Cleaning and Disinfecting Pots Is It Really Necessary?

Cleaning and disinfecting pots for reuse is one of those jobs we tend to want to skip.  As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until last year when I was volunteering for the master gardeners plant sale fundraiser, that I realized how vital of a step this is.  The reason cleaning and disinfecting is so important is because used pots can harbor disease organisms, which can reinfect the newly planted plants.  If you are reusing pots for seedlings this is a step you don’t want to skip, especially, if your seedlings are going in a greenhouse, or other enclosed space, where diseases can spread.

Cleaning and disinfecting plastic pots:

1.  Knock any dirt and trash out of pots.

2.  Clean pots in a bin filled with water using a sponge or brush to remove any debris stuck in the pots.  This is done because if debris is left in the pots, diseases can hide under it and not be killed in the disinfecting process.

3.  Submerge pots in a 10 percent, one part bleach to nine parts water, bleach solution for 10 minutes.

4.  Rinse pots with clean water after they come out of the bleach solution.

5.  Air dry.

Cleaning and disinfecting Terra Cotta pots:

1.  Knock any dirt and trash out of pots.

2.  Clean pots in a bin filled with water using a steel wool or a wire brush to remove any debris stuck in the pots.  If there are tough mineral deposits use a knife to scrape them off.

3.  Submerge pots in a 10 percent, one part bleach to nine parts water, bleach solution for 20 minutes.

4.  Rinse pots with clean water after they come out of the bleach solution.

5.  Air dry.

Clean pots of all debris.

Disinfect pots by soaking in bleach solution.

Use a 10% bleach solution to soak pots. 1 part bleach 9 parts water.

After rinsing the bleach solution from pots allow them to air dry.

I still have more pots to clean and disinfect so I must get to work.  I want to have them all ready for when I up pot my veggies.

Happy Planting!


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