I have an admission to make…history proves that I have not paid much attention to my silk plants.

True confessions; It has been 10 years since I cleaned the silk plant in the pictures below.  I am extremely Type-A in most areas of my life and like to keep a very clean home, but I never seem to know what to do with my silk plants.

Once upon a time I bought an aerosol silk plant cleaner, but I didn’t like it very much because it seemed like it was just an aerosol oil of sorts and it was really expensive.

I spent the last week redoing my son’s room and was forced to tackle his silk plant.  I couldn’t have a dusty plant in his newly refurbed room!

So I went to work on Google and looked-up how to clean silk plants.  I came across several ideas, but there was one that stood out to me as being really cheap and really simple.

It was time to test it out.



Spray bottle
Isopropyl alcohol (I bought a two pack at Costco)


  1. Fill the spray bottle with equal parts isopropyl alcohol and water
  2. Liberally spray the plant with the solution
  3. Repeat as necessary

The dust should run right off of the plant and the alcohol makes the plant dry quickly.

Silk Plant Cleaner Collage 1

So did it work?  I tried this method with all of the silk plants in my home (I have about 6) and it worked beautifully with most of them.  The plant in my son’s room still had a film on some of the leaves (see the bottom right image in the picture above) which I needed the rub off with a cloth, but the plants in my home which were not 10 years thick with dust did have a successful outcome with this method.

Silk Plant Cleaner Collage 2

Since this fix is so cheap and easy, I will most definitely keep up with the cleaning on my silk plants and I know if I do this regularly, all I will have to do is a quick spray and they will stay nice.

How often do you clean your silk plants and which method/product do you use?


Filed under Cleaning


  1. Beth

    I tried this and it worked wonderfully. Thanks!

  2. Lisa

    I take them outside, or in the shower…and hold them upside down as i spray, so the solution runs off…then I let it dry in the sun for an hour. I used to buy the silk plan cleaner at Michael’s for $8 a bottle until I realized this recipe! so much better! Thanks!

  3. Alice

    I mixed your homemade cleaner for my silk plants and could not be more pleased. I have several,,will keep on using this cheap and easy way of cleaning the silk plants. THANKS SO VERY MUCH FOR THE INFO. ALICE

  4. Tijana

    what ratio of alcohol to water do you use?

  5. elfmom55

    When I know it is going to rain, I put mine out to get a good shower.

  6. Didn’t work for me. I’m gonna try the vinegar n warm water one next. Good to know I’m not the only one with dusty silk plants!

    • I use vinager in cold water to rinse dust out of curtains and sheers and then put them thru gentle cleanse cycle and rinse. I’ve never tried to rinse off dust n grime from fake plants with vinager n water but I’m gonna try it today. I have a gallon of cider kind in me cabinet and am totally out of isopropyl alcohol, so now is perfect time….. 🙂

  7. LizB

    Anyone use the above solution/method for cleaning silk plants that are in wicker baskets? Plants will not come out of the baskets-they are secured in the green styrofoam blocks with moss topping. What will the water do to that?

    • I had the same situation with a tall skinny “Silk” topiary type plant. Most of the spray deflected off rather than trickling into the pot, because I sprayed mostly the visible surface, rather than trying to get in to the main stem. Kind of the way dust acts too, when you think of it. However I was also thinking like you, that it might not be good if the pot filling got wet. So I just stuffed a few paper towels around the base of the plant and sprayed. White paper towels really showed me how negligent I had been about dusting it! Everything drained, dried, just like new. No issues with any moisture in the pot.
      Have fun!

    • Ellen

      I tie a plastic bag around the basket making sure to cover the foam.

  8. Joobee

    LOL Some of my real plants have looked that dusty! I must say your Silks look very real (with and without dust!), I may have to try some…quit committing plant-i-cide.

    I have tried a very dilute solution of Quik-n-Brite, “the pink stuff” I call it. They used to have infomercials on it all the time. It does work as they claim, no noxious fumes, safe around kids and pets, yada yada. No, I don’t work for them, i just like the product! You can place your plants in the shower, spray ’em down till runoff starts, allow the soil to go right down the drain. No rinsing. I let them dry in there, too.

