Like any other area where you grow your plants, a grow tent needs to be deep cleaned regularly. Dust, dirt, debris, and grime build up during the grow cycle. An unsanitary tent is hospitable to germs, disease, viruses, and pests.
Even though indoor grow tents are not as exposed to the elements, they can still track in dirt and attract dust mites from around your home. Between grow cycles, always deep clean your tent before adding new plants. A healthy environment makes for a healthy yield, so it’s well worth your time to be diligent about regularly cleaning your tent.
Cleaning The Interior
First and foremost, switch the power off of any equipment except for the extraction fan. As you will be cleaning with bleach, having a fan running is important for ventilation.
Once you have shut off power, remove any stray items like pots, pans, or containers from the tent. Once the floor is clear, give it a thorough sweeping and – if you have a vacuum – vacuum as well. Make sure to get all dirt and debris out of the corners and other hard-to-reach areas.
Dust the walls of the grow tent with a damp cloth, working from top to bottom to remove any dirt and grime from the walls.
Once you have gotten most of the dirt, dust, and debris out of the room, you can sanitize with bleach. Dilute hot water and around 5% bleach. Wearing gloves and goggles, wipe down the insides of the tent with the bleach solution. Then, use the remaining solution to mop the floor.
Clean The Fan And Ventilators
Intake and extraction fans and ventilators can easily accumulate bacteria over time. When air being filtered into your tent is contaminated, this creates a toxic environment for your plants. Regularly cleaning fans and ventilators is vital to keeping your grow tent clean.
To clean fans, first wipe down the fan where you can reach with a damp cloth. Then, use a vacuum cleaner to suck out loose debris you cannot reach. Spritz the inside of the fan with an antibacterial cleaning spray and wipe it down again.
To clean the ventilation system, make sure the extraction system is shut off. Disassemble the system to remove pre-filter sleeves and anti-insect protection from the extraction outlet. Clean them with gentle soap and water and rinse thoroughly before reassembling the ventilation system.
While you are cleaning, this is a good opportunity to replace the carbon filter if necessary. The life expectancy of a carbon filter varies from model to model, so check your manufacturer’s guidelines to see how many months your filer should last. If it is getting to the end of its lifecycle, replace it before starting a new grow cycle.
Clean The Lighting System
Cleaning your lighting system is important as dirty lights are ineffective at nurturing plants. However, you have to treat your lighting system extremely gently during cleaning to prevent damage.
Wipe down the exterior of the lights with a damp rag. Use only a slight amount of water to avoid damage.
Clean any cables with alcohol swabs. To clean the reflectors, use a cloth lightly moistened with a three parts vinegar, three parts water solution. Make sure the reflectors are clear and dirt and dust free. Roughly 50% of the light your plants get comes from the reflector, not the bulb.
Check Your Basic Supplies
While you are cleaning your grow tent, it is a good time to check your equipment. Not only could some basic equipment benefit from receiving a light cleaning, it may also be time to replace tools if they are getting old.
When cleaning your grow tent, you should clean and replace water filters. Much like your carbon filter, the manufacturer’s instructions should tell you their lifespan.
Clean your EC and pH meters and recalibrate them for the next grow stage.
Check the expiration date of any nutrients or supplements you give your plants.
Check any electric connections to make sure cables and ballasts are screwed in tightly.
Clean Your Pots And Saucers
Cleaning up your pots and saucers is important as a build up of nutrients, dirt, and bacteria will affect plants during your next grow cycle.
Take your pots and saucers outside to avoid making a mess. Scrub them down with a combination of water and light dish soap. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly before as soap can infiltrate new soil and harm your plants.
If you are using a hydroponic system, check your manufacturer’s instructions for precise cleaning guidelines. Usually, you will need to run pure water through the system for a few cycles to remove any built-up gunk or mold.
The Bottom Line
Cleaning your grow tent can be a project. A deep clean can take a day or more and can feel a bit exhausting. However, cutting corners is bad for your plants. Trace amounts of bacteria lingering in your tent could have an adverse effect on your final yield.
It is well worth the extra effort it takes to maintain a clean environment for your plants, so make a habit of cleaning your tent between cycles.