Cleaning your grow tent in between grows, and often periodically during your grow, is an essential part of growing medical grade cannabis. Your goal when approaching this maintenance task should be centered on both sanitation and sterilization.
In reference to indoor horticulture, sanitization is essentially a good, deep cleaning. It is as much a part of an indoor garden’s ongoing maintenance as changing light bulbs or refilling nutrient reservoirs. Sanitization practices will usually eliminate some of the most unwanted micro-organisms. However, sanitization does not necessarily mean the use of a cleaning product or antimicrobial product. A simple wipe down to remove the “filth” could be considered sanitizing. Think of sanitization as keeping a consistently tidy growroom. By doing this, growers can remove most pathogens and prevent a slew of problems. There are many practices of sanitization a grower should apply within an indoor growroom. Creating a checklist to keep track of what was done, and when, can be an invaluable tool in maintaining the sanitization of an indoor garden.
Sterilization is a more involved cleaning process and refers to the elimination of micro-organisms including fungi, bacteria, spores and viruses. Sterilization can be achieved by using heat, filtration or chemical cleaners-the most common method for the indoor gardener being the chemical cleaners. Sterilization is generally used more selectively within an indoor growroom. In other words, it is unnecessary, and probably counterproductive, to try and sterilize everything within an indoor garden. The items normally sterilized by horticulturists are hydroponic systems, planting containers, cloning chambers or other places where plants are most sensitive to pathogens. The most common chemical cleaners used as sterilizing agents in horticulture are bleach and hydrogen peroxide. When you are sterilizing with a chemical cleaner it is always a good idea to wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself from potentially abrasive chemicals.
Hydrogen peroxide is good too for wiping surfaces and such, and it safe around plants as it degrades to just water and a free oxygen molecule - no chemicals at all.
Bleach is best for killing everything, virii included, but Hydrogen Peroxide is better for use when the garden is up and running.
Also, be careful with certain chemical cleaners, as they may damage the reflective lining of your tent.
Let's get to cleaning specific problems with grow tents:
- If you want to clean your grow tent from a spider mite infestation, then you will want to not only remove everything and and bleach the inside and outside perimeter, but you will also want to clean all of your clothes, towels used, equipment used, fan ducts, storage areas, etc. Spider mites are a pain and the ass and you do not want them back. We also have a theory that they breed at the grow stores and that's where they congregate, so buy all your supplies at once if possible and don't frequent the grow store without at least changing clothes before then entering your tent.
- If you want to clean your tent from a mildew or mold infestation, you should clean everything heavily with a strong bleach solution, similar to the step above for mites. Additionally you may want to in the future use a UV light (check out this badass uv light made for cannabis pictured to the right) in your tent to reduce the infection rate. The best thing you can do in the future to combat mold and mildew in cannabis is reducing your humidity level.