One Thing You Might Forget to Clean After You Finish a Summer Home Project

published Jul 29, 2021
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Whether you’re camped out on your patio painting an old dresser or sawing down two-by-fours for a kitchen project, outdoor projects are especially fun because you can let things get a little messy. Who cares if some dust flies up or paint splatters? Unlike an indoor project that requires more precision (unless you want to be stuck cleaning all weekend), you can just hose down your patio furniture and the side of the house and move on. But there’s one important thing you might forget to clean afterward. 

When you finish up your project, don’t forget to check in on your plants, because their leaves might have picked up a layer of dust or specks of paint. A bit of residual damage might not seem so important for hearty outdoor greenery, but both those things can impact plants’ ability to get sun, which is crucial for their well-being. 

You may not be used to cleaning outdoor plants like you are the indoor ones that regularly accumulate dust. Luckily, taking care of your outside potted plant babies isn’t going to take up too much time (or any complicated tools and techniques).

Start by carefully cleaning the leaves with a feather duster or a damp microfiber cloth, either of which should be effective to remove residual dust from your project. 

Dealing with stuck-on dust or paint? For container plants that are small enough to hold, you can simply run the leaves under lukewarm water in a faucet. For larger potted plants, grab a large bucket and add a few drops of basic dish soap (like the blue liquid Dawn). If the leaves are particularly dirty, swish the leaves in soapy water, making sure to rinse thoroughly, since excess soap can do just as much damage as dust or paint.

You can also use a spray bottle full of warm water and a couple drops of mild dish detergent — just make sure to wipe the leaves down or spray them with clean, tepid water when you’re done!

Of course, even when you have the freedom to make a huge mess, prevention is a lot easier than cleaning. If you’re concerned about your potted plants or garden, cover them with a tarp when you do potentially messy projects. Then, even if they get a little dirty, you’ll have a method to take care of it!