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Whether it is a plain red clay flower pot or a fancy glazed ceramic flower pot, having discolouration and stains on it not only looks bad but may also affect your plants growing in it. Stains and discolouration of flower pots are usually caused by minerals, fungus, algae or mould, but you can easily clean your flower pots to look like new again.
Glazed Ceramic Flower Pots
The nice thing about glazed pottery, besides its attractive appearance, is it is usually easier to clean than unglazed pots. Glazes are non-porous, and therefore, stains and discolouration stay on the surface of the flower pot and are not absorbed into the porous clay.
- After emptying your ceramic flower pot of plants and soil, use a stiff brush or dish scrubber to brush off and remove any loose dirt or mineral buildup on your pot.
- Next, use a mixture of mild dish soap and water with your stiff brush and scrub the stains. You may need to use some steel wool on stubborn stains and discolouration.
- When you feel you have removed as much as you can using this method, rinse your pot thoroughly to remove all the dish soap.
- If there is still mineral residue on your pot, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Apply this paste to your pot and scrub the pot with your stiff brush or steel wool. This should remove any remaining stains on your flower pot.
- Again, thoroughly rinse your pot after using the cleaning paste. As a final cleaning measure, and one that will leave your ceramic glazed flower pots sparkling, you can place them in your dishwasher and run them using white vinegar in place of dishwasher soap.
Unglazed and Terra Cotta Flower Pots
The same methods used to clean a glazed ceramic flower pot can be used to clean your unglazed pots, though it may take a little more scrubbing.
- In addition to those methods, after you have scrubbed off any stains and discolouration, you can sterilize or kill any harmful bacteria or fungus that may be in your flower pot by baking them in your oven.
- Place your clean, dry pots in your oven at 220 to 250 degrees F.
- Leave them to bake for one to two hours.
- Turn off the oven but keep the pots in the oven to cool to room temperature. This method effectively kills any bacteria in your flower pots but be warned that it does produce a stinky odour.
Many iron planters are used outdoors, and exposure to the elements such as rain and polluted air can present some challenges when it comes to taking care of the planter.
- Clean your planter before use by washing it with a rag and warm, soapy water. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
- Coat the planter with liquid car wax at least two times per year. This will help protect the planter from water and the elements, much like wax protects your car’s finish. Pour some car wax on the planter, spread it out and rub it in with a clean rag.
- Sand down any chipped areas with steel wool, wipe them clean and touch up with an anti-rust primer, followed by matching all-weather enamel paint. Allow it to dry completely and apply a clear sealant. Check the paint labels for drying times.
- Do not allow the iron planter to sit in puddles of standing water, because this will promote rust. Cover the planters or bring them into a garage or storage area when they are not in use.
- Never plant flowers or plants directly into an iron planter. The soil will take up iron, and the moisture from watering the plant may cause the planter to rust.