Tips for cleaning artificial or dried flowers

July 28, 2015

Fresh flowers are a great way to enjoy the colour and smells of spring inside and they don't need much looking after, but their days are numbered. Artificial and dried flowers can last indefinitely and do not need regular attention to keep them clean. But they do require some care.

Tips for cleaning artificial or dried flowers

1. Dusting artificial or dried flowers

  • This is something you need to do occasionally. The first line of defence is to blow off the dust.
  • Use a feather duster or a hair dryer on its lowest, coolest setting for sturdy blooms.
  • Or you could try using a turkey baster to squirt air on more fragile artificial or dried flowers.
  • The term 'silk' flower is usually a misnomer today. Most fabric flowers are made of polyester or other blends.

2. For a more thorough cleaning

Try this method, which is safe for both plastic and fabric flowers. (Some people say they've used it successfully on dried natural flowers, too, but proceed at your own risk.)

  • Draw enough water into the sink (or bathtub, if necessary) so that the flowers can be submerged.
  • Add a squirt of mild dishwashing liquid and slosh it around to make suds.
  • Then put the flowers in the water, holding them down to cover.
  • Gently raise and lower them a couple of times.
  • Drain the water and rinse the flowers gently under the sprayer.
  • Allow them to air dry thoroughly.

3. More dried and artificial flower-enhancing tricks

  • Use a steam iron, set on the lowest setting, to liven up those tired paper flowers that are looking a bit crumpled and sad.
  • Dried natural flowers will last longer if they've been given a few light coats of sealer from an aerosol spray can. You can use hair spray or a clear lacquer or acrylic sealer (available from hardware and craft stores). The flowers can be resealed after cleaning.
  • For a more ambitious finish, you might want to consider changing the look of flowers that are passed cleaning.
  • Spray artificial or dried flowers with gold or silver spray paint and use them for Christmas or other decorations.
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