Why You'll Want Mayonnaise On Hand If You Have A Lot Of Houseplants

Mayonnaise has a number of surprising alternative household uses. One, in particular, may pique your curiosity if you're a plant lover or if you want to achieve insta-worthy pics of glossy green foliage to show off your urban jungle to like-minded crazy plant people online. You may cringe at the thought of slavering mayo all over your babies, but using mayonnaise on plants is an age-old house trick that has been used for years to clean off dust and debris, restoring luster and shine back to the leaf.

When you don't clean the leaves of your houseplants, dust and dirt build up over time, making it more difficult for the plant to photosynthesize. Photosynthesis is the natural process in which plants feed off sunlight so that they can grow. Plant expert and author of At Home with Plants Ian Drummond (via Livingetc) recommends cleaning every 7 to 14 days. He explains: "If dust is left on the houseplant's leaves it creates a barrier restricting their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and sunlight."

Keeping your leaves dust-free not only helps the plant to grow bigger leaves faster, but it also helps to keep pests at bay, which is what every plant mama and papa wants to hear! Perhaps this is why the mayo hack trend is so popular. It's certainly effective at removing dust and dirt from leaves.

How to use the mayo hack for shiny houseplant leaves

The mayonnaise hack is really simple. You'll need your plants, a soft cloth or some tissue — kitchen towels or toilet roll with both work and a bottle of standard mayonnaise. First, find a spot in your house where you can place the plant at a height that makes it easy to reach all of the leaves with plenty of space to rotate it, like a kitchen table or the floor for larger plants.

Next, squeeze some of the mayonnaise onto your soft cloth or tissue. You won't need much, no more than a teaspoon. If you're not sure, just start off with a small dot and add more as you go. To avoid overloading your leaves, you can try adding the mayo to a small bowl first with some water and mix until you have a runny consistency.

Finally, wipe the mayonnaise mixture over the top surface of the leaves, rubbing the product in gently so as not to bend or break any of the leaves. You should see any dust and dirt being wiped off the leaf, leaving behind a glossy and healthy-looking plant! 

The pros and cons of using mayonnaise to clean your plants

Using mayonnaise to remove dust build-up works because it contains a mild amount of vinegar, which is an effective cleaning agent. Mayo also adds oils from the egg yolks to the leaf too, which is what gives them that coveted shine! Not only will the hack resolve dull and lifeless leaves, but it will also help you to develop a regular plant-cleaning habit that'll bring your attention to any pest problems before they get out of hand.

Using mayonnaise is clearly a simple and effective cleaning method for achieving lush leaves, but is it good for your plants in the long term? When using mayonnaise, it's important to be aware of the fact that if you're not careful, you could be leaving behind a thin layer of residue. This wouldn't be good for your plant.

Plant leaves have pores similar to the pores on your skin. These microscopic openings are called "stomata," and they can be present on different areas of the plant, like the leaves and stem. They play an important role in gaseous exchange and photosynthesis, controlling the transpiration rate by opening and closing. Mayo could potentially clog these openings up if used too thickly or too often, which is why adding water to the mayonnaise first is a good idea, as it will thin out the mixture.