Grow bags are a convenient way to store your plants and are lightweight and easy to move with handles. They are also reusable, which makes them great for annuals. While they make gardening a little easier, they also require some upkeep.
Clean your fabric grow bags by removing excess dirt with a brush. Then soak the bags with baking soda and dishwashing liquid solution for about half an hour. Scrub the stubborn dirt with a soft bristle brush to remove any leftover dirt, and allow your bag to dry sufficiently.
Grow bags are an excellent option for growing all types of plants, and their breathable fabric provides aeration and prevents waterlogging. However, they require special care to achieve an extended lifespan.
1. Empty the Fabric Grow Bag
When you’re ready to clean your grow bag, make sure it’s empty. There’s a good chance there will be dirt and roots left behind, so ensure you get everything out of the bag before cleaning.
Fabric grow bags are convenient and lightweight but can be challenging to clean.
Dirt, roots, and leaves can stick to the bottom and sides of the bag, making it difficult to clean them out thoroughly. So, get as much out of the bag as possible before cleaning to make it easier.
Once you have fully emptied the bag, turn it inside out and shake it to release any dirt or residue that didn’t come out on your first try. Do this carefully, as you can end up with dirt and plant roots all over you.
But it is essential to shake the bag to help remove things you couldn’t easily reach.
2. Brush the Grow Bag To Remove the Dirt
Once you’ve removed the plants and any excess dirt or roots from the grow bag, remove as much dirt residue as possible. Fabric grow bags can make your life easier when dealing with your plants, but the material can make it harder to remove dirt altogether.
Find a Suitable Brush
You need a brush to remove the dirt inside and outside the bag. Soft-bristle brushes will work best for this as the bristles can get in between the fabric and draw out the dirt better than other options.
You can use a soft bristle brush if you have one at hand or purchase one Selaurel Cleaning Soft Bristle Brush Set from Amazon.
This Cleaning Soft Bristle Brush Set comes with two brushes, one small and one large, to clean the inside and outside of the grow bag. They’re easy to wash, so you can use them for more than just cleaning your grow bags.
Follow this procedure:
- Turn the bag inside out to help you reach the interior more efficiently, and brush it in small circular motions. This process may not eliminate all the dirt immediately, but it will help loosen the dirt from the fabric.
- Once you do this for the entire area, shake the bag again. This time, you should see even more dirt make its way out. Be careful not to cover yourself in the dirt when you shake the bag.
- After shaking it, you can repeat the process if the bag still looks dirty. Otherwise, you can begin brushing the bag in a downward motion.
The downward motion brushing should help you brush the remaining dirt away. We recommend removing as much dirt as possible during this step to prevent you from needing to wash the bag multiple times.
3. Vacuum the Grow Bag To Remove Debris and Dirt
After loosening the dirt with a brush, remove as much dirt as possible before washing the bag. While turning the bag inside out and shaking it can help dislodge the dirt, you should vacuum it out to get it cleaner.
Tips For Vacuuming Your Grow Bag
- Vacuuming the bag will save you the trouble of turning it inside out. If your bag is too big to turn inside out, then this is an excellent alternative for you to consider. Make sure you use small attachments to make it easier to reach inside the bag.
- You can also use attachments for the vacuum to help you out. Many vacuums come with separate attachments to handle different tasks. So, if your vacuum comes with a brush attachment, consider using that to help loosen the dirt on your grow bag.
- Vacuuming may be necessary for your fabric grow bag as they don’t have holes in the bottom of the bag like some plastic options can. So, make sure you vacuum the bottom or turn your bag inside out to ensure that you remove all the dirt.
Check out our article here to learn more about adding holes to your grow bag: Should You Put Holes in the Bottom of a Grow Bag?
4. Assess If the Fabric Grow Bag Is Still Fit For Use
Some grow bags can last for years before you need to replace them. However, not all grow bags are of the same quality, and you should thoroughly examine them to ensure it’s fit for reuse.
