The Effects of Tide Detergent Products on Peperomia Plants

Researched by Heather K.


The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effect of various Tide brand detergent products on the leaf of Peperomia plants.

I became interested in this idea when my mom was shopping for detergents and wondered, since there were so many, what their different effects would be.

The information gained from this experiment may be used by anyone who is experimenting with Peperomia plants or Tide detergent products.


My hypothesis is that the Tide Rapid Action Tablets will have the best effect on the plants, the Tide Deep Clean with Bleach Alternative won't do as well, and the Tide Deep Clean Regular will have the least effect.

I base my hypothesis on the fact that the Rapid Action Tablets are not as thick of a liquid as the other two and the thickness of the two liquids. I also base my hypothesis on the little lower pH level.

Experiment Design

The constants in this study were:

 The kind of plant 
The amount of soil in each pot
The amount of water each plant received (1/8 cup per every 3 days)
The amount of light each plant was exposed to (10 hours of light)
The temperature at which the plants were exposed to (21° C.)

The manipulated variable was the different types of Tide products and the amount of defused products.

The responding variable was the growth and reactions of the plants.

To measure the responding variable, I would use the measuring tape to see if the plant grows, and take pictures to see the changes in looks and record my results on a graph.

Quantity Item Description
4 Peperomia Plants
3 Plastic cups of defused Tide Products
1 Measuring tape
1 Electronic pH level tester
1 Window (for the light)
1 Camera
1 Roll of film with 24 pictures
1 Package of Tide Rapid Action Tablets
1 Bottle of Tide Deep Clean Regular
1 Bottle of Tide Deep Clean  with Bleach Alternative


1. Gather materials for the experiment.
2. Carefully measure out the defused Tide Rapid Action Tablets to 1/8 cup.
3. Pour the defused liquid into its specially marked Peperomia plant.
4. Record how that certain plant is doing.
5. Measure out the Tide Deep Clean with Bleach Alternative and repeat steps 1-4 with it.
6. Repeat steps 1-4 with the Tide Deep Clean with Bleach.
7. Do all steps 1-6 every 3 days at 7:00 p.m.
8. Observe and record information.


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine the effect of various Tide brand detergent products on the growth of Peperomia plants. 

The results were that other than the water treated plant, the plant treated with Tide Deep Clean Regular grew the most. Tide Rapid Action Tablets ranked 2nd in growth, while Deep Clean with Bleach Alternative grew the least amount. 

In addition, the appearances of the all the plants seem to be developing the Rhizoctonia leaf spot. I think it is because of the substances in the detergents and maybe because of how un-often they were watered.


My hypothesis was that the Tide Rapid Action Tablets will have the best effect on the plants, the Tide Deep Clean with Bleach Alternative wonít do as well, and the Tide Deep Clean Regular will have the least effect.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be rejected. 

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if I were to water it more often or use different brands of detergent the plants would grow better?

My findings should be useful for nursery owners so theyíll know not to use these products on Peperomia plants.

If I were to conduct this experiment again then I would water them more often and try with other types of detergents.
Research Report

Peperomia Obtusifolia
Peperomia Obtusifolia plants originated in Mexico and South America and are part of the Piperaceae family. They have succulent herbs and their leaves are fleshy, alternate, and long stalked. The leaves of the Peperomia are poisonous and though there are no known human cases, itís toxic to some animals. The alkaloids, a substance in the plant, are what make the leaves poisonous. 

Peperomia Diseases
There are many kinds of diseases that occur to Peperomia plants, especially Peperomia Obtusifolia. The following are some of them that I have heard of.  Pictures of each disease on the previous page.

Cercospora leaf spot
Symptoms: The Cercospora leaf spot is identified by tan to black raised spots (hence the name) found on the undersides of the leaf. The areas appear similar to a condition called edema. They are swollen and irregularly shaped. The two conditions are frequently confused. Peperomia Obtusifolia are especially likely to catch Cercospora leaf spot.

Phyllosticta leaf spot
Symptoms: This occurs primarily on watermelon Peperomia. The leaf spots are a dark brown/black and are dryish. They have concentric rings of light and dark tissue. The spots commonly start on the margins of the leaf and can spread across the entire leaf.

Rhizoctonia leaf spot
Symptoms: The Peperomia Obtusifolia cultivars are likely to catch Rhizoctonia leaf spot, which causes a mushy, dark brown to black leaf spot. They are elliptical to irregularly shaped and concentric rings of raised and depressed tissue are formed in these areas. In warm conditions, the web-like mycelium of the pathogen can be seen covering the affected plants.

Myrothecium leaf spot
Symptoms: The Myrothecium leaf spot most frequently appears on wounded areas of the leaves, such as the tips and breaks in the main vein, which occur during handling. The leaf spots are watery and nearly always contain the black and white fungal fruiting bodies in concentric rings near the outer edge of the spot. They are seen on the leaf undersides. The presence of these bodies is good evidence that the cause is Myrothecium.

Phytophthora and Pythium Stem and Root Rot
Symptoms: Peperomia plants rot at the soil line and show a mushy black lesion which can extend upwards into the leaves of the plants. The roots of the effected plants are blackened and mushy and their outer cortex can be easily removed from the inner core.

Sclerotium stem rot (a.k.a. Southern Blight)
Symptoms: A brown mushy area at the soil line of the cutting identifies stem rot caused by this pathogen (Sclerotium rolfsii). Plants in the rotting phase, as well as established plants, are frequently lostto to this disease. Brown fruiting bodies of the pathogen are commonly found in the rotted area. These structures are tan to dark brown, round, and the size of mustard seeds. Masses of white cottony mycelial growth are also found.

Ring Spot
Symptoms: The infected plants show a variety of symptoms, including ring spots (rings of light or dark pigmentation), leaf distortion, and stunting for the green variety of Peperomia Obtusifolia. The virus appears as necrotic lesions (brown areas) on the variegated cultivars and infected leaves generally fall off the plant.

Tide Rapid Action Tablets
Tide Rapid Action Tablets start dissolving as soon as they hit the wash water, then they release millions of tiny bubbles. The white part of the tablet provides overall cleaning, while the blue part gives a special ëstain fighting boostí. These tablets are supposed to help you relax while it takes half the time doing what the other Tide liquid products do. They are 4.1 cm wide, 4.1 cm long, and are 2.54 cm tall.


"Peperomia Plants," 02/05/01

"Tide Rapid Action Tablets," 02/06/01

"Common Diseases of Peperomia," 2/07/01

"Tide Products," 2/07/01

"Plants," 2/09/01


I would like to thank many people for helping me. A few of those people are my mom, Cindy, my little brother Ricky, my teachers Mrs. Cooley and Mr. Newkirk, and the people at Tree Top. All of them helped me throughout the project and without them I know that I wouldn't have been able to do as well as I did. Their help means more to me than they think. In conclusion, I say thank you to all that helped me. 

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