The Ultimate Guide How to Clean Terracotta Pots: Tips and Tricks

We all love terracotta pots because of their rustic appeal and capacity to control soil moisture. But, over time, these pots can become dirty and stained, leading to an unsightly appearance. So it’s impotent clean them in specific time intervals. Cleaning also helps your pot to maintain its appearance and extend its lifespan. In this article, we will provide you with the ultimate guide on how to clean terracotta pots. It includes tips and tricks to make the process easy and efficient.

Why Should You Clean Terracotta Pots?

How to Clean Terracotta Pots

We understand that Terracotta Pots need to be cleaned. But before that, we need to know why they must be cleaned.

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Terracotta pots are a beautiful addition to any garden or home. But they can lose their appeal over time if not cleaned. Cleaning your terracotta pots can help to remove dirt, stains, and other unsightly marks. Cleaning helps to restore their beauty and appeal.
  • Preventing the Spread of Disease: A dirty terracotta pot may contain bacteria, fungi, pests, and other dangerous microorganisms. that could infect your plants and make them sick. Cleaning your pots can help eliminate any potential pathogens, which lowers the risk of plant disease and ensures the health of your plants.
  • Maintaining Soil Moisture: Terracotta pots are porous, absorbing water and regulating soil moisture. But, when the pots become dirty. They can become clogged, preventing proper moisture regulation. Cleaning your terracotta pots helps remove dirt and debris. It allows them to function properly and maintain optimal soil moisture levels.
  • Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Pots: Terracotta pots are durable but can weaken over time if not cared for. Cleaning your pots regularly. Help to remove any damaging substances that may weaken the pots. It’s ensuring they remain in good condition for years to come.
  • Enhancing Plant Growth: Your plants can grow in perfect conditions in clean terracotta pots. With ideal nutrient retention and moisture control. By keeping your pots clean. You can give your plants a healthy environment in which to grow. 

How To Clean Terracotta Pots Step By Step

Terracotta Pots

When cleaning terracotta pots, you don’t need to go through the hassle of using harsh chemicals. Here are a few steps that can help you clean your terracotta pots easily:

Gather Your Supplies: Have a few things before cleaning your terracotta pots. Warm water, a stiff-bristled brush, baking soda, mild dish soap, a bucket, and clean cloth or paper towels are all necessary.

Remove Loose Dirt: Remove loose dirt or debris as the first step in cleaning your terracotta pots. A soft-bristled brush removes any dirt or debris from the pot’s surface.

Soak the Pots: Once you have removed any loose dirt, it’s time to clean the pots deeply. Add mild dish soap, white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 4 parts warm water), and warm water to a bucket. Soak a cloth in the vinegar solution and use it to wipe down the pots, focusing on any tough stains. Allow the pots to sit in the solution for 30 minutes. Then rinse and dry them. This will ensure no dirt or odor is left behind.

Scrub the Pots: After soaking the pots, use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the inside and outside of the pot to remove any stains or dirt. To remove the hard white crust from your pot, mix baking soda and water into a paste and scrub the pot’s surface. If the pot is still not clean after scrubbing, use fine steel wool or a scrubbing pad to remove the hard white crust.

Rinse the Pots: Once you’ve scrubbed the pots, Rinse them thoroughly with clean, fresh water to remove all traces of soap and baking soda. This will help protect the terracotta and prevent any damage.

Dry the Pots: after washing the pots. Dry them With a fresh cloth or paper towel. Allow the pots to air dry completely before using them again.

Apply a Sealer: Suppose you want to protect your terracotta pots from staining and dirt buildup in the future. You can use a sealer on the surface of the pots. There are many types of sealers available that are designed for terracotta pots.

Sealing the Terracotta Pot:- The pot can be easily preserved for the long term by being sealed to keep the elements out. The pot will be better able to withstand the effects of time and the elements if a clear, water-based spray acrylic is applied in two coats. Washing off dirt and debris without harming the pot’s ceramic surface will also be simpler. To ensure an appropriate uniform finish. The first coat of paint must completely dry before the second coat is applied. 

Why Do My Terracotta Pots Look So Dirty?

Water is one of the main factors that ruin terracotta pots. Water can quickly erode the clay pot, especially with fertilizer residue. To prevent this, use organic fertilizers instead of chemical ones. Additionally, ensure the soil in your terracotta planters has a good drainage hole and isn’t too wet. 

Another factor that could impact is exposure to sunlight. The white crust on the pot may appear due to chemical deposits on the surface. And the build-up of salts from water and fertilizer activity. This residue makes the pot look older and hides its natural red hue.

If you consistently use the same pot. It may develop an organic matter such as algae, moss, or lichen, making the pot look dirtier. It also impacts the health of your plants. So it’s essential to clean your terracotta planters at regular intervals.  

