Recycle By Cleaning Your Container Pots

Most likely, we all have them-garden pots. These typically are made of plastic, clay or wood. Garden pots should be sanitized if they were previously used or if they exhibit signs of mold or fungal growth. Whether they are used as garden boxes, planters, or hanging baskets, the surfaces of garden pots can harbor disease organisms, along with unsightly stains and mineral salts deposits. Salts from hard water and fertilizers can leach though clay pots leaving a white film on the pot’s outer surface. Salts accumulation can become flaky and encrusted around the rim and drainage holes of plastic and clay containers.

Mold or fungal growth on an unglazed terra cotta (clay) pot Photo Credits: Alex Bolques, FAMU Research
Mold or fungal growth on an unglazed terra-cotta (clay) pot Photo Credits: Alex Bolques, FAMU Research


To clean clay or plastic containers, use a brush or fine steel wool to remove dirt and debris and wash with a liquid soap detergent. If stains persist, consider using a 50:50 solution of water and vinegar. To sterilize clay or plastic pots, soak them in a mild solution of bleach, 1:10 bleach to water, for about 30 minutes. Then, immerse them in clean water and allow them to dry completely. Containers made of wood are different. If the timber that they are made of is not treated properly, they tend to rot and can harbor disease spores or bacteria. It is best to replace these as they show signs of wear or deterioration. Sanitizing your garden pots will help you avoid unwanted disease problems and unsightly garden container pots.



Posted: July 28, 2015

Category: Horticulture
Tags: Garden Design, General Gardening, Houseplants, Installation, Panhandle Gardening, Recycling


September 13, 2021

I thought a 10% bleach solution was 9 parts water, 1 part bleach.

تمريض منزلي
August 25, 2021

i like this post about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, thanks for this great info

Andrew Barnett
August 24, 2021

To pay for college, always submit the FAFSA first. Accept grants, scholarships and work-study before student loans. Learn who the loan borrower is, how the funds get to the school, what to do if you are not approved for a private loan, and more.

تمريض منزلي
June 29, 2021

i like this article about March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, thanks for sharing this info and advice you sharing

C;eve Thomas
November 24, 2020

I have acreage in wakulla county florida and would like information on planting an orange grove. I am new to citrus farming and would like to know where to buy sat suma trees for planting and any other information available on planting and care of these types of trees, please advise

Dennis Hancock
August 12, 2016

Great article! For the record, Dr. Bill Anderson conducted the research in Tifton. I was a collaborator, but it was Bill and his crew that put in the sweat equity.

Esther de Pedro
March 19, 2016

Do you have a similar for dog fennels? Thank you in advance.

July 30, 2015

Thanks for these good suggestions, Alex.

Jan Summerford
June 20, 2014

Alex, I really appreciate your professional guidance. To the average person something like this causes panic just based on their look. A white, woolly mass is a great description for them! And as usual, you didn't make me wait for the help I needed! Thanks!

March 26, 2014

The pictures located at are hyperlinked, but when I click on them I receive the following error: 404 - File or directory not found. The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Could you please correct this oversight? Thanks. Dixie I.

Matthew Orwat
December 9, 2013

Snails feed on plants but are not harmful to the garden unless present in large quantities. It is probably looking for a place to over winter. Bring a sample to your nearest extension office for ID.

December 8, 2013

Good morning. We found a small snail in the driveway here where we live in N.W. Florida. What do these snails eat? Are they harmful to plants?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories

Skip to toolbar