3 Easy Steps to Clean Chalky Residue on your Terra Cotta Pots

We all know how terracotta plant pots get a crusty white residue on them over time. That looks actually pretty bad. However, don’t stress it out, cleaning them is quick and easy. In this article, I will show you exactly how to clean chalky residue on your terracotta pots in 3 easy and quick steps!

I like using terracotta pots mostly because they absorb water from the soil. These pots also help with preventing overwatering your plants. However, the downside of using terracotta pots is that they also absorb fertilizers, salts and other chemicals from the tap water. Hence, over time, all these salts and chemicals will build up and create the chalky white residue on your beautiful clay pots.

Thus, to prevent this, I would recommend using rainwater to water your plants instead of tap water. Also, you should also skip the chemical fertilizers and use an organic fertilizer or an organic compost solution. You don’t want dirty pots because they can harbor pests and diseases. Thus, cleaning and disinfecting terracotta pots is something you should do immediately.

First off, if a plant has been growing in the same terracotta pot for too long, then it’s time to repot that plant and give it some fresh soil anyway. So take this opportunity to clean the pots too. Alright, let’s get busy cleaning some terracotta pots!

Now, make sure you gather all the supplies you need for this cleaning:

– pot brush
– white vinegar
– a utility tub for your large terracotta planters or a bucket for your smaller ones
– and dishwasher

Simply follow the instructions below and you will get the job done:

1. First, remove the loose dirt

Use the pot brush to remove any loose dirt as you can off of the clay pot. You could also brush cobwebs and other debris off your pots.

2. Then, soak your pots in a homemade vinegar & water solution

Thus, you would need to make a homemade solution of 1 cup of white vinegar (5% acidity) for every 3-4 cups of water. The less vinegar you use in the water, the longer you’ll need to soak the pots. Completely submerge the clay pots in the solution, it will dissolve the chalky residues. Hence, let the solution act for about 30 minutes. Now, if the buildup wipes or scrubs off easily, they’re done.

3. Run pots through the dishwasher

As the last step, you could run the terra cotta pots through the quick wash cycle on my dishwasher. Of course, this step is quite optional. However, I like to do this because it is great for disinfecting the pots further. Now, if you don’t have a dishwasher, but still want to do this, you can use a little extra elbow grease and scrub the pots in soapy water. That’s it, you’re done! See, I told you it was easy.

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