What is the White Build-up On Terracotta Pots?

Salts and minerals accumulated from fertilizer or hard water are the main cause of white buildup.

This build-up can b on the outside or the inside of the pot and can be removed with a scrub of a nylon brush. 

These residues can seep back into the plant’s soil, making it hard for them to thrive. To clean terracotta garden pots with white residue, scrub them with vinegar and warm water or use a bleach solution to remove the buildup.

How to Remove Mineral Deposits from Flower Pots

To remove mineral deposits from flower pots. Use a solution of white vinegar and water.  

First, fill the pot with warm water and a few tablespoons of white vinegar. Allow them to sit for an hour. Then, scrub the pot with a soft-bristled stiff brush or steel wool. 

Once the mineral deposits have been loosened. Rinse the pot thoroughly with warm water and allow it to air dry completely. And if the stubborn deposits are more, soak it overnight with one part bleach and four parts water. After that, wash it in warm water and allow it to dry for 24 hrs.

Cleaning Plant Pots with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a good cleaning agent for plant pots. It can clean them without damaging them. The solution can be directly applied to the pot and left on for 10 minutes to remove stuck-on grime. 

The pot should be scrubbed inside and out after cleaning to remove all the dirt and debris. If you want, you can scrub the pots with a brush.

After that, wash clean with warm water and dish soap. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to clean large terracotta pots with plants in them?

Large terracotta pots with plants can be challenging to clean, but with the proper method, it is still possible.

  • Start by clearing the plants of any debris or dead leaves.
  •  Take a big bucket or container and Fill it with warm water. Add mild soap, such as a dish Castile soap or water solution
  • Remove the plant carefully from the pot without damaging its root and place it in a safe place.
  •  Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to scrub the interior and exterior of the pot with the soap solution. Pay extra attention to any areas with mineral buildup or stubborn stains.
  •   Rinse the pot thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  •   Before placing the plants back inside, allow the pot to dry totally.
  •   Repot the plants with fresh soil, if necessary.

When cleaning plants, it’s important to handle them softly. Any mistake can cause breaking stems or roots if the plants are too big to take out of the pot. You can cover them with a plastic bag or piece of wrapping to keep them out of the water and soap solution while cleaning.

When should you clean terracotta pots?

terracotta pots without plants

Give your terra-cotta pots the necessary care and clean them at least once a year. It’s ideally before planting a new plant.  It’s also a good idea to clean them if you notice mineral deposits or white buildup on the surface. Regular cleaning helps preserve the pot’s appearance and functionality. It’s ideal and promotes healthy plant growth. We already discuss How to Clean Terracotta Pots. You can follow above mention simple steps to clean it. For the upcoming growing season, cleaning your terracotta pot is necessary. It helps your plant to optimum growth.

What should you do with broken terracotta pots?

It is possible to use your Broken terracotta pots in many different ways, instead of throwing them away.

  •   Repurpose them: Use the broken pieces to create a unique garden mosaic, or turn them into plant markers for your garden.
  •   Drainage: Use the larger pieces at the bottom of a new pot for better drainage.
  •   Composting: Smash the terracotta into smaller pieces and add them to your compost heap.
  •   Garden Bed: Use the broken pieces to line the bottom of the garden beds to improve drainage.
  •   Donate: If the pot is only partially damaged, consider donating it to a school or community garden that could use it.

Can I clean my terracotta pots in a dishwasher?

Dishwashers shouldn’t be used to clean. Because the high temperatures and detergents can damage the pot.

Can I use a pressure washer to clean my terracotta pots?

A pressure washer to clean terra cotta pots is not recommended. High pressure can damage the pot and remove the protective patina on the surface.

How can I prevent mineral buildup on my terracotta pots?

To prevent mineral buildup on your terra-cotta pots, you can water your houseplants with rainwater or distilled water instead of tap water, which contains minerals. You can also clean your pots regularly to remove any mineral buildup that may occur.

Can I use bleach to clean terracotta pots?

While bleach can be effective at cleaning terracotta pots, it is not recommended as it can harm plants and damage the pot itself.


One of the main reasons terracotta pots are so popular is their ability to absorb water from the soil. It helps prevents overwatering of plants, and its protect from root rot. That’s why gardeners love to use them to grow succulents and cactus plants. 

Now that we know How to Clean Terracotta Pots. You are no longer worried about stained or dirty-looking pots. You can take a few quick steps to ensure that your pots are spotless.

Use organic plant food and water-soluble cleaning solutions to maintain the health of your plants, and brush them regularly. Besides, keeping the pots in a warm, dark place will also give you optimal results. 

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