Plants and terracotta just go together. That rich, earthy color along with their naturally porous nature that helps fight against overwatering. It makes sense that they are a favorite by many. However, over time you'll probably start to see a chalky white residue spreading on your terracotta pots. At first glance you might think it's mold or something toxic (it's not). Over time the terracotta starts to absorb bits of your fertilizer, salt and calcium found in your water causing the white build up. So even though it's not necessarily bad on the outside of the pot, it's best to give your terracotta a good cleaning occasionally to keep the plants inside healthy.
What's Needed To Clean Terracotta Pots?
Bucket or Bin
How To Clean The White Residue Off Of Terracotta Pots
Start by removing any loose dirt from in and outside of the plant pot. Using a bucket or wide bin, add about 1 cup of vinegar to every 4 cups of lukewarm water. Gently mix.
Place your terracotta pot inside the water/vinegar solution to soak. Using the scrub brush, gently start cleaning and removing the white residue.
Let your pot soak in the mixture for 30 minutes. Submerging is great but it's ok to soak and rotate each side as well.
Once your pots look good, rinse with some warm water (feel free to rinse with a bit of mild soap for extra cleaning if you like) then let your pot dry thoroughly before adding a new or repotted plant. All set.
Quick Tip: If you love that weathered look but need to repot or add a new plant, you can always just clean the inside and leave the outside alone.That way the salt buildup from the residue won't mess this the roots over time but you still keep the look.