DIY, Home and Garden

Cleaning A Used Clay Pot

Strawberry pot before cleaning.

As noted in a previous post, I got this nice strawberry pot at an estate sale for $2.00. It was dirty and still 1/2 full of potting soil, and since I don’t want to plant my adorable succulent plants in someone else’s dirt (and bacteria, God forbid!) the Hubs dumped out all the old dirt and I set out to find the best way to clean a used terra cotta pot.

After reading an article and watching a video about cleaning terra cotta pots, I decided that I would start by using an old nylon dish brush and some warm water with Dawn dishwashing detergent to clean the outside and inside of the pot. I also could have used a scrubby sponge to scrub off the green and black spots, but I wasn’t trying to get it looking perfect. I like a little grunge, as they say on HGTV’s Home Town.

Cleaning the pot

To disinfect the pot after cleaning, I filled a bucket with a gallon of water. The video and article I saw both said to mix 1 part bleach to 9 parts water, but I noticed my bottle of concentrated bleach had instructions to use only 1/3 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water (which is 1 part bleach to 48 parts water, I think. Isn’t it? Mathing – sometimes I got it, sometimes I don’t.), so I added the 1/3 cup bleach to my bucket of water. I scrubbed the pot inside and out with the bleach water, being careful to get in all the little planting holes on the sides.

After cleaning and scrubbing with bleach water. Still a nice chippy vintage vibe!

After cleaning and disinfecting the pot and rinsing thoroughly, I am leaving it in the “sun” to let any bleach that might be left on the pot evaporate. I say “sun”, because we are having an atmospheric river such as the state hasn’t seen in 80 years, and we aren’t sure if the sun will actually come out at all this month! The video I watched said that to make sure there is no bleach left in your pot when it’s dry you should sniff it, and if you smell chlorine you should rinse it again and let it sit some more.

So, tomorrow after sniffing my strawberry pot to make sure there is no trace of chlorine left, I will plant my new plants! Now, off to decide which plants to plant where!

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