How to Sanitize Planting Pots


Whether you are starting seedlings in pots or growing a full-fledged container garden, clean and sanitized pots and planters will help prevent diseases from infecting your plants. It is especially important to sanitize pots that have held plants before, as fungus spores, bacteria and other harmful organisms may survive on the surface and reinfect the soil and new plants in the pots. Spend a little time after you empty the pots or just prior to refilling them to sanitize them, and ensure the continued health of your plants.

Step 1

Fill a large tub or the sink with hot tap water. Add two or three squirts of unscented dish soap to the water.

Step 2

Wash the pots thoroughly in the hot, soapy water. Remove any soil or other debris that is stuck to the pots. Clean around the drainage holes and in any grooves where soil tends to stick.

Step 3

Rinse the soapy water off the pots then empty the tub or sink. Rinse out any soil or debris that collected in the tub or sink while you were washing.

Step 4

Mix together 10 parts cool water and 1 part chlorine bleach to make the sanitizing solution. Wash the pots a second time in this solution.

Step 5

Set the pots out to air dry prior to refilling them with soil. Place them in an area where they won't come in contact with any unsterilized soil or plants while they are drying.

Things You'll Need

  • Tub
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach


  • University of Missouri Extension: Starting Plants From Seeds
Keywords: sterilizing flower pots, sanitizing planters, plant disease prevention

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.