How to Sterilize Clay and Terra Cotta Pots

How to sterilize and clean terra cotta pots with Katie Normal Girl

I’ve always loved the look of mold and calcium buildup on my terra cotta pots. Unfortunately that wonderful patina can mean unsanitary growing conditions for your potted plants. Give your plants their best chance for growth by sterilizing your clay and terra cotta pots before you plant. This easy process will help eliminate the possibility of fungal or bacterial diseases that may develop.

PROJECT TIME: 3 – 8 hours
SUPPLIES: bleach or hydrogen peroxide, scrub brush, rubber gloves, sink or large basin


Mix together a solution of ten parts water to one part bleach or hydrogen peroxide. I like to use my kitchen sink but you can use a plastic bucket or basin. Soak your pot(s) for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight if you prefer. After the pots have soaked, put on your rubber gloves and use a stiff bristled scrub brush to thoroughly scour the pot, inside and out. Rinse the pot and allow it to dry.

Your pots are now ready and your new plants will have a great growing season. Happy gardening!


Need something to plant in your freshly sanitized pots? Check out my mint bowl project – it’s super easy!

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