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I have a bunch of pots and containers I've used for gardening the last few years but have never cleaned out - I'm lazy! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> I thought I should clean them this year but everything I read about cleaning them out properly says to use bleach. Is that really necessary? I don't want to use bleach. How about vinegar and water? (That's what I clean everything else with, lol.) I don't think any of my previous plants have had any nasty diseases or anything, but I haven't taken very good care of the pots so I'd like to 'start fresh' this year. So, how do you clean your pots?
 

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My pots are the only thing I really use bleach on. Maybe vinegar & peroxide would work?
 

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Vinegar is acidic, which will affect the soil. Bleach actually dries out to a pH neutral compound, so that is why it is used. If you don't want to bleach them, and you haven't had any diseases, I wouldn't worry about it. I've used the same pots for 10+ years and never washed them. My idea of "cleaning" a pot is to dump out all the old, root filled, nutrient poor soil, rinse with the hose (scrubbing with a brush any stains, but no soap), let dry, and fill with fresh soil. Works well for me. You can also heat sterilize them if you want by putting htem in a sealed plastic bag in the sunlight for a week or so. That will kill any diseases/fungus/mold that is lurking. But it takes longer, so many people want the instant gratification and surity of bleach.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lunarlady</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15371528"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Vinegar is acidic, which will affect the soil. Bleach actually dries out to a pH neutral compound, so that is why it is used. If you don't want to bleach them, and you haven't had any diseases, I wouldn't worry about it. I've used the same pots for 10+ years and never washed them. My idea of "cleaning" a pot is to dump out all the old, root filled, nutrient poor soil, rinse with the hose (scrubbing with a brush any stains, but no soap), let dry, and fill with fresh soil. Works well for me. You can also heat sterilize them if you want by putting htem in a sealed plastic bag in the sunlight for a week or so. That will kill any diseases/fungus/mold that is lurking. But it takes longer, so many people want the instant gratification and surity of bleach.</div>
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totally that! I wouldn't use bleach but that is a matter of preference. You can also clean them as described above and then put them in a 200* oven for an hour or two. I've never bothered, but if I had any issues I'd be all over it!
 
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