All home growers and caregivers should be informed on how to properly clean a grow tent. You may have heard that cleanliness is key to growing quality cannabis. It is absolutely true — clean grow tents lead to clean cannabis!
Cleanliness in your grow tent is one of the main ways you’ll prevent cannabis pests and diseases. On the other hand, a dirty grow tent is hospitable to harmful fungi, bacteria, spores, viruses, insects, and insect eggs. A clean grow tent, not so much! Clean grow tents make it very hard for these elements to become a problem for you and your plants.
There are many ways to approach cleanliness in a grow tent, but an easy process begins with having simple household products like 3% hydrogen peroxide and bleach on hand. These widely available chemicals are extremely effective at killing pests, bacteria, fungals, and viruses.
After applying, you can wipe down walls with a clean paper towel, or just allow to air-dry. Allow plenty of time to air dry before going from bleach to H202. While you are cleaning to protect your plants, make sure to protect yourself. When H2O2 and bleach are combined, they produce toxic chloramine gases which is why these disinfectants can only be used separately. H202 and bleach never used together. Both bleach and hydrogen peroxide can cause chemical burns and irritations, so you should wear goggles, gloves and a face mask to protect yourself when using them, and have plenty of air circulating when cleaning with these products. Safety first!
Apply and simply allow surfaces sprayed with disinfectant solutions to air-dry for 12-24 hours between product applications to safely eliminate pathogens and pests.
Here’s how to clean your grow tent
First, a shop vac is ideal to have for cleaning your grow tent floor regularly. Make sure insect eggs, bacteria and fungi have nowhere to hide by vacuuming up debris on your grow tent floor once to twice a week. Shop vacs are the ideal tool for this job since they can easily vacuum up everything from dust to entire leaves. This only takes 5 minutes by the time you pull out and plug in your shop vac, do the cleaning, and put it back away.
Even if you are just starting off with a brand new grow tent or grow room, it is beneficial to clean it using a bleach and water solution that can be sprayed. Do this before hanging your lights.
It’s important to make a bleach solution strong enough to kill pests and pathogens. Mix two tablespoons of bleach in one quart of water to achieve a powerful and safe disinfecting solution. Spray all surface areas, including the floor and ceiling, but be careful to not spray any on yourself or your lights. You can also mix this bleach-water solution in a bucket and use a cloth to wipe all surfaces instead. Since water can damage your light bulbs, this method can be helpful if your lights are already hanging and you don’t want to take them down to clean.
After all surfaces are wet, simply allow to air-dry!
Next, apply a 3% H2O2 solution directly to all surface areas 12 – 24 hours after the bleach-water solution was used and thoroughly dried. The 3% hydrogen peroxide is easily available in many drug stores, grocery stores, and online. Since it is already diluted, you can use the solution as-is. Just put the H2O2 in a spray bottle, spray on all the surface areas inside the tent and allow to air-dry. Now your tent is clean and ready for you to fill with happy, healthy cannabis plants.
If you experience issues with pests and diseases, like powdery mildew or spider mites, it is ideal to be able to pull your plants out of the grow tent. Then clean the surface areas inside the tent with one round of bleach and water, followed a day later by a round of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Be sure not to mix the bleach-water solution and H202, and be sure not to spray yourself or light bulbs directly. You may pull your light fixture out of the tent and carefully wipe the light encasement while avoiding the bulbs themselves.
Once you get to harvest and chop your crop down, always clean your grow tent using the above mentioned cleaning regimen. Even if you didn’t have any known issues with pests or disease, it is best practice to clean your grow tent regularly after each crop. If you are going to reuse pots for a few cycles, be sure to clean them very well. Fabric pots can be cleaned off with a hose, then run through a washing machine with just water and a little bleach. You can add bleach in one round, and then do a final rinse cycle with just water.
In addition to cleaning pots, you should sanitize and sterilize your hydroponic irrigation system in between growth cycles. This two-step process can be used after harvesting but before adding your new plants. To sanitize, wipe down the inside and outside of your empty reservoir and trays or buckets with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and allow to air dry. Grime can build up in these areas, which is why wiping it down is crucial.
There’s more how-to keep your grow tent clean maintenance.
You will want to pay attention to the vents around the base of your grow tent. Whether vents are open or closed, they will accumulate dirt and dust on the mesh and around the velcro, so spray them and/or vacuum them as needed. Inspect them on the outside and inside of your grow tent.
Clean Intake Filters:
Intake filters are attached to intake fans, so if you are using one in your grow tent, it can help stop and trap contaminants from entering your grow. This keeps your grow tent clean, but filters do need regular replacements, especially in exceptionally dusty areas. As a caution, these filters can get clogged if not replaced in a timely manner. Once clogged, the intake fan will actually blow everything that was trapped right into your grow tent, so be careful to take filter replacements seriously.
Clean with Lost Coast Plant Therapy:
When you need to eliminate pests and pathogens on both surface areas as well as plants, Lost Coast Plant Therapy does the trick. This product uses soy oil and peppermint oil to repel and smother soft-bodied insects. Citric acid, soap and isopropyl alcohol eliminate mold spores and harmful bacteria. To clean your grow tent, prepare a diluted spray by following the dilution-directions on the bottle. You should also spray it directly on the surface of the soil to mitigate mold growth and kill any soft bodied insects hanging out there. This product can be sprayed directly on the grow tent surfaces – as well as on your plants. Since light can damage plants while they coated in Lost Coast Plant Therapy, it is important to apply this product when lights are off and allow to dry completely before they turn on again.
Don’t forget the air. Clean air ensures a clean grow tent
Cleaning the Air:
Cleaning the air in your grow tent is possible because of air purification technology. AiroClean420 Home Hobby uses cutting-edge NASA originated PCO technology to purify and sterilize contaminants in the air at a subatomic level ten thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair. PCO stands for Photocatalytic Oxidation. In order to clean the air as effectively as possible, put AiroClean420 Home Hobby to work in your grow tent.
Having effective and reliable air purification in your grow tent was previously unattainable as air purification that uses Ozone or UV has limited effectiveness. But AiroClean420 technology changed that. It is proven in indoor commercial cannabis cultivation across North America, and is now finally available to home growers.
To learn more about AiroClean420 air purification, listen to a podcast interview with AiroClean420 CEO John Hayman, visit www.airoclean420.com/airo-home-hobby-grow or call (844) 247-3913.
One last tip to keep your grow tent clean of bad bugs is to use beneficial predatory mites. Using good bugs to mitigate bad bugs keeps your grow tent in tip top shape. Having a tent without spider mites, russet mites and broad mites is a big part of keeping your grow tent clean and using predatory mites like persimilis and californicus are good selections to start. Being bug free is halfway towards maintaining a pest and disease free grow tent. Remember that pesticide sprays, even natural sprays, also kill beneficial mites, so it’s best not to use them when employing this pest control method.
Always stay proactive at preventing pest and disease from taking hold in your grow tent. Home growers and caregivers, keep your grow tent clean!