When it comes time to replace your grow bag, you will know based on its appearance. If there are holes in the bag or tears in the fabric, that is a sign that you need to replace it. Also, consider buying a replacement if your grow bag is stiffer than usual.
If your bag is in good condition and free from damage and tears, you can proceed to the next step.
5. Soak the Grow Bag To Remove Stubborn Dirt
If you still find residue after brushing the bag, consider soaking it before washing. You can immerse the bag in soapy water with some baking soda to the mix to help lift the dirt from the fabric. You can use a bucket for this or even your bathtub if you don’t have a bucket big enough to hold your grow bag.
The baking soda reacts well with dishwashing soap and helps lift dirt and tough stains from fabric. So, use this on your grow bag to help it lift away that stubborn dirt.
How To Soak Your Grow Bag
- Mix 15ml (0.5oz)dishwashing liquid and 15g (0.5oz) baking soda to every 3 gallons (11.3L) of water
- Let the bag soak in the baking soda and soap mixture for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Swirl the bag around in the washing solution before removing it to help separate the loose dirt from the grow bag
- If there is a lot of dirt in the water and residue remains on the grow bag, consider repeating this step.
6. Scrub Your Fabric Grow Bag With a Soft Bristle Brush
Once you soak and brush the grow bag, it’s time to scrub it with a soft-bristle brush. The dish soap in the soaking solution cleans your grow bag better than other soap options because they have oil drops, which act as a barrier between the dirt and the fabric.
Once you have soaked your bag, you can gently scrub the stubborn dirt from the fabric by following these steps:
- Use a clean, soft bristle brush for the best possible results.
- Scrub gently in circular motions in the stained areas, ensuring you do not damage or thin the fabric.
- Scrub the grow bag thoroughly before rinsing to ensure you remove as much dirt as possible.
- Rinse with clean water, not the water you used to soak the bag, as it gets the dirt off more effectively.
7. Rinse Your Grow Bag To Remove Any Soap Residue
While dish soap works in ways other soaps do not, you should always be careful to rinse the grow bag after washing. Dish soap can harm certain plants, even if it’s so effective at cleaning your grow bags.
Is Dish Soap Residue in Grow Bags Harmful to Plants?
Household dish soaps contain powerful detergents that may be phytotoxic to plants. The powerful chemicals can damage the waxy outer layer of a plant called the cuticle, which protects plants from pests, disease, and water loss.
So, ensure that you rinse your grow bag in clean, running water to prevent your next plant from potential damage.
8. Give Your Fabric Grow Bag Sufficient Time To Dry
Always make sure you dry your grow bags naturally. You should never use a tumble dryer to dry your fabric grow bags, as they can easily fall apart when spun in a dryer.
Even under perfect conditions, a grow bag will take 24 hours to dry. Most of the time, it will take double that. Your best bet is to leave the bag for 48 hours before checking it.
Tips for Drying Your Grow Bag
- Open it as much as possible to allow air to reach the entire bag.
- Place the grow bag where it gets decent airflow to ensure it dries as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
- If weather permits, expose your dry bag to the sun, a natural sterilizer due to its UV rays.
- Turn the bag inside out to help the inside dry as quickly as the outside.
Why Dry Your Grow Bag?
Drying your bag is vital in caring for it. Not only will it help your grow bag remain usable for a long time, but it will also prevent mold and mildew from growing in it when you are not using it. Remember, storing damp fabric can allow mold and mildew to fester, so you’ll want to avoid this.
This issue is crucial if you plan to store your grow bags for a while. Leaving the bag in a dark place can mean that you come back to a grow bag covered in mold.
Though mold may not hurt your plants, it harms your health, including breathing problems, eye irritation, and nose or throat problems with little exposure.
9. Store Your Fabric Grow Bag Properly
Once you wash and fully dry your grow bag, you can reuse it. If you don’t need the bag for immediate use, you may store it until the next time you need it. There are a few factors to consider when looking for a place to store your bags.
