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Why Do I Need to Clean my Plants' Substrate

Many growers prefer to wash out their cannabis plants’ roots at the end of their life cycle in order to improve flavours and aromas, whereas some don’t do this at all. This isn0t the only reason you should wash out your substrate – let’s have a look at the different circumstances in which it can be necessary.


If you accidentally over-fertilize your plants, you’ll need to use a substrate cleaner so that they can keep growing without any issues. In this case, you’ll need to clean out the substrate and start using small doses of nutrients in order to slowly recover your plants’ health.

Nutrient Blockage

This happens when nutrients and micronutrients in your plants’ soil can’t be absorbed because the pH level is wrong. This usually happens when you don’t measure pH in your nutrient solution or if you’re using low quality tap water.

Before Harvesting

In this case, you need to clean your plants in order to make sure they produce original non-altered flavours. An accumulation of salts or minerals can ruin the flavour of your cannabis.

Is Nutrient Flushing Important before Harvesting?

Cannabis absorb part of the nitrogen given to them in the form of nitrates. These nitrates, when consumed with cannabis, end up combined with the amines in our organism, turning into nitrosamines which are carcinogenic. This is why you should always flush the roots in order to avoid consuming any toxic residues.

The best way to avoid this is to wash out your plants’ roots towards the end of the growing period to avoid excess nitrogen.

Root Flushing is Important for Original Cannabis Flavours

As well as the previously mentioned motives, there’s another important