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Washing Tubes - Tips and Tricks

If you were inspired by our newsletter to pick up a few boxes of dirty tubes and wash them at home we salute you – any extra hands on pot washing is excellent news!

We're not short of clean tubes at present but it’s a mentally depressing sight to see that the stockpile isn’t going down despite the efforts being made! Also, the backlog of dirty tubes is taking up space on one of our workbench areas.

People come up with their own methods, but here's how we do it at SOWN.

We generally set up 2 or more large containers of water and add a squirt of ordinary dishwashing liquid to both.

Soak several stacks of tubes in one container of water, then take the tubes off the stacks one by one, getting rid of most of the large bits of dirt, potting mix, twigs and leaves. The is the "rinse and separate" stage.

Repeat this until till the second container is full of loose tubes. Then scrub inside of each tube plus outside of base with a round-ended bottle brush. There are two brushes near the tube washing sink at the Nursery that will give you an idea of the type that works.

Finally, toss the clean tube (shouldn’t need to rinse off in fresh water) out to dry!

Tips!: the tubes will often have bits of leaves, leftover roots and other debris inside them so the tubs of water will become very mukky! That why the "rinse and separate" stage is vital. If you have tank water, you can combine this stage with watering the garden, by using the hose to blast out most of the muck. .

Some people scrub the outside of the tubes with the brush but you can just as well use a nylon “exfoliating glove” from your bathroom and run your hand over the sides. Another alternative is an old towelling sock over your hand. Cut a small slit to fit your thumb through so you can better grip the tubes to pull them apart.

Best tubs (containers) to use are wide ones – depth doesn’t really matter. If you don’t have large enough containers at home to make working easy, we’ve found a wheelbarrow can work well, OR, borrow a couple of the larger blue plastic tubs from inside the Nursery shed. They aren’t ideal but are better than nothing!

Tubes can be returned to us LOOSE in any kind of container, like cardboard boxes, because we sterilise them LOOSE in baskets to ensure that all surfaces are adequately covered by the Phytoclean solution.

That's it. Have fun. You can pick tubes up from the nursery 8-12noon Wednesdays or Saturdays 9-11am.