Like any other surface in your home, plants are also a dust magnet that needs frequent cleaning. When it comes to a plant like a rubber plant with large foliage, we need to clean them frequently. I can understand it can be daunting for a new hobbyist to clean their rubber plant.
You must have a lot of questions in your mind. But don’t worry, in this article, we will teach you how to clean your rubber plant leaves like a pro. So, let’s get started.
Wiping the rubber plant leaves with a soft cloth or napkin, spray cleaning them, or showering your rubber plant briefly is one of the best ways to clean your rubber plant leaves. You can use milk, vinegar, or similar natural ingredients from your home to shine up the leaves of your rubber plant.
It would help if you were careful while cleaning the leaves of your rubber plant.
If you are not careful with the water temperature, the amount of water you use, or the process of cleaning, then you might end up damaging the beautiful foliage of your rubber plant.
Thus, in this article, we shall learn all about cleaning the leaves of your rubber plant the right way.
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Why you should clean rubber plant leaves?
Like any other houseplant, a rubber plant also needs light and carbon dioxide for the process of photosynthesis.
Using this process, rubber plants take in carbon dioxide and sunlight from their leaves to produce sugar and oxygen. The sugar is then used as a source of energy, and oxygen is released into the atmosphere.
But what does this have to do with cleaning the leaves of your rubber plant?
As the layer of dust or grime buildup on the leaves’ surface, the plant starts to struggle while exchanging gases and absorbing sunlight. That can result in stunted growth.
As the plant won’t be able to take in required carbon dioxide and light, the production of food goes down, and as a result, the plant will start storing the energy for survival rather than focusing on the growth of new foliage.
Thus, if you want to have a thriving rubber plant, provide them with proper care and regularly clean their leaves.
Also read: 7 signs your rubber plant is dying
What can I use to clean the leaves of my rubber plant?
When it comes to choosing the right product to clean your rubber plant leaves, there are a plethora of options you can go with. However, at first, you need to pick whether you want to go with a natural or chemical way.
If you want to get a natural shine on your rubber plant leaves without much chemical, then home-based natural products are the way to go. Or if you want your rubber plant leaves to shine really well, you can go with commercial products as well.
In either way, you will have options to choose from. So, with that out of the way, let us look at some natural leaf cleaning agents.
- Water with a clean microfibre cloth
- Diluted milk and cotton balls
- Diluted water and lemon juice mix
- Natural baby wipes
- Diluted dishwashing liquid and a soft clot
- Diluted neem oil solution and a cloth
I usually prefer any of these natural mixes that are available to me.
But if you want to go with any commercial product that you can simply spray and wipe, then Miracle-Gro Leaf Shine and Schultz Plant Shine Leaf Polish would be an ideal choice. Although there are other harsh chemical products available but these are some popular picks.
How do I clean my rubber plant leaves?
Usually, there are two ways to clean your rubber plant leaves. These include:
- Wiping down the plant
- Showering the plant
Both ways work well. However, the final choice of which route to choose will depend upon the plant size, space, and resources you have, and finally, your choices.
Let’s dive into the details of both of these methods:
Wiping down the leaves
Wiping down your rubber plant leaves is the most preferred and straightforward way to clean them.
A small plant will hardly take a few minutes to get it all cleaned up. Whereas if you have a large plant, then moving them into a shower is not a possibility. Thus, wiping them is all you can do.
Here are the steps you can follow to wipe your rubber plant leaves:
- Take a microfiber or cheesecloth and some cleaning agent.
- Gently hold the leaves from the bottom and clean the top part with the cloth.
- Always begin with the top leaf and move towards the bottom so that the dust from the top doesn’t make the lower one dirty again.
- Now use the cloth and gently wipe the lower part of the leaves.
- Wash the cloth after cleaning a few leaves and repeat the process.
- After cleaning, you can use a clean microfibre cloth and rub each leaf to buff the surface and get that extra shine.
- Always make sure you are extra careful while working with young leaves as those are delicate and can be harmed easily.
You might use any cleaning agent, whether natural or chemical, as discussed in the earlier part of the article.
Showering your rubber plant
Showering your rubber plant can be a quick and easy way to clean your rubber plant leaves. While wiping down might consume hours of your time, showering them is just going to take a few minutes. However, there are two crucial factors here.
- Size of the plant
- Space availability
If your plant is really big in size, then taking them to a shower or sink for a quick rinse might not be possible.
Also, another common problem is the lack of space in your home. If you are struggling with these issues, then go with the wiping method we discussed earlier.
However, if you think you can give your plant a quick shower, then go ahead and give this a try. Here are some steps you need to follow to shower your rubber plants:
- Take your rubber plant to the sink or shower and gently put them in.
- Take the showerhead and run the water at really low pressure.
- Gently wash the leaves starting from the top. It mimics what rain does in nature.
- The running water should take away most of the dust buildup. If you find some leaves are really dirty, then you might have to scrub them gently. But that’s it.
- Leave the plant in the sink or shower for the water to dry. You can also wipe the water if you want to do so.
- Place the plant back into their spot.
That might have sounded really easy to you, but there are a few hazards you need to be aware of. These include:
- High-pressure water should be avoided as it can damage the leaves of the plant.
- The water you use to shower the plant must be lukewarm. Too cold or too hot water can harm the leaves of your rubber plant and shock the plant.
- Always make sure your rubber plant pot has a sound drainage system. If the water from the shower doesn’t drain well, then it might lead to conditions like root rot and fungal infection.
What you should stay away from?
I reached out to the community to get more insight on cleaning products that we can use on our plants. Although there were a lot of good recommendations, there were a few bad ones as well. These include:
- Harsh chemical products
While wax and mayonnaise works like a charm in cleaning and bringing that lustrous shine on the leaves, it might be terrible for your rubber plant in the long run.
A study has found that these products can block the small pores on the leaf’s surface. These tiny pores are used for transpiration and photosynthesis. So, blocking these will affect the overall photosynthesis process of the plant.
Also, there are some harsh chemical products available in the market that are economical and does the job well. However, these chemicals are bad for the plant as well as a human being. So, avoid using them in the first place.
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Cleaning the leaves of your rubber plant is as important as cleaning our skin. The leaves of the rubber plant play a similar role to the skin for our body.
It helps excrete excess water, exchange gases, and absorb sunlight. Thus, you need to clean the leaves of your rubber plant regularly.
However, you need to be aware of the right method, hazards, and use the correct cleaning agent to bring that lustrous shine on the leaves.