How to Clean Plastic Planters So They Look Like New Again

by N'Ckyola
2 Materials
10 Minutes

I'm a Southerner & we Southerners love a good front porch!

No Southern home is complete without a fern or 5. But every year like clockwork, the urn planters I have my ferns in seem extra dirty.

That's not a good look especially since they are on the front porch on either side of the front door. Plus it's just not good feng shui.

So every year, I pull out the petroleum jelly & a rag & get to work cleaning them. I knew there had to be a better way so this year, I tried something new.

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As you can see, we have 2 large ferns flanking our front door. After Winter Storm Uri hit in February, they didn't make it even though we got them inside early.

It also seemed like the pots were dirtier than normal this year. I'm not sure if that was because of the potting soil we topped them off with, but the planters were just a mess!

I pulled the planters out into the yard, cut back the fern fronds down to soil level, & hosed off the planters.

After they dried in the sun, I grabbed the WD-40 instead of vaseline this time. I figured it had to have the same effect - oil displaces practically EVERYthing - and I would have to buff it on & off like with vaseline.

This was really easy because it's like spray painting. Only faster.

After spraying the planters down I just let them dry before I put them back onto the porch.

And that's it! Quick & easy and I think they look better than new! An extra bonus is that the WD-40 doesn't seem to wear off as fast - water & dirt don't "stick" as much so the plastic is staying clean.

Now if only my ferns would grow back!

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3 of 8 questions
  • Chriss Grijak Chriss Grijak on May 30, 2022

    They look great but wouldn’t the planters have an oily residue on them even after they’ve dried?

  • Wendi Killeen Myers Wendi Killeen Myers on May 30, 2022

    Vaseline is a byproduct of the oil drilling industry. WD-40 is made with fish oil. Which one do you think it's better for the environment and your own health? It's a no-brainer.

  • Fire Bug Fire Bug on May 26, 2023

    Did your fonds Survive thiw? Seems to me WD40 would kill the plants.

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4 of 39 comments
  • Susan Grekso Susan Grekso on Jun 02, 2023

    Looks beautiful

  • Bailey Bailey on Jun 04, 2023

    Thanks for sharing. I have the exact same planter's as you do and it's dull and old looking was wondering what I could find under my sink to make it shine again.

    • N'Ckyola N'Ckyola on Jun 05, 2023

      You're welcome Bailey. Vaseline will also work, it's just not as eco-friendly or easy.