    I’m going to have to try the alcohol method, too. Certainly cheaper! But you use such a weak solution of the QnB that I’m sure it costs pennies for enough to do several very dirty Silks.

    Thanks for your article, enjoying your blog, which I just discovered Ü

    • Katie Whiting

      Oh my gosh, Quick-n-Brite!!!! I was just thinking of that stuff the other day! I was trying to remember what the name was! I remember the infomercials from when I was a kid! My mom bought a humongous tub at the county fair one year. It was her “go-to” whenever there was a spill in the carpet. One summer, I accidentally spilled cherry kool-aid on our white love seat! Like the whole cup literally jumped out of my hands and flipped and landed in my lap….upside down. My mom screamed at me, then pulled out the “pink stuff” tub and a rag and told me to clean it up before it stained. We must have had this tub for a year already, and it was still full to the top. I managed to go thru more than half of it, and that damn kool-aid only reduced from a shade of red, to a shade of pink!!! I scrubbed for what felt like hours! I was 11 so it was probably only 20 minutes but I gave up and ended up flipping the cushion. But I haven’t seen that stuff since, and I was trying to remember the name. For some reason I thought “oxy-clean” had changed its formula! Thanks for reminding me!

  9. Hi
    I just bought a bottle of Isocol the 100% Isopropyl – $10. I have two plants & tried to do both – no chance – think I needed 3 bottles. So now I am just busy rubbing all the 100s of leaves on my plant (it is a 6 ft tree). Seems still a bit of an expensive way to clean a plant. Guess I should have used 1/2 strength. But when I used the full strength on the first plant it seem to so a better job. Diluted it for the second plant a little & it was not as good.

  10. Kevin

    Worked phenomenal. I have a 10 foot silk ficus tree which is not easy to dust. This worked perfectly. Like new.

  11. Angie Cole

    I love this idea. I like you keep everything in my house very clean, except my silk plants. I can’t wait to try this out today!

  12. Sandy

    What percentage of Isopropyl Alcohol did you use or does matter I have 70% ~ will that work?

  13. Laurie

    This solution is also great to clean items like a delicate shell & coral wreath! Thank you 😉

  14. Ineke Fleming

    Thanks, for the info……going to try it. We’re snowbirds so hate to ask anyone to water my plants, so silk is the answer to give my home that homey look.

  15. Rosie

    Thanks for the info as well. I added a couple of drops of tea tree oil to mixture …works great. Also be sure not to have any open flame when working with alcohol.

  16. Nice Blog I like information which you sharing with us. Keep going

  17. Monica Weber

    Not sure why, but I spray the alcohol mixture and it stained all the leafs leaving a white residue look to the whole tree/plant. All the leaves are weird looking now. Sad that the plant got ruined. 🙁

  18. Dee


  19. It worked great! No more wiping each leaf by hand. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  20. Charles J Ho

    I haven’t tried this as yet but it sounds good. There are 3 typea of alcohol in the drug stores. Ethyl alcohol which for silk plant cleaning I don’t recommend since the organic nature of ethyl alcohol could damage the material and dissolve the material and remove some of the delicate colors of the plant. Isopropyl alcohol does come in 2 strengths and 70% should be adequate diluted half and half with water should be perfect.
    Great post.

  21. Erin

    I’ve been using the same method for years, the only difference is I make a 70% Isopropyl and 30% water distilled (tap water can be either hard or soft eventually leaving a build-up) ratio (after trying various mixtures) and this seems to work best. I take them outside onto my balcony (when I didn’t have one, the bathtub worked just as well), since I sorry liberally, the water runs off along with the dust and the alcohol does dry them quickly as well as seems to give them a bit of a static buffer too over time. It definitely works on silk, plastic and otherwise. 👍

  22. Gwen Russell

    Thanks for the healthier alternative as opposed to the silk plant cleaners. I was just searching and think this will be the simple right thing. So much appreciated!!!

  23. Roxeann Ford

    I tried this today and it worked amazing! I only have 1 silk plant and I will continue using this recipe.

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  26. Darla Martinez

    Thank you for sharing your tip! It worked wonderfully!! I’m so happy I didn’t have to make a trip to the store to buy that expensive silk plant spray!!

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