Silk plants look like the actual thing with no continual watering and maintenance required by growing plants. Neglect is an issue with silk plants too, but — if they are not dusted on a regular basis, the dirt builds up and becomes more difficult to remove. Easy cleaning procedures along with a homemade vinegar-based cleaner turn those dusty gray plants green once more.
The best way to maintain silk plants looking like fresh is to dust them on regularly using a feather duster. Dust them after weekly, or if you dust the furniture. Work from the top down because you dust, because gravity takes the dust downward. If you don’t dust the plants on a regular basis, dust becomes more difficult to remove.
If your selection of silk plants has not been washed in a while, carry them outside and brush them off, leaf by leaf, using a paintbrush. A 1-inch brush does the trick for medium and small plants. If the plants have large leaves, then use a larger brush. Begin at the top of each plant, working your way down. Brush the non-leafy parts of each plant as well, since they also bring dust, and brush the plant pot off too.
Homemade Liquid Cleaner
From time to time, silk plants get so dirty that brushing them off doesn’t remove all of the dirt. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle for a homemade silk plant cleaner — use this for leafy plants, rather than flowers, since the dye on blossoms may bleed when wet. Test the spray on an inconspicuous area on one leaf to ensure the moisture doesn’t affect the color of the silk. Spray each leaf having enough liquid it runs off the edges. The vinegar mixture loosens even caked-on debris. Wipe the leaves dry, if needed, using a soft lint-free cloth to pick up any remaining residue.
The Silk Flower Solution
Silk flowers take a different treatment than soluble silk plants due to the dyes and building of the blossoms. Place 1/2 cup cornmeal or table salt in a sturdy plastic or paper bag and add the flowers. Roll the bag shut and shake it up; the cornmeal acts as a gentle abrasive that removes dirt and grime without harming the flowers. Shake that the cornmeal off every blossom, and use a feather duster outside to remove all the cornmeal. A hairdryer set to cool, aimed at the flowers and directed over a trash can, blows the rest of the cornmeal away.