How to Sanitize Orchid Pruning Tools

Gardening Tools
Sterilize Scissors For Orchids

If you want to trigger reblooming on your orchid, it's important to prune it carefully. This pruning will cut away certain parts of the plant and make it bloom. Cutting is also necessary in some other cases, such as plant propagation or when you want to get rid of a disease.

There are many reasons why you might want to cut parts of your orchid. Sooner or later, your orchid will require some pruning. Before you start cutting, however, it's important to make sure that all the pruning tools you might want to use are perfectly clean and sanitized. The most common pruning tools are scissors and pruners. It's crucial to ensure that they are fully cleaned and properly sanitized because dirty tools can spread diseases and damage your orchid.

Cleaning Pruning Tools

To clean your pruning tools, follow these simple instructions:

  • Wash your orchid pruning tools. Use hot water and soap for this purpose. After you have washed them, rinse them properly. Wipe them dry with a clean paper towel.
  • The next step is to sanitize the tools properly. Light an alcohol lamp or gas stove and place the blades of the cutting tools in the flame for a few seconds. After this, place them on a paper towel and let them cool. After the tools have cooled, you can cut your orchids without worrying about diseases or dirt. One word of caution: in case blades of your cutting tools have special coatings, you can't use this method of disinfection, because the heat may damage the coatings.
  • In case you don't want to use the flame method (or if you can't use it because of the special coating on the cutting tools), use trisodium phosphate solution (TSP) to disinfect them instead. To use this method, fill a container with water to place the tools inside. Make sure that the container is tall enough to cover the entire length of the blades. Pour TSP in the water and stir. You have to keep pouring and stirring until the solution is completely saturated. After this, dip the tools into the solution. After this, place them on a paper towel to dry. One note: instead of TSP and water solution, you may also use a solution of one part chlorine bleach and nine parts water.
  • Finally, you may decide to disinfect your orchid pruning tools with a rubbing alcohol. To use this method, soak a cotton ball or a paper towel in rubbing alcohol. Wipe the blades of the cutting tools with it. After this, rinse the tools with clean water.

These are methods you should use to fully disinfect all of your orchid pruning tools. Once the cutting tools are properly cleaned and sterilized, you may prune your orchid without a problem.

Photo credit: Peter Stevens

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