Gardening Pots

Vinegar for Clean Flower Pots

Terra cotta pots heavily stained with calcium. Photo: http://www.olx.pl

Frustrated by the endless scraping needed to remove stubborn calcium (lime) deposits from flowerpots? There is a much simpler solution: a good soak in vinegar.

Calcium is alkaline, vinegar is acid: they’re essentially chemical opposites. So, if you soak a pot in vinegar, it will simply dissolve the calcium carbonate deposit.

The Method

Plain white vinegar works great on calcium-stained flower pots. Photo: pixabay.com

Just soak your pots in a solution of one part white vinegar to 4 or 5 parts water and one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid for at least 1 hour before cleaning. Then remove the pot from the solution and rub it lightly with a damp cloth. The stain should come off with little effort while the soap will have loosened dirt particles, making their removal simple as well. If the pot is heavily coated in calcium, a 24-hour soaking may be required.

Finally, just rinse the pot with clear water and you’ll have a perfectly clean pot ready for reuse.

Note that anything acid will also do the job, including products like CLR cleaner (a popular calcium and rust remover), but vinegar is cheaper, likely to already be in your kitchen cupboard, environmentally friendly, and won’t irritate your skin.

Article originally published on November 12, 2015. 

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

2 comments on “Vinegar for Clean Flower Pots

  1. What a great tip. I hope I remember it come spring!

  2. It is silly that so many new pots are painted with fake mineral deposits to make them look aged.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: