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Fiddle leaf figs produce large, showy fiddle-shaped leaves, but being attractive isn’t their only purpose. Leaves contain the chlorophyll necessary to perform photosynthesis and make food for the entire plant. 

However, dusty or dirty leaves cannot absorb the sunlight they need to produce energy for the plant. Keeping the leaves clean improves the plant’s health and keeps it looking good, too, which is why knowing how to clean fiddle leaf fig leaves properly can be a game changer for your plant.

So keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to make your fiddle leaf fig leaves shiny and healthy!

How to Clean Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves (Step-by-Step Guide)

How to clean fiddle leaf fig leaves

How you clean your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves depends on how much dust and grimes has built up on the leaves and the size of the plant.

1. Dust the leaves with a duster

Lightly soiled leaves can be cleaned with a feather duster to remove surface dust. If done regularly, this can keep dust and grime at bay and keep your fiddle leaf fig leaves looking healthy and glossy.

2. Clean your plant’s leaves with a damp cloth

A clean, soft cloth moistened with water or a solution of ¼ teaspoon of dish soap to a quart of water can be used to clean the surface of your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves. Use care to handle the leaves gently as you wipe away dust and dirt from the leaves.

3. Wash your fiddle leaf fig in the sink

Small to medium-sized fiddle leaf fig plants can be cleaned using the kitchen sprayer in the sink. Use lukewarm water to gently spray each leaf to remove dust and dirt on the surface.

For small plants, you can fill a bowl with water and a squirt of mild dish detergent and then swish the leaves through the water. If you choose this method, water your plant thoroughly the day before, so the soil stays put as you tilt or tip the plant while washing it.

cleaned plant by someone who knows how to make fiddle leaf fig leaves shiny

4. Give your houseplant a shower

Large fiddle leaf fig plants with a more severe dust and dirt build-up can be cleaned in the shower using a sprayer.

  1. Place the plant in the shower.
  2. Set the water temperature to lukewarm. Either hot or cold water can shock and stress your plant.
  3. Spray all sides of the leaves, turning the plant to ensure all the leaves are washed thoroughly.
  4. Allow the plant to drip dry in the shower.
  5. Empty the saucer or drip basin to the plant pot to drain away any excess water and avoid your fiddle leaf fig becoming overwatered.
  6. Move the plant back to its original location.

Some fiddle leaf fig owners choose to take the plant outside and wash it with the garden hose, but unless you can adjust the water temperature from the hose, this can cause stress to your plant. Cold water from the hose may shock your plant.

How do you shine fiddle leaf fig leaves?

Many plant lovers use a variety of leaf shine products to keep their fiddle leaf fig leaves bright and shiny. You can buy leaf shine products for houseplants at your local department store or gardening center to make your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves shiny.

Others use a variety of home remedies to make their fiddle leaf fig leaves shiny. Coconut oil, olive oil, and mayonnaise are some of the most popular. 

Keep in mind: When it comes to using leaf shine products and oils, less is always more as they can pose a risk of clogging the pores on the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig plant. Clogged pores prevent the plant from breathing and can kill the plant.

To reduce the risk to your plant, when using leaf shine products or home remedies to make your fiddle leaf fig tree’s leaves shine, apply them to the upper side of the leaves only and avoid getting oils on the underside of the leaf.

How to get the best leaf shine for fiddle leaf figs

Healthy leaves on a fiddle leaf fig have a natural sheen and do not necessarily need special products to keep them shiny. Cleaning them with mild dish soap and water is all that is required to keep the leaves looking their best.

To make your fiddle leaf fig tree leaves shine in this way, you can mix one quarter of a teaspoon of dish soap with one quart of warm water to make a solution for washing the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig. 

From there, either spray the leaves gently with the solution (this spray bottle is very inexpensive and will do the job nicely) and wipe them clean with a soft cloth, such as an old t-shirt or wet the cloth and gently wipe down the leaves.

How often should you clean fiddle leaf fig leaves?

How often you need to clean the leaves on your fiddle leaf fig depends on your environment. If you live in an area with lots of dust or have pets, you may need to clean your fiddle leaf fig leaves once a week. However, for others, your fiddle leaf fig leaves may stay clean for weeks.

As a rule, your fiddle leaf fig leaves need to be dusted whenever you dust your home. To determine if your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves need cleaning, blow on the leaves. If there is more dust or grime on the leaves than can be easily blown away with a puff of air, the leaves need to be cleaned.

person spraying plant to make their fiddle leaf fig tree leaves shine

What do you use to clean fiddle leaf fig leaves?

To clean your fiddle leaf fig leaves, simple household cleaning items will do. This includes:

  • Duster: You can clean leaves with a light coat of dust by dusting them regularly with a feather duster. If the layer of dust is light enough to blow away with a quick puff of air, dusting them with a feather duster is a good option.
  • Soft cloth: Use a soft cloth moistened with distilled water or a mixture of ¼ teaspoon dish soap to one quart of water to wipe the leaves clean.
  • Kitchen sprayer or shower: Fiddle leaf fig plants with a heavy coat of dust and dirt are best cleaned in the kitchen sink or bathtub using a sprayer. Make sure to use lukewarm water as either hot or cold water can cause stress to your plant. Rinse all the leaves thoroughly and allow the plant to drip dry before moving it back to its normal location.
  • Cleaning solution (optional): As outlined above, you can use specific liquid that has been created to clean fiddle leaf figs, although a dish soap solution can also be effective.
  • Spray bottle (optional): While you dont strictly need a spray bottle to spray your cleaning solution, as dipping the cloth in the liquid works just as nicely, it can make the job easier by letting you disburse the cleaning solution more evenly over the leaves.

