Whether it is a plain red clay flower pot or a fancy glazed ceramic flower pot, having discoloration and stains on it not only looks bad but may also affect your plants growing in it. Stains and discoloration of flower pots is usually caused by minerals, fungus, algae or molds, 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 discoloration 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 discoloration. 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 it 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 discoloration, 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 is effective in killing any bacteria in your flower pots, but be warned that it does produce a stinky odor.
At home in rural California, Kate Carpenter has been writing articles and Web content for several well-known marketers since 2007. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and a Master of Education equivalent from the University of Northern Colorado, Carpenter brings a wealth of diverse experience to her writing.