Cleaning pots

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Cleaning pots

Post  JimLewis on Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:54 pm

This seems the most appropriate place to post this, so . . .

We've had many discussions over the years about how to clean off the white residue that forms on the rims of so many pots. All sorts of chemical solutions have been propounded.

I recently bought an assortment of small bits for my Dremel. Included in these was a stiff bristle (NOT wire) brush which, I found was perfect to remove this caked-on stuff. It did no damage to the pots or the glazes. If you have a variable speed tool, use one of the higher speeds. Little or no pressure is required.

BTW, I still think it is something in the chemical nature of the clay or glaze that instigates the formation of this white residue. Some pots never get it. Some get it almost immediately.

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:24 pm

Jim,
I very often use scotch-brite pads along with mineral oil to clean pots. It seems to work good most of the time.
MANY chinese pots of poor quality clay and glaze are not fired very high. This often means up north they won't last long in winter, but further south , like you, they may just allow water to travel through the clay AND glaze to dry the salts on the outside of the pot. I've seen this a lot with very cheap pots.
Also, (you might be seeing this) I noticed, over the years, on some 'high quality finished' unglazed chinese pots that they have a coating of something applied on them to increase the finish on the outside. I'm wanting to say it's some type of wax product. In any case, I've noticed this almost immediately whitening on the outside of pots that I've used. Usually larger, more expensive unglazed chinese pots that I've bought to replace larger mica pots with on collected trees. I found they are often also risky during our winters, but I imagine they would do fine in your climate.
I'd really like to hear if Lindsay has ever seen anything applied to the surface of mass produced molded pots in china to increase the sheen?

Dale

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  JimLewis on Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:29 pm

I've lost a couple of Chinese pots down here. It DOES get cold -- like 8 degrees F a couple of times this winter. I usually bury Chinese pots in much. Mica pots get these deposits very easily.

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Cleaning Pots

Post  Eastern Bonsai on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:50 am

Hello, All. New to the site. I have found a good way to eliminate the salt build up, including residue. I have a large basin of water in my greenhouse, after repotting I place the pot in the basin of water. This works great, when I need a pot I just grab one thats been soaking awhile. Hope this helps.
Abe

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Alan Walker on Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:48 am

I wish Scotch Brite and mineral oil would work on my pots. It does make it look better at the time by hiding the calcium deposits, but as soon as the oil is cleaned off, the deposits are still there. Our water is very hard here in Lake Charles. And it does a number on expensive Tokoname pots almost as bad as on the cheap Chinese pots.

I know it is de rigueur to put down Chinese pots these days. Actually, the many of the Chinese pots I've been seeing in recent years rival those of Tokoname in quality.

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  JimLewis on Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:14 pm

New post by Alan Walker Yesterday at 9:48 pm
I wish Scotch Brite and mineral oil would work on my pots. It does make it look better at the time by hiding the calcium deposits, but as soon as the oil is cleaned off, the deposits are still there. Our water is very hard here in Lake Charles. And it does a number on expensive Tokoname pots almost as bad as on the cheap Chinese pots.

Try the bristle brush, Alan. We have well water here and had it in Florida. High in calcium. The brush takes it off easily. Wipe the pot with a clean, dry rag afterward. No artificial gloss fro the oil. Like new.

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Alan Walker on Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:36 pm

Jim: I intend to try that. Show time is coming up.
Would you mind posting a photo of the bristle attachment?

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  JimLewis on Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:03 pm



and


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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Alan Walker on Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:25 am

Thanks, Jim. I'll see if I can find one like that.

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  JimLewis on Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:40 pm

Dremel says these http://www.dremel.com/en-us/Tools/Pages/RetiredProducts.aspx are discontinued, but maybe you can find them somewhere else.

None of these http://www.dremel.com/en-us/AttachmentsAndAccessories/Pages/CategoryProducts.aspx?catid=64&catname=Polishing+Brushes seem quite right, but probably would work.

I have a cheap ripoff corded rotary tool from Changzhau Electric Tools in China -- brand name "Rotary Tool" -- that I got a year or so ago from Best Buy. It came with these brushes. Guess I better start looking myself since they won't last forever. It takes all the Dremel bits.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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re: pots cleaning

Post  NELSON HERNANDEZ on Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:25 pm

Thanks IBC.. we have a new toy now!

Altough it may sound nasty or rare I used WD-40 to clean and shine my bonsai pots inclusive for the shows. I never had bad experience using it. It produce a nice natural look shine and remove stains and greens spout. Try it, and let me know.

Regards for all budies.




NELSON HERNANDEZ

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:27 pm

I've used WD 40, too, but decided it did NOT clean the pots; it just hid the crusty stuff. And it seemed that no matter how sparingly I used it my pots all smelled like WD 40, and if you can smell it that means there are molecules of something in the air and thjose may not be what you want your tree to breathe.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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pot cleaning

Post  mikesmith on Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:43 pm

The best things for cleaning pots I have found are a combination of household vinegar to soften or remove the calcium deposits then a vigorous rub with a rubber abrasive block. One of the best blocks kicking around in bonsai shops is called Crean Mate, its a Japanese bonsai product and you can take a look at one here: http://www.dai-ichibonsai.com/products.asp?cat=&page=15&id=329 but I am sure someone in the States will be selling them.

In my view it is one of the handiest cleaning products I have because it is also good for cleaning tools and polishing up their cutting edges.

