How to Clean and Maintain Your Greenhouse - dummies

How to Clean and Maintain Your Greenhouse

By Gill Chilton

When it comes to cleaning out your greenhouse pane by pane, you may be surprised to find how that structure of toughened glass needs lots of love. Most greenhouses start out a good size and slowly become too small as your love of non-hardy plants grows.

If you use your greenhouse all year, you need to clean it through the year, too. Plants need all the bright sunshine they can get, especially in winter, so regularly cleaning both sides of the greenhouse glass is a must.

In summer, keeping on top of your cleaning is the key to getting rid of tiny insects that would otherwise feed on your plants. Clearly, it’s always less work to choose times when the greenhouse is emptier. So you might schedule a major clean in October then again in April and slotting in extra attention as needed. During very busy periods, even just hosing off the roof helps.

Choose a day when there is some breeze – it helps dry the greenhouse that bit faster. First, lift off any moss or algae that has taken root on the glass. Anything that won’t scratch the glass is a good tool – plastic plant labels, which probably are already in the greenhouse, are perfect. Then, start washing.

If you use anything but plain water, it’s essential to protect your plants from getting a dose of chemicals. Take them outside if it’s warm enough and you can do so without damaging leaves. In heated greenhouses, you also need to cover electrical sockets – using bits of plastic sheeting is fine.

A spray of liquid soda crystals is good for cleaning plastic frames but is not safe on aluminium. To be safe on any material, use a solution of washing-up liquid or a mild all-purpose liquid cleaner that doesn’t need rinsing. Key areas to tackle are the T-bars, where pests may set up home. Use a firm brush or even steel wool to rub all traces away.

To clean the inside roof without drenching yourself, use a well-wrung kitchen mop.

Opening windows will help your cleaning to dry faster and when it does, be sure to give the hinges a quick squirt of WD-40 before you close them.

Don’t forget the plant housing and the floor. If you use gravel, it’s far quicker to replace with fresh, but stone floors can take disinfectant. Finally, inspect the plants. Now that their glass palace is so spick and span you need to treat or move out any plants that are diseased or carry pests.