Do you know how to clean your terra cotta planters?

Happy 2019 Everyone!

It’s time to tackle new projects and really get your accounts in order. Some much needed cleaning is a good place to ensure everything looks its best for 2019.

Sometimes there just seems to be dirt and grime everywhere! We’re talking pots here. Dusty rims, scuff marks near the bottoms, and fingerprints and dirt splatters in between. They always seem to show up right after the holiday decorations come down and all the extra glitter and flash are gone. For weeks it has been almost impossible to thoroughly clean in your accounts. Now that those decorations and poinsettias are all gone, the plants and their pots are once again in the spotlight.

Where in decades past, the container was used as just something to hold the plant. Now the containers have taken on a life or their own adding to the overall statement that makes a beautiful plantscape. The gorgeous styles and shapes of our modern interiorscape containers take a highlighted role in our accounts. So they better look clean and tidy.

Use what you’ve got

It’s time for a thorough cleaning, so gather up your supplies and start to tackle all those lackluster pots. With proper planning and scheduling you should be able to get all of them cleaned during the month of January. If you do extra cleaning on one fourth of your account every week you will be finished in no time. If you are worried about the extra work and time, just remember there aren’t those darn poinsettias taking up all of your time anymore!

Begin by making sure you and your vehicle are well stocked with all the supplies you’ll need for cleaning the various types of pots (terra cotta, metal, fiberglass, and ceramic). Cleaning different finishes requires different supplies. Here’s a short list to be ready for any type.

Sprayway Glass Cleaner           

Lambswool Duster

Workshop Cleaner               

Mr. Clean Magic Sponge

Liquid Soap (phosphate free)      



Handi wipes




Let’s begin

Start with a quick wipe down with your duster to remove loose dust. Then, wash and wipe by hand with a sponge with a bit of liquid soap on it to remove light dirt and grime. If all goes well this gives the pot a healthy, clean shine. If you’re lucky this is all it will need. If the scuffs and floor wax marks are still there try soap and water next, then move onto your dampened Mr. Clean Magic sponge and use some scrubbing action. This by far is the most thorough way to clean a scuffed up fiberglass pot but also time consuming.


If you are about to attack the simple dirt build up on ceramic pots start with a quick dry dusting. Then, use your Workshop cleaner spray and wipe this down with a dry rowel. Very quickly your container will look like new.

One special note for a ceramic container glazed with a gunmetal gray finish. For some reason, these finishes show more streaks than other finishes and the surface will scratch with anything abrasive. We’ve found that “Sprayway” brand aerosol glass cleaner works great. It’s ammonia free and doesn’t streak. Give the container a hard wipe with a clean towel to dry.”

Terra Cotta

That white scum that shows up over time on Terra Cotta can be removed in a variety of ways. Try scrubbing with a stiff brush and/or wiping down with vinegar. Lysol spray also works. If you can find it, try spraying down the pot with a product called Clay Pottery CleanR.  It’s an old time product that works well.


I love these types of pots, they are lightweight and easy to clean. The only problem can be the rust stains resulting from overflows of the vinyl saucer. As with the others, first dust it with a dry duster. Next, use a damp handi wipe, depending on how dirty the pot is and/or a quick spray with the Workshop Cleaner.

In some cases you’ll need to make a judgment call on just how thorough a cleaning you will need to undertake. There are some pots that will need only a dusting and quick shine. Others may need a bit of elbow grease. Use your best judgment, but get them clean.