Once cleaned I often wipe pots and tools with a few drops of camelia oil. Again bonsai shops sell this but you can sometimes find it cheaper in general tool shops/stores.

Mike

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  John Quinn on Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:27 pm

mikesmith wrote:The best things for cleaning pots I have found are a combination of household vinegar to soften or remove the calcium deposits then a vigorous rub with a rubber abrasive block. One of the best blocks kicking around in bonsai shops is called Crean Mate, its a Japanese bonsai product and you can take a look at one here: http://www.dai-ichibonsai.com/products.asp?cat=&page=15&id=329 but I am sure someone in the States will be selling them.

In my view it is one of the handiest cleaning products I have because it is also good for cleaning tools and polishing up their cutting edges.

Once cleaned I often wipe pots and tools with a few drops of camelia oil. Again bonsai shops sell this but you can sometimes find it cheaper in general tool shops/stores.

Mike

The Monastery sells the Sandflex block which I have used for cleaning tools...works great!
Sandflex at the Monastery

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cleaning pots

Post  Roger S Case on Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:55 pm

I have had some success with the same product I take of the hard water deposits on the windows her in New Mexico -- CLR --and so far it doesn't seem to smel or hurt the pots I have cleaned with it --

Roger Case

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  prestontolbert on Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:21 pm

I know a few potters who Armorall their pots before a show. The pots look fine for a few weeks, then a white film appears.

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  TreeKiller64 on Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:20 am

I've used CLR and or/ Lime Away on pots,,,
I've also read-heard that muratic acid will remove the calcium build-up. When I use these chems, I wear the proper safety equip, and will use a Green Scotchbrite pad and then soak/rinse them extensively to flush it out.
KJ

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Will Heath on Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:07 am

Here in Michigan, the poor quality pots are the ones in pieces when the snow melts. Unless I am buying for tropicals, I shy away from Chinese pots, as I have lost too many. A terra Cotta planter here will fall apart after one winter outdoors, but a quality Tokoname will last years. These days I flick the pot with a fingernail, I have learned to hear the beautiful tone of a high fired pot and the duller thud of a low fired pot. Not scientific, but it has worked for me.

For calcium deposits on pots, I use scotch bright pads and a ancient secret ingredient handed down from generation to generation, but which is mostly bypassed today in favor of new and improved products that just don't do as good of a job.



Elbow grease. Wink



Will

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Dishwasher

Post  landerloos on Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:12 am

I Put my pots in the dishwasher, works fine and I have had no broken ones yet.

Peter

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Re: cleaning pots

Post  Geof on Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:24 pm

I have also used CLR type product to clean pots and it works great. I rinse the pots well just to make sure all the chemical is removed. I don't use it inside the pots. The deposit is dissolved lime residue from hard water. Salt deposits should just wash away. I have also used scotch brite pads. I have friends who swear by the japanese cleaning block that looks like a large eraser.
Geof

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Alan Walker on Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:06 pm

JimLewis wrote:Dremel says these http://www.dremel.com/en-us/Tools/Pages/RetiredProducts.aspx are discontinued, but maybe you can find them somewhere else.

None of these http://www.dremel.com/en-us/AttachmentsAndAccessories/Pages/CategoryProducts.aspx?catid=64&catname=Polishing+Brushes seem quite right, but probably would work.

I have a cheap ripoff corded rotary tool from Changzhau Electric Tools in China -- brand name "Rotary Tool" -- that I got a year or so ago from Best Buy. It came with these brushes. Guess I better start looking myself since they won't last forever. It takes all the Dremel bits.
Jim: I finally was able to try your technique, and I must say it works better than anything I've tried before. The Scotchbrite pads and elbow grease are similar, but they never seemed to do the job adequately on the calcium stains on my pots.
What I found at Lowe's was the Dremel 511E which has two finishing abrasive buffs. One is coarse 180-220 grit (brown) and the other is medium 280-320 grit (gray). I required both to complete the cleaning of one pot. (shown below)
[img][/img]
As you can see, it had a lot of calcium buildup on it before.
[img][/img]

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Alan Walker on Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:11 pm

By the way, the above pot was purchased at Tokoname in Japan in 1989. It appears hand made from the print of canvas on the bottom slab. Does anyone recognize the signature?
[img][/img]

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  JimLewis on Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:18 pm

It's repotting time, and I thought I'd revive this post. I lost one of my favorite Dale C pots this winter to the very cold winter and I have to repot a small tree. The only pot I have on hand right now is an old, unglazed pot that was covered in white scum, so I got out the Dremel tool and the bristle brush. The first picture shows the pot rim about half done. You can see the difference. The second picture (not as clear but I'm too lazy to reshoot) shows it done.




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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:54 pm

Alan Walker wrote:By the way, the above pot was purchased at Tokoname in Japan in 1989. It appears hand made from the print of canvas on the bottom slab. Does anyone recognize the signature?
[img][/img]

Alan, BEAUTIFUL pot!

It's "Shuhou", Mr. Susumu Kataoka.

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Re: Cleaning pots

Post  Mike Jones on Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:56 pm

Thank you Jim, works perfectly. I finish my pots after cleaning with camellia oil. As Jim says, WD-40 stinks and you wonder just how healthy it is for trees; I rub it in my knees though.

Yes I've tried the dishwasher, and make certain it is not on the hottest setting for optimum results. Some pots I cannot get in the dishwasher though:cry:


Mike

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Re: Cleaning pots

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