Artificial plants and flowers are an easy and inexpensive way to maintain a beautiful home, garden, or patio all year long. The major downfall to artificial flowers is that they tend to collect dust over a short period of time, especially flowers located near windows and on porches or verandas. The good news is that there are quite a few different ways to clean dust and build up dirt from artificial flowers to refresh their appearance.
Some methods are quick and easy, while other take a little more time and patience, but ultimately, each method should lead to the same result. The reason for selecting one method or another may depend on the level of dust, dirt, and grime that has built up on the flowers, as well as the available resources to clean them.
Before buyers attempt to clean their artificial flowers, they should evaluate the level of dirt that has accumulated on them, and then determine which of the cleaning methods are more suitable based on the manufacture assembly of the plants.
Determining How to Clean Artificial Flowers
Some cleaning methods are more suited for artificial flowers that can easily be removed from their base, but other methods allows the flower arrangement to stay intact while still removing the dirt. There are some artificial flowers that are assembled in a way that is not conducive to some of the more stringent methods of cleaning, and there are certain parts of an artificial flower that needs to be scrutinized before a method is chosen.
Petals, Leaves, and Blossoms
Cleaners need to decipher the type of material that the leaves and blossoms are made from. This could be plastic, or types of fabric including polyester, velvet, and silk. Also it should be determined if they have a latex finish. In regards to the petals, the details are sometimes hand-painted, and this need to be considered before certain chemicals are used.
Bases, Stems, and Branches
Cleaners should check the bases of the plants to see if the flower supports were clamped or glued on. They should check to see if the stems are hand-wrapped with floral tape or moulded from plastic. Some floral arrangements have branches that are moulded together or snapped on, so they cannot be disassembled, or it may be difficult to disassemble and reassemble; however, cleaners need to check if they were made only from plastic or if a thin wire was added.
The main point of thoroughly inspecting the flowers is to minimize or avoid the possibility of damaging the materials and the finishes of the artificial flowers and also avoid damaging, dislodging, or losing any of the parts used to assemble the plants. In essence, cleaners should take the flower manufacturing and dust level into account before deciding on a cleaning method.
Cleaning a Little Dust off of Artificial Flowers
If the artificial flowers are just a little dusty, the methods below can be considered. They are, however, not suitable for heavy dirt or grime as they may not be effective.
Use a Cleaning Duster
Using a duster is probably a very obvious cleaning method, but as stated before, this is only effective on flowers that have only gathered very little dust. While it is not good for the removal of heavy dirt, it can refresh artificial flowers if used to lightly dust them on a regular basis. After some time has passed, more stringent methods may need to be considered.
Use a Blow Dryer or Vacuum Cleaner
Using a blow dryer to blast the dust away can be rather effective on light dust that has not yet began to stick on. The vacuum cleaner works in an opposite manner but produces the same results when used on similar dirt levels. The latter method involves covering the opening of the hose with a sock or stocking cap, which can be secured with a string or elastic band, and then applying the suction to the flowers. However, the major disadvantage with these two methods is that they release the dust into the air, and this may not sit well with most people, especially those with allergies.
Cleaning Artificial Flowers with More Dust and Dirt
The aforementioned techniques are quick and simple and did not require the artificial flowers to be separated or dismantled. However, for flowers with more dust and cleaners that have more time, more vigorous methods can be considered.
Use Compressed Air
This method uses a little more resources than what may already be lying around the house, but compressed air can be found at a local office supply store or an online store that sells computer parts and accessories. Compressed air works great, but the problem that some cleaners may face is that the powerful blasts of air may loosen certain assembly parts and result in the flowers falling apart sooner than later. While the compressed air definitely works better than vacuum cleaner or a hairdryer, it may still not be enough to remove built-up dirt.
Use Flower Cleaning Sprays
Flower cleaning sprays, as their names suggest, are sprays specifically created to clean artificial flowers. They are designed to dissolve the dust and dirt and then dry without leaving any oily or sticky residue on the flowers. Of the two cleaning methods in this category, flower cleaners are more effective but may often be more expensive. Moreover, flower cleaning sprays may not be ideal for some types of artificial flowers; in fact, spraying silk flowers may actually inset the dust or dirt rather than remove it.
