Our indoor gardens like to sit in soil, but not be surrounded by filth. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your girls in their pots and not all over your floor, but it’s important to practice proper hygiene in your grow room. Your gals will surely thank you for it.
Let’s look at the components of an indoor grow that need an occasional scrub-down and some organic and conventional solutions.
Carbon Filters and Light Bulbs
Carbon filters and bulbs need to be periodically replaced, refilled or completely switched out for efficiency purposes.
Carbon filters: here’s a neat instructional YouTube video on setting up a Carbon filter, exhaust fan, & cover sleeve.
Claims have been made that carbon filters last anywhere from 9 months to just over 2 years. The thing about carbon filters is that when they stop working as efficiently as day 1, you can be certain that you’ll notice. Carbon filters are key to remaining discreet and the second they stop working your nose will alert you to refill the cartridge with virgin carbon or to go out and get a new filter (i.e. a Rhino Pro filter or a Phresh filter). Remember, your nose knows.
You could switch out the carbon filter sleeves (pre-filters) in between crops if you wish, you can find 16in (and smaller) pre filters for under $10.00.
Metal Halide MH (veg bulb):
Produces 65-115 lumens/watt. The average life span of an MH bulb is around 10,000 hrs of use, beyond this point there is a gradual decline in light output.
High Pressure Sodium HPS (bloom bulb):
Produces up to 140 lumens/watt. The average life span of an HPS bulb is twice that of an MH. After reaching 18,000 hrs of use, approx. 12-18 months, they begin to require more energy while gradually producing less light over time—time for a new bulb!
But what about maintenance of the not-so-disposable, longer lasting components of the grow operation?
Replacement of such equipment doesn’t have an expiration date like carbon filters and bulbs; they aren’t as disposable as sticky fly traps or as dispensable as the run off water that should be emptied immediately to avoid hoarding any sitting water. So what’s the best way to foster efficiency and cleanliness in your garden? Regular cleaning! Let’s look at both some organic and non-organic solutions to keep all the components or your grow room fresh.
Hydrogen peroxide H₂O₂
Good ol’ H₂O₂; as a cleaning and sterilizing agent this alternative cleaner leaves behind the cleanest by-products: oxygen (O₂) and 2 water (H₂O) molecules.
H₂O₂ + H₂O = 2H₂O + O₂
When H₂O₂ breaks down, a water molecule is released leaving behind a single, highly, reactive oxygen atom (O-).
H₂O₂ = H₂O + O-
This unstable O- atom then frantically searches to bond itself to either another Oxygen atom (creating a double bonded and stable O=O; O2molecule)
H₂O₂ + H₂O = 2H₂O + O₂
Or a neighboring organic molecules such as pesticides or herbicides and degrades them.
Dead organic material, existing infections, many disease causing anaerobic organisms, spores, and algae can all be suppressed and eliminated by the free and unstable O- atom alone.
H₂O₂ will also eliminate the Chlorine that is most often found in our tap water.
Food grade H₂O₂ [35%], can be found at most hydroponics stores, but should be diluted to 3% or 5 % for application.
By mixing 1-part 35% H₂O₂ to 11-parts distilled H₂O you can dilute 35% -> 3% H₂O₂.
A more natural bleach alternative:
Alternatives to bleach are the safest to use in your grow room, as an accidental mad scientist experiment at home could be toxic and dangerous!
Bleach reacts with ammonia to form toxic chloramine fumes , which you definitely want to avoid inhaling! Respiratory damage and throat burn.
Bleach combining with dish soap creased mustard gas. Blisters on exposed skin and lungs.
Bleach combined with any organic product creates chloroform. Chemical burn, eyes and lungs.
So what is a perfect alternative to bleach? Taking the two key players in our previous H₂O₂ recipe, H₂O₂ and H₂0, and adding a third ingredient:
- 1 cup H₂O₂
- 12 cups H₂O
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Accidental combinations occur naturally, mixing bleach with almost anything seems toxic, and even H₂O₂ combined with vinegar results in a corrosive and irritating acid—peracetic acid. It is best to avoid combining bleach with anything altogether, and to dilute H₂O₂ with and vinegar with water.
Vinegar diluted with distilled water is a great organic cleaning agent that removes odors and cleans surfaces such as hoods and glass. Pouring vinegar into your dehumidifier naturally cleans it.
A good 80/20 mix of H₂O to vinegar solution in a spray bottle with a few paper towels and you should be set to wipe down the interior of your tent and all the surfaces inside.
A good plant based product line is SeventhGeneration, their all-purpose cleaner is a perfect alternative to harsher chemical based cleaners when wiping down hoods, tents, trays, tools, buckets, pots- pretty much all surfaces inside your tent or within your grow room!
When considering using bleach, Windex, or other chemically based house-hold favorites I’d recommend waiting until your room is temporarily empty in between crops. Even if your next batch of girls are ready to be flowered right after your last harvest, I’d make sure the grow space was empty first before getting down and scrubbing. Having no girls in the tent/room lessens the chances of chemical particles potentially falling on them or fumes suffocating the prospering flowers. Better safe than sorry, in my opinion.
In between crop cleaning:
It’s good to get down and scrub every component of the grow room in-between crops.
- Floors swept and mopped (bleach +water/ pinesol + water/ organic cleaning agent of choice)
- Walls wiped down (windex, lysol, lysol wipes, organic product of choice)
Grow components: either bleached or wiped down with organic cleaning product of choice
- Oscillating Fans
- Measuring cups/tools/equipment
Weekly or biweekly cleaning:
Scheduling a weekly or biweekly “Sunday-Grow-Room-Scrub-Down” day or whatever clever day you can come up with will result in a cleaner grow room. Dedication will pay off and cleaning in between crop will be less of a task.
Cleanliness is close to awesomeness. Hope this has helped! Now go out there and get your scrub on this “Scrubby Saturday” afternoon. Happy farming!