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How to Clean Flower Pots

Updated on March 25, 2011

With spring time quickly approaching, gardening enthusiasts are making plans to pot beautiful annuals to add color and life to patios and repot houseplants which are entering the active growth period after the dreary days of winter. But without a properly cleaned flower pot or planter, you could be putting your plants at risk of disease. Below are simple step-by-step tips to clean the planters you currently own as well as new container purchases for the upcoming season.

  1. Gather together all the flower pots and planters you wish to clean. If the pots are small, you can use one (or a few) five gallon buckets. For larger pots and planters, using a utility sink or bathtub would be more beneficial. Don’t forget to wash drainage saucers as well.
  2. Spray the pots and planters with a water hose to remove any dirt and debris clinging to the pots.
  3. Mix lukewarm water and bleach (at a 10:1 ratio) in the buckets and/or sink or tub. Submerge the pots and planters into the bleach water and allow them to soak for a few minutes.
  4. Using an old rag, scrub the pots to wash away any residual dirt and rinse very well with fresh water. If stubborn mineral deposits persist, a more abrasive cleaning tool, such as a wire brush or pad, can be used. However, take care that such tools may scratch glazed and plastic pots.
  5. Allow the pots to air dry. Glazed or plastic pots and planters can be dried with a towel if desired. Porous clay pots, such as those made of terra cotta, should be allowed to air dry completely.
  6. Your pots and planters are now ready to be filled with colorful plants to welcome spring.

If you do not have bleach readily available, distilled white vinegar will work as well. If this method is desired, mix three parts water to one part vinegar in place of bleach in Step 3. Do not mix bleach and vinegar together. The combination will release a harmful toxic gas. Instead, choose one and mix only with water.

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