Artificial Flowers with Dirt and Grime
Cleaning heavily soiled artificial flowers may require more time and effort, and it may require the flowers to be disassembled if possible. Disassembling the flower does not necessarily mean that a rose needs to be broken down petal by petal but rather that the flower heads be removed from the stems.
Use a Bag of Salt or Cornmeal
A bag filled with plain table salt or cornmeal can be an effective cleaning tool for dirty artificial flowers, but coarse salt tend to work best. This technique does not require a large amount of salt; four or five tablespoonfuls would do just fine.
With the salt placed inside a ziplock bag, the flowers should then be put in and the entire thing shaken for about 60 seconds. The salt or cornmeal grains work like tiny scrubs to gently lift the dirt and grime from the artificial flowers. The flowers can then be removed from the bag and reused after the excess salt or cornmeal has been shaken off. If small particles of salt or cornmeal are still on the flowers, they can be removed with a duster. Lastly, cleaners have to be careful about damaging small parts when using this method or rubbing off hand-painted designs.
Spray with Water and Vinegar
This method is for flowers than can tolerate moisture. While the mixture is not used to saturate the flowers, they may be mildly dampened. Cleaners should acquire a spray bottle and then fill it half with distilled vinegar and half with water. After shaking vigorously, the solution should be lightly sprayed onto the artificial flowers and then left to air dry.
If silk flowers are being cleaned, the cleaner may want to first test a small inconspicuous section to ensure that the colour does not run. If the flowers are hand-wrapped with floral tape or have hand-painted designs, it is best to use another method to clean them.
Use Basic Soap and Water
Next to dusting, this is probably the second option that quickly comes to mind, but saturating artificial plants in soap and water is not always the best idea. Using soap and water is a very effective way to remove heavy soil and built-up dirt, but it is also the most likely method to damage certain types of artificial flowers. Because the flowers may be wet for a little while, it may warp certain fabric flowers or loosen the glue on any assembled type.
If cleaners decide to use this method, they should half full a large basin or sink with water and a little bit of dish washing liquid or shampoo. These types of liquid soap are chosen because they are mild yet good at degreasing. Additionally, the water should be warm or at room temperature.
To start, the flowers should be submerged in the water, whether dismantled or otherwise, and then gently swished around. Cleaners may use their fingers to lightly rub stuck on areas, but no brushes or harsh chemicals should be used. The flowers should then be taken out of the water and blot dried with a clean piece of cloth or towel. The flowers must never be left to soak but washed immediately and dried. As a matter of fact, it is best to wash a bunch of flowers one bud at a time.
How to Buy Artificial Flowers and Cleaning Items on eBay
If you decide to forego the cleaning process and buy new flowers, simply type "artificial flowers" on the eBay home page to browse through the variety of choices. If the collection is too overwhelming, you can activate some of the integrated filters, such as flower type, material, and colour. If you are already sure of the type of flower that you want to buy, you can bypass the filters and input more specific keywords in your initial search. For instance, you could type "pink silk flowers", and you would have already taken care of the colour and material in one search.
However, if you do decide to clean your flowers, you can still find all of the household items on eBay by searching for them. For instance, you could search for coarse salt to clean flowers with medium level soil, or vinegar to make a solution for heavily soiled flowers. Once you have decided on the item or items that you wish to purchase, you can simply check out and make your payment.
Some people do not attempt to clean their artificial flowers; they simply throw them out and buy new ones. Others sometimes grow attached to their artificial flowers and arrangements and would rather clean them than throw them out. However, before cleaning the flowers, the cleaner needs to take a close look at the various flower types and arrangements and take note of the findings. Cleaners need to consider the manufacturing make-up and assembly of the flowers before trying to determine which cleaning method would serve best.
Once they know the weak areas for each flower type, they can weigh the various cleaning methods and then decide on the best one based on the amount of dirt that is on the flowers, the delicacy of their assembly, and the available resources of cleaning products. Whether cleaners decide to buy new flowers or clean the old ones, eBay is a good online store to shop at due to the fact that it has a wide variety of household products as well as artificial flowers available.