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Confession: I am TERRIBLE at remembering to clean my Aerogarden. I’m very much a bare-minimum-of-effort person. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to clean, and it doesn’t take too long.
A quick clean out of the reservoir with a bit of bleach and a wipe of the pod tray and you’re done.
How often should you clean your Aerogarden?
Ideally, whenever it gets a bit grotty, which is every couple of months.
I’m simply not going to do that though.
Instead, I like to only clean my Aerogarden when it’s strictly necessary, i.e. when:
- You’re about to start a new harvest.
- You’ve had a bug infestation
Nothing bad will necessarily happen if you don’t clean your Aerogarden at these times, but it’s always best to. Removing all traces of bugs, algae, general grime, and nutrient residue will set your next harvest up for success.
As for cleaning it when you have bugs, it just makes sense to reduce the population as much as possible.
So, what steps should you go through to clean the Aerogarden? I’ve laid them out for you below.
By the way, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to go about this. It’s just what I do, and I *broadly* follow what they say on the Aerogarden website.
NB the Aerogrden website suggests you just whack the reservoir and grow deck (fancy words – you’ll see later on that I prefer ‘pod holder thing’) through the dishwasher. It says nothing about removing the pump – surely we shouldn’t be getting the pump socket wet??
This does NOT matter to me, for I am not blessed with a dishwasher. So I’m going to be washing mine in the sink like a pleb.
I’ve not washed it since we moved, and it…needs it.
1 – Unplug the Aerogarden
Let’s be safe, guys.
One thing: if you’re newish to Aerogardens, you may not be aware of how many pieces it breaks down into.
I read several sets of cleaning instructions and only discovered that the grow deck breaks into two parts by accident. I’ll show that later. It’s gross.
Unplug it. Then wipe this thing down with a microfibre cloth or similar. Don’t get it wetter than necessary. Electricity and all that.
2 – Clean the filter
The filter is the little square of black stuff that lives in the pump. I, er, lost mine. ANd by lost, I mean I chucked it out because I didn’t know what it was.
Like, almost immediately after I unboxed the Aerogarden. Should I get another one? Yes. Did it impact any of my harvests? Don’t think so.
Anyway, a quick rinse with water to remove roots etc should do fine for this.
3 – Clean the reservoir
It’s recommended that you use either bleach or vinegar to do this. So that’s what I would do. Either 5 cups of vinegar or 1/4 cup of bleach.
Note the EITHER bleach OR vinegar. Don't mix them and gas yourself
I had neither, so I used washing-up liquid. Oops. So far it hasn’t exploded or anything.
I also employed the use of a scrub daddy and a medium-bristled toothbrush. Wish it was firm, but we’ll know for next time.
4 – Rinse the reservoir
Twice if you went off-piste and used dish soap instead of bleach or vinegar. Dry it thoroughly. I left mine outside in the sun to dry.
5 – Clean the pod holder thing
This is where the rest of the internet falls short when it comes to explaining how to clean an Aerogarden.
The grow deck is this bit:
THE GROW DECK COMES APART.
AND THE MIDDLE IS GROSS
I’ve put arrows on the photo above that point to two little rubbery screws that you can remove. Then you can unclip the clips around the edge.
I cleaned this with washing-up liquid again (I can’t be tamed!) and my trusty toothbrush. It’s a pain, but satisfying to do.
6 – Reassemble
Self-explanatory. I’ll just add that you shouldn’t attempt to reassemble the grow deck outside on your decking because you’ll drop a little screw and it’ll very nearly drop between the planks.
Why am I like this?? The length of the list of stuff I’ve lost to decking is ridiculous. We had an issue with our water pipes at our old house and the landlady asked my boyfriend to pull up the decking. It was like Santa’s grotto under there.
Start a new harvest!
I think I’m going to go for a grow your own kit next time, because I think if I grow a tomato plant, a dill, and a basil, I’ll get the most usage out of it (I LOVE tomatoes and dill, and basil’s always a good shout). It might be a little tight, but who cares? I can shift the tomatoes to soil if push comes to shove (AND ADD MORE DILL. DILL IS LIFE).
Will algae harm my Aerogarden?
As you could probably see, I had a LOT of algae buildup in my Aerogarden. It looks gross, but it isn’t harmful.
THAT BEING SAID
Algae can take up nutrients which can leave your crops hungry. Luckily, the reservoir is pretty dark if all six pods are in use, so algae doesn’t tend to grow much in the Aerogarden itself. If you’re not using all the pods, try to cover them up so light can’t get into it and cause algae. You can get special covers or, ahem, tape them up with electrical tape or similar.
What about the stuff that grows around the pod holes?
The weird brown gunk that grows around the edges of the pod holes is most like to be a combination of algae and residue left over by the fertiliser. It’s not harmful, but you can wipe it away with a damp cloth to stop it from ruining the aesthetic of your Aerogarden.
I hope that was helpful. I feel a *bit* guilty because I basically write this article to force myself into cleaning my Aerogarden, and it working like a freaking CHARM. Thanks, guys, you’re the best!