Terracotta is adored in the plant community for their earthy, natural look and all the benefits the material gives to our houseplants. While there's no doubt that they're the best option for houseplants, over time residue buildup can have them looking pretty dirty. Some people actually like the rustic look, but a lot of residue on your pots can actually cause damage to your plant over time, so it’s best practice to give them a good ol' clean them every now and then.
Most of the residue you'll see comes from mineral deposits from using hard water (most tap water is considered hard). Water typically has salt and other minerals that leave behind chalky white residue usually found near the top or bottom of your pots, and it can harden, making it harder to remove. Sometimes, plant foods can also seep into the pores of the terracotta, causing this residue to form.
The easiest and safest way to wash your terracotta pots and get rid of the gunk is cleaning them with white vinegar in 3 easy steps.
- Soak your pots in a white vinegar water solution (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water) for ~30 minutes to 1 hour. This allows the vinegar to slowly break apart the buildup.
- After they’ve soaked, scrub off any remaining white spots with a reusable sponge.
- Soak your pots in clean water for another 30 minutes.
If you’re looking to avoid as much residue build up as possible, try flushing your soil of salts and minerals every month or so by running water through the soil for 10-15 minutes to allow any build up to be flushed out. You can also start using rain or distilled water to avoid using water with chemicals. Head to our blog to learn more about the importance of water type here.