Can you clean fiddle leaf fig leaves with coconut oil?

Some fiddle leaf fig owners report cleaning or polishing the leaves of their fiddle leaf fig with a dab of coconut oil and a soft cloth. However, using oil on the leaves poses a risk of clogging the pores and preventing the leaves from breathing.

A safer alternative to make your fiddle leaf fig leaves shiny is to mix a few drops of coconut oil into a spray bottle of water and use it to clean the leaves, using care not to get the solution on the undersides of the leaves.

Can you clean fiddle leaf fig leaves with milk?

Many plant lovers report using diluted milk to clean the leaves of their fiddle leaf fig plants by mixing half a cup of milk with one cup of water in a spray bottle. If you want to try this, do so on only a leaf or two and observe the health of the leaves for a week.

It should be noted that University Libraries (UNT) warns against using milk to clean or shine the foliage on houseplants and it’s for this reason that I’d generally recommend being cautious in spot testing the milk on your plant before cleaning or shining other leaves with milk. It may be fine, but better to be safe than sorry, especially as no one wants to deal with a fiddle leaf fig that’s dropping leaves.

shiny and clean fiddle leaf fig leaves

Can you use olive oil on a fiddle leaf fig to clean it?

Like other oils and leaf shine products, olive oil will make the leaves on your fiddle leaf fig look glossy and shiny, but it comes with a risk. Oils can block the pores on the leaves and prevent them from breathing. If you choose to use olive oil on your fiddle leaf fig leaves, dilute it with water first. 

To do this, mix five parts water to one part olive oil and shake to mix it well. Put the solution in a spray bottle and use it to clean the upper sides of the leaves on your fiddle leaf fig tree.

It is vital to avoid getting the olive oil solution on the undersides of the leaves, where it can clog the pores and prevent your plant from breathing.

Is egg white good for fiddle leaf fig plant leaves?

Like other home remedies for cleaning and shining the leaves on your fiddle leaf fig plant, many plant owners report using egg whites to clean and shine the leaves. To use egg whites on your fiddle leaf fig leaves, mix egg whites with warm water and saturate a cotton ball with the mixture, then wipe the tops of the leaves. 

Use caution not to get the egg white mixture on the undersides of the leaves when cleaning and shining them in this way. This will clog the pores the plant needs to breathe and will damage your plant.

Why should you clean fiddle leaf fig leaves?

Dust and dirt collect on the leaves of your plants and can cause them to look dull and unattractive. It also makes it harder for the plant to absorb energy from the sun and perform photosynthesis effectively. Cleaning the leaves improves both the appearance and health of your fiddle leaf fig plants.

Make it a habit to clean the leaves regularly to prevent dust and dirt buildup. This will keep your plant looking good and will improve its health, too.

person spraying small plant as they learn how to clean fiddle leaf fig leaves

How to remove water spots on fiddle leaf fig leaves

Watering your fiddle leaf fig or misting it with hard water can cause blotchy water spots on the leaves. Removing them and switching to distilled or bottled water will keep them looking good.

  1. Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice with one quart of warm water. Shake or stir to mix them thoroughly.
  2. Saturate a soft cloth or cotton ball with the lemon and water mixture.
  3. Gently scrub the spots from the leaves with the saturated cotton ball. Lemon juice is acidic and will dissolve the hard water spots leaving the foliage clean and shining.
  4. Rinse the leaves with plain distilled water.
  5. Avoid watering your plant with hard water in the future. Use distilled, bottled, or rainwater to water or mist your fiddle leaf fig plant to avoid spots from hard water in the future.

Considerations when cleaning fiddle leaf fig plants

There are many home remedies for cleaning and shining the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig plant, but they come with a risk of damaging the leaves or clogging the pores. If you choose to use home remedies or leaf shine products, do so with caution.

Before using a product or remedy on your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves, check the credibility of the source and try it out on a leaf or two. Wait a week or two and observe the health of your plant and any leaves you used a leaf shine product on.

Leaf shine products and remedies that leave an oily residue can make your fiddle leaf fig tree leaves shine for a few days, but they may cause more dust and grime to stick to the leaves. They can also interfere with the plant’s ability to have your fiddle leaf fig’s light requirements met by preventing it from absorbing sunlight and make it difficult to perform photosynthesis as it should. The residue left on the leaves may also cause the leaves to burn or scald in direct sunlight.

Cleaning the leaves of your fiddle leaf fig plant is good for the plant and makes it look healthier. Make it a part of your regular plant care routine. Some find success in dusting the leaves whenever the home needs dusting, while others routinely dust the leaves every time the plant needs watering. Choose a method that works best for you.