- Make sure that the place you choose to store your grow bag remains dry. This requirement means you should avoid storing your grow bag anywhere the rain can reach it.
- If your grow bag does get wet, make sure you dry it out thoroughly before putting it back in storage.
- Store the grow bag in a cool place. These bags can withstand warm and cold temperatures, but keeping them somewhere cool and dry will help your grow bags maintain their shape and last longer.
- When you store your grow bags, they can be flat, but you should avoid unnatural positions. You can stack your grow bags if you have several, but don’t fold them just to fit somewhere more convenient. Instead, designate a space for the grow bags and stack them on top of each other.
Cleaning Fabric Grow Bags FAQs
How Often Should You Clean Your Grow Bags?
Clean your grow bags after every use, as the fabric may hold dirt and roots from the previous plant. Soil can carry pathogens and viruses of previously held plants, which can pose a significant risk to new plants. And if you’re growing food plants, it can transfer to the food you’ll eventually eat from those plants.
How Long Do Grow Bags Last?
Grow bags can last up to ten years if you take proper care of them. Thoroughly cleaning them after every use can help them last longer. Allow your grow bags to dry before storing or reusing them. This precaution will help avoid mold and mildew, which can make your grow bags unusable.
How To Tell If It’s Time To Clean Your Grow Bag?
While you should try to clean your grow bag after every use, you may not want to or need to. A little bit of dirt left on the outside of the grow bag is not going to make or break your new plant. So, it’s time to clean the grow bag when you notice a lot of leftover dirt, mold, or mildew.
Can You Repair a Fabric Grow Bag?
You can repair a grow bag, but it is a challenging endeavor. Grow bags must be strong to contain your plants, but restoring one after it has ripped can weaken it. Sewing and patching a grow bag can seem like a good idea, but their weave makes it hard to sew them tightly.
Can I Wash My Fabric Grow Bag in a Washing Machine?
While you can wash your grow bags in the washing machine, we recommend hand washing them to ensure they last. Washing machines can be rough on grow bags, and if you use a washing machine, your grow bag may last less time than it would with hand washing.
How Should I Wash a Fabric Grow Bag In a Washing Machine?
You can wash your grow bags in the washing machine using a cold water wash set to the gentlest cycle. Make sure you use a mild laundry detergent and avoid scented detergents, as these may not be good for your plants. Remember that using a washing machine may shorten the bag’s lifespan.
How Can I Remove Mold From a Grow Bag?
You can remove mold from a grow bag using a solution of vinegar, baking soda, and water in a spray bottle. Spray the affected areas using a soft-bristled brush in gentle circular motions until you have removed the mold.
How Do I Prevent Mold on a Grow Bag?
You can prevent mold on a grow bag by placing the bag in an area with adequate sunlight. Mold thrives in moist and dark conditions, so monitor your watering levels to prevent an excess of moisture.
Which Type of Grow Bag Material Lasts the Longest?
The polypropylene fabric grow bags last the longest as they are nonwoven thermoplastic of a durable nature. Manufacturers press the thermoplastic into its woven shape, which is stronger than the weave of traditional fabrics and less prone to tears. However, ensure it is BPA-free and food safe.
Can I Reuse the Soil After Cleaning My Grow Bag?
You can reuse your soil if your plant is healthy and contains no parasites or fungal diseases. However, it’s best to replace about a quarter of its volume with fresh compost to ensure you provide enough nutrients for your next pant. Consider sterilizing your old soil before reuse by solarizing it.
Fabric grow bags are a great alternative to ordinary pots as they allow your plant’s roots to breathe and offer excellent drainage. These bags are fantastic alternatives if your garden soil is substandard or you need access to a planting area.
Taking care of your grow bag is essential in ensuring it will last for many seasons. So, follow our steps to thoroughly clean your grow bag before reusing or storing it to ensure you get full use of these handy containers.