying my three year old (I’ve had it three years) successes won’t be damaged by trying a home remedy. She looks clean and the oil from sitting by my stove is gone. I call her she!

  6. My orchids used to regularly loose the bottom leaves. I was not having much success. Now I keep them sitting in a bowl filled with water. The pot sits so the water touches the bottom at all times. I haven’t lost a leaf since and it have bloomed 3 times. New roots are constantly growing. I’ve finally found the right solution. I have only one place in my house that they do well. It has limited morning southern sun. In the summer there are more leaves so it is filtered even more. My sun room blocks the sun by noon.

  7. Water if you don’t have access to the spray. Can you just use water?

    • Hi,

      If you check the ingredients I am sure you could make your own. Water is fine but it won’t totally clean the leaves. It will get the dust off though.

      Hope that helps,


  8. Is it OK to clean orchid plant leaves with lemon juice? I’ve also read advice to clean orchid leaves with mayonnaise. Even tho’ that would make the leaves shine, it seems to be so oily.
    Also, I need help identifying one of my orchid plants. The plant stake says: “CLMC-SP02(WS) P.I-Hsin Golden Princess; Color: White Spots. 9-28-08.
    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Hi Brenda,

      I have not heard of cleaning orchid leaves with either of those. The lemon juice seems a bit harsh to me and mayonnaise seems like it would not clean it at all. I could be wrong though.

      I clean mine with this… http://www.repotme.com/orchid-health/WashMe.html

      It works really well. Maybe you could copy the ingredients??

      You will have to send me a picture of your orchid for identification – I can’t tell from that tag. You can email me myfirstorchid@gmail.com

      Hope that helps,


      • Thanks so much! I will send a picture when I can. It isn’t blooming right now, but I’m looking for the full name from the “code letters” that names an orchid, like BLC stands for Brassialaeliocattleya.

      • Hi Hannah.- Great blog!
        I clean my Phalaenopsis leaves as you do then I wipe just the upper surfaces with cotton wool dipped in fresh lemon juice.
        It makes them look great . I’ve been doing this on all my Moth orchids for a couple of years, since I saw it on a youtube video, and I’ve never had any adverse effects from it.
        I don’t like the sound of mayo’ to clean though. I would think the leaves would smell a bit rancid after a bit- eww! :/ :0
        I’ll email you a photo of one I cleaned a couple of weeks ago.
        It’s one of my favourites because of the spots but it’s not flowered so well as usual because I’ve been a bit lax with feeding it and it’s pretty desperate to be repotted:(
        Unfortunately I don’t know it’s name – maybe you will though 🙂
        Many thanks in advance!

  9. I noticed My orchid roots are shedding. What I mean by that is the skin is kind of soggy I was able to pull it off. Am I watering it too much.? Also I have tiny little bugs which I sprayed with a garden insect killer. Could this have caused the problem.? Thank you

    • Jean,

      I would love to help.

      That does not sound good!

      I don’t use normal insecticide on orchids. I have a blog post on Orchid Health: Bugs. Check it out.

      As far as watering goes – how much do you water it and how do you water it?


  10. Hi Hannah….is it safe to use a very diluted dish detergent to clean the leaves?


  11. Hi Hannah,

    Thanks for your tips. All my orchids leaves are very dull. Do you think by applying the solution it will solve the problem? Is there any other home remedy solution that I could try and I’m not sure if the website would ship item to this part of the world.

    Appreciate your kind reply.


    • Masha,

      I would love to help. A gentle solution of a few drops of shampoo mixed with water can clean leaves as well. Just makes sure its way watered down and then wiped off with another clean towel of just water. On both sides.

      If its just dust then this will work – if your orchid leaves are just dull maybe using a local orchid fertilizer may give them some extra nutrients to brighten them up.

      The pic on the blog of what an orchid looks like when healthy is pretty green because of the light in the pic. Overall you just want your orchid to be healthy all over with good watering techniques and proper light.

      If your orchid is shedding old leaves and growing new ones then your on the right track!


  12. My first orchid (adopted) I keep it in the kitchen and spray it with filtered water. It has lost a few bottom leaves over time. No flower as yet.m it’s an old plant, like me. What do you think of the spraying? How damp should the soil be. Tropical plant, right? Thanx Jax

    • Hi Jackie,

      Well click this link first on how to water orchids…. https://myfirstorchid.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/hello-world/

      Spraying you orchid with water is not a sufficient way to water your orchid. It needs more water then that. You will want to make sure that the soil is bone dry before watering it and then bring it to your kitchen sink. Let water freely run through it. Wait five minutes and repeat.

      It’s really important to wait till the soil is dry before watering it again. You can check this by sticking your finger in it and feeling for moisture or sticking a pencil down in it to check for moisture.

      It’s also really important to not let water pool at the bottom of your orchid…so when you water it let the water run out of it completely before moving it back to its decorative pot.

      You can still use the spray bottle to mist your orchids in between watering them…I have a post on that as well.
      And the bottom leaves falling off is normal. That is the natural cycle of an orchid. Bottom leaves fall off and new leaves sprout from the middle.

      Does you orchid have drainage hole at bottom?

      Hope that Helps,


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