How to Clean Silk Flowers

Silk plants are a great way to keep your house beautiful year-round, especially for those of us who lack a green thumb! However, they quickly build up dust. Fortunately, there are several ways to quickly and easily remove any build-up and refresh the ‘life’ in your silk plants. Some cleaning options are designed for plants that are easily removed from their base while others allow you to keep the arrangement as-is and remove the dirt.

Salt Shaker Method

What You Will Need:

  • Large Brown Paper Bag
  • Salt

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Pour about a cup of salt into the brown paper bag.
  2. Remove the dusty plant from the container and place it inside the bag.
  3. Roll the top of the bag down a few times to close.
  4. Shake the bag as vigorously as your plant can handle. The salt will remove the dust from the leaves and petals, leaving you with a beautiful plant.
  5. Open the bag and shake the plant to remove any remaining salt.
  6. The salt and bag can be stored and used over and over.

Cool Water Wash

What You Will Need:

  • Double sink or two large bowls
  • Soft cloths or soft gloves
  • Lemon dish detergent
  • Cool water
  • Paper towels

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Fill the two sides of your sink or two large bowls with cool water. Do not use hot water or it will weaken the glue and cause your plants to fall apart.
  2. Add a small amount of lemon dish detergent to one of the containers of water and swish around until suds begin to form. The other water will be your rinse water, so don’t add anything to that one.
  3. Remove your silk plant from the container, or if you are cleaning an arrangement, remove one stem at a time.
  4. Swish the plant around in the soapy water. If there is greasy or extra build-up you may need to carefully rub off the dirt with the soft cloth. An easy way to do this is to wear soft gloves and use those to wipe off the dirt. Be careful not to scrub the flowers as the edges will fray. Also, watch the leaves, they are only glued together and can easily fall apart.
  5. Rinse the soap by swishing the plant in the clean water. Be sure to remove all the soap or the residue will cause the dirt build-up to return more quickly.
  6. Lay the plant on a soft cloth or paper towel and carefully blot to dry. When it is almost dry (it can finish drying after you reassemble it), return it to its container or place the stem back into the arrangement. If you replace each stem before you remove the next one, you won’t have to have the arrangement redesigned.

Additional Tips and Advice:

  • To vacuum the dust off your plants, cover the hose of your vacuum with an old leg of pantyhose. This will keep the suction from pulling your plant into the hose and damaging it.
  • You can place the plants in the dryer and run on a cool setting for a couple of minutes to remove dust as well. Be careful not too let the plants get too hot or the glue will loosen and the plants may fall apart.
  • Never use high heat or hot water removal methods as they will loosen the glue and cause the plants to fall apart.


  1. Ms Downshift says:

    Place in sink, spray with scrubbing bubble(s) type bathroom cleaner, rinse with cool water and let dry. This will remove smoke film and thick dust.

  2. I use Simple Green for all my silk plants and flowers. It cleans them really well, plus leaves a glossy finish on them (and makes the house smell fresh and clean!). I use a small amount of SG in a bucket of lukewarm water, or mix it up in a spray bottle for larger things like silk trees. Just dunk or spray for about 30 seconds. Swish around and rinse with cool water. Beautiful!!

  3. When washing large silk house plants, I put them in the shower and give them a good spray with a household cleaner, let it sit for a few minutes, then use the shower to rinse it thoroughly in cold water. Next, I find a place (outside, if needed, or in the shower) to hang the plant upside down, since the weight of the water will droop the leaves a bit (depending on leaf size). When almost dry, I return to a standing position to finish drying. Works great!

  4. I recently had to clean some silk flowers that had been stored for several years. Most were individual stalks. They were really dusty and the white ones were ash gray. I filled a basin white barely lukewarm water, then laid the stalks side be side a few at a time and sprayed them with a foaming glass cleaner (it’s the foaming part that makes the difference), getting the petals soaked. Then I kinda “massaged” the cleaner into the petals. Then I rinsed by swishing them around in the basin. It’s more gentle then putting them under running water. In just a matter of about 4 or 5 minutes, the ash gray ones were totally bright white and new looking! Oh, yeah, just shake them out and lay them on a towel to dry. One more quick thing. If you have arrangements that have very little dust, use “canned air.” It’s way less expensive than silk flower cleaner and can be found at your local Walmart in the electronics section.

  5. MisaLeena says:

    I have found that after a gentle feather dusting, or my preference a static duster dusting, that if you dilute clear Windex, and a dash of non-aerosol hair spray with warm water in a spray bottle {shake well to mix well} and gently but not to generously spray your silk flower arrangements that they come out rather well without loosing shape, and you can leave the wreaths or arrangements hanging right where they belong and they will air dry in no time!

  6. Wonderful tips. I can’t wait to experiment.

  7. William says:

    A woman friend gave me a beautiful, large arrangement of white roses in a gold container 15 years ago. They were looking pretty horrible. I finally decided something had to be done. I filled the left basin of the kitchen sink with lukewarm water and Ajax lemon dishwashing liquid and the right basin with tepid clean water. I turned it upside down and swished it around in the soapy water and then in the clean water. I needed to do the clean water rinse twice as I used a lot of soap. I was expecting a slight improvement. It looks like new! If I’d only known, I wouldn’t have waited so long.

  8. I have a large arrangement of gladiolas and each stem, 24 of them, are in acrylic holding them in place in the vase. Pastel colors. It’s too large for the sink. Any suggestions?

  9. Jackie,
    Wash the entire thing without removing the flowers. The soap shouldn’t hurt the vase; it might weaken the acrylic and cause one of the flowers to come out, but it could always be glued back in place. To wash it, use the bathtub instead of the sink, or take them outside and use a kiddie pool. Good luck!

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