It’s hard to deny the beauty of fiddle leaf figs. Their large, ovular leaves make an impressive statement, no matter the plant’s height. However, these leaves sometimes seem to be dust magnets! If you’re thinking about grabbing some furniture polish and spraying down your plant’s leaves, stop right now. This guide will cover appropriate ways to remove dust from fiddle leaf figs and help the plant’s leaves shine.
Dusting Fiddle Leaf Figs – The Essentials
Excessive dust build-up on fiddle leaf fig leaves can limit light absorption and energy production, leading to the plant being unable to photosynthesize. For optimal plant care, you should remove dust every 3 to 4 weeks from a fiddle leaf fig’s leaves by wiping them with a cloth, spraying them with a hose, or placing your plant in the shower.
The Impact of Dust on a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant
As your plant’s leaves become covered with dust, they will experience decreased ability to absorb sunlight. A few specks of dust probably won’t cause issues, but a heavy layer may cause noticeable problems such as a drooping fiddle leaf fig, brown spots, leaf drop, yellowing leaves, and slow growth.
So why do plants even need sunlight?
When plants can’t absorb enough sunlight, they will not be able to photosynthesize properly. Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert energy from the sun, carbon dioxide, and water into oxygen, sugars, and water. Plants then use these sugars to complete essential plant processes.
Even if your fiddle leaf fig is in a bright area, dust on leaves can limit light the amount of light reaching the leaves interiors. This means decreased photosynthesis and decreased sugar production.
A lack of light won’t cause immediate changes. However, as time goes on, you may notice your fiddle leaf fig become stunted, discolored, or weak. All of these are signs of a lack of light.
Along with causing issues with plant health, dusty leaves are unsightly! For more, see our essential guide to Fiddle Leaf Fig light requirements.
The Best Techniques to Remove Dust on Your Fiddle Leaf Fig
Now that it’s clear you should remove dust from your fiddle leaf fig, it’s time to determine the best way to do so. While there are various methods you can use, some are better than others.
When you’re figuring out how to remove dust, think about the size of your plant and the severity of the dust. You can also try out multiple methods and see which one works best.
Wipe the Leaves with a Cloth
One way to remove dust from your plant is by wiping the leaves with a rag or duster. This method is beneficial if your plant is too large to move. However, it can take some time and attention to dust each leaf.
This process is similar to that of dusting furniture. Just take your duster of choice and gently wipe the plant’s leaves.
If you find that the dust is sticking to the leaves, you can dip a cloth in water before dusting. However, never dust your plant with cleaning solutions designed for furniture!
It’s also best to stay away from leaf-shining products and oils. These products can clog leaf pores called stomata and therefore limit gas exchange.
Spray with a Hose or Spray Bottle
You can also spray the dust off with a hose, provided that your fiddle leaf fig is small enough to pick up and move outside. Once your plant is outside, gently spray the leaves with the shower setting of a hose.
Note that water will run down the plant and into the pot. Therefore, you should account for the weight of wet soil before you choose to move your plant outside.
Another factor to consider is the weather. Avoid spraying your plant outside if the temperature is below 60ºF.
Place the Plant in the Shower
If you don’t have a hose or don’t want to move your plant outside, you can still rinse the dust off in the shower.
Place your plant in the shower, and turn on the water, so it hits the plant’s leaves. If you have a shower head with different settings, it’s best to use a rain shower setting rather than a jet setting.
Aim for a warm water temperature, between 60-80ºF.
Note that the soil will become saturated, and some soil may wash out of the pot’s drainage holes. Therefore, you may need to spend a few minutes cleaning up afterward.
Gently Shake the Plant
If the leaves are just a little bit dusty, you may be able to shake off the dust. To try this, grab the plant’s stem and gently shake it.
Note that this method is unlikely to remove heavy layers of dust.
How Do I Keep Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Shiny?
One of the keys to keeping your plant’s leaves shiny is to keep them free of dust! After you deal with the dust, you can take other steps to increase leaf shine.
Before we cover the steps to keep your leaves shiny, it’s important to note that you should be careful of what products you use on your plant’s leaves. Using the wrong products—even if they’re labeled for plant use—can clog leaf pores. This can limit gas exchange and cause issues.
You should also realize that many products will cause shiny leaves but will also cause long-term problems. This applies to oils and oil-based products.
Once you’ve checked in on your fiddle leaf fig’s environment, follow these steps to keep the leaves shiny.
- Remove the dust using either a rag or water. Make sure to remove the dust from both the tops and undersides of the leaves.
- Mix one tablespoon of castile soap into one gallon of water.
- Dip a rag in the soapy water and use it to gently wipe all sides of the plant’s leaves.
- As the rag collects dust, rinse it off in soapy water.
Cleaning Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves FAQs:
Can I Use Olive or Vegetable Oils to Shine Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves?
These oils will make leaves shiny. However, they’re not recommended. The oils can clog leaf pores which can limit gas exchange and photosynthesis.
Are Egg Whites Good for Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves?
You should not apply egg whites to fiddle leaf fig leaves.
Can You Use Milk to Clean Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves?
The fats in milk can help increase the shine of fiddle leaf fig leaves. However, since the same fats can also cause issues, you should avoid using milk to clean plant leaves.
How Often Should You Clean Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves?
This depends on how dusty the environment is. A good rule of thumb is to clean your leaves once every month or two.
The Final Word
No matter how dusty your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves are, you can restore your plant’s shine. Remember to choose dusting and shining products carefully and be gentle as you clean.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of fig trees.