Guide To Sanitizing and Sterilizing Your Hydroponic System
The harvest is over and you’ve prepped the plants. Time to start on the next batch, right? Wrong. Now is the time to clean out your hydroponics system, taking an extra step to ensure it’s not just clean, but also germ-free. The extra effort pays off in the long run with a smooth-running system, healthier plants, and happier customers. Get this shipshape and sparkling with the following guide to sanitizing and sterilizing your hydroponic system.
Clean System, Clean Product
First, consider the benefits of sanitizing and sterilizing your system. Ultimately, it’s all about the plants and their proper growth and health. Plants left to grow in a dirty system will not fare well, incurring bacterial growth, mold, mildew, algae, and other nasty things. Down the line, sick plants can create sick customers. Furthermore, in many states, certification can depend on adhering to specific standards of cleanliness. Overall, a clean rig means fewer troubles for you, your plants, and your business.
Out With the Old
Start out by clearing out. Put on your rubber gloves—you'll be working with various cleaning chemicals. Sweep around your system and mop up the area with a disinfecting cleaner. Get rid of dead plants and remove leaves which can encourage the growth of mold and attract insects. Dump nutrient solution that’s more than a week old, otherwise, crystals can form and block the system. You should already be flushing your system every two to three weeks with water or a nutrient agent, which should make your big clean-up even easier. Remove still-living plants while you clean. They’ll have enough water to survive for a day; however, take extra care to protect them while they’re detached.
We recommend ProKure V liquid disinfectant. ProKure V is, in our opinion, the most effective pharmaceutical grade solution for cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and deodorizing. When Prokure V is mixed with water, it creates a chlorine dioxide (CIO2) liquid that kills bacteria, viruses, mold, fungi, and even COVID-19! ProKure V is an EPA-Registered hospital-type disinfectant and deodorizer.
Keep It Clean
Clean the tank with a diluted solution ProKure V, or if you want to go the DIY route…bleach and water, scrubbing it inside and out. Rinse it thoroughly afterward. Do the same to your individual pots with a similar solution. If you use clay pellets, discard them. It may be possible to individually clean and reuse them, but not worth it if a poor cleaning job leaves behind chemicals that can hurt your plants. Keep your eyes peeled for areas that show greater concentrations of algae or other invaders. Figure out why it’s happening and take steps to remedy it. Some pros recommend taking a big container, filling it with your cleaning solution, and soaking whatever parts are not in use. Rinse them thoroughly afterward!
Put It Back Together
Once you’re done, set up your system again and flush it with water a few times to ensure all the cleaning solution is gone. Return your plants to their places, but first, give them a gentle cleaning so they don’t reintroduce anything to the system. Some sites recommend culling fewer hardy plants. Check and replenish any discount grow supplies you might be lacking, whip up another batch of nutrient solution, and start the process again! And be sure to retain this guide to sanitizing and sterilizing your hydroponic system for next time.