Pot Plant Cleaning Know-how | Anyclean

updated: 23/10/2023


If you have started reading this in the belief that it is an article all about how to get your pot plants (meaning indoor house plants, not the sort of plants that grow illegal substances) looking nice and perky, you may be disappointed. You can’t really clean a houseplant, apart from giving the ones with big leaves the occasional dusting. Making sure that your houseplants are well cared for with the right amount of sunshine, nutrients and water will go a long way towards making them look their best. This article is, however, about making sure your carpets stay clean if you have pot plants standing on them.

Some houseplants just take up too much space if they’re on a table and just have to go on the floor. However, you then have a problem. You are going to put something on your carpet that involves mud and water. A friend of mine who is a professional house cleaner says she always gets a laugh out of one particular advertisement she once saw that involved a woman moving a pot plant on what looked like a beige carpet, but a white circle ended up being revealed where the pot had been. My friend laughed because (a) this proves her eternal point about white carpets: they’re impractical and hell to clean, and (b) what would really be underneath a pot plant is likely to be worse than the beige.

Well, pot plants can make a mess on your carpet if you stand the pot directly on the carpet. You should always stand any indoor plant, whether on the carpet or on a table, inside a little container thingummy to catch the water. However, these plastic things (a) can look hideous, (b) have a tendency to overflow, leaving you with spillage on your carpet. A much better alternative is to use the “pot in a pot” method: you have your plant growing in one of those plastic pots, but you put the plastic pot inside another that is slightly larger than it. You can still see the plant without any problems, but the plastic is hidden. And there is very little chance of the water spilling out onto your carpets. You can also have a nicer looking pot as the exterior one.

However, a word of warning: don’t make the outer pot a terracotta one. Terracotta is prone to mould if it gets damp for too long, and this will leave horrible green smears on your carpet (remove these with neat white vinegar). Use a nice porcelain or china one. An old fashioned chamber-pot can be put to a new use like this.

If you don’t like the pot on a pot method, then you can stand your pots – drip container and all – on a square of carpet or a mini-rug. This will be your sacrificial victim that will take the dirt instead of your carpet. And an individual carpet square will be easier to clean, if you want to, simply using warm soapy water and a scrubbing brush. Hang the square on the line to dry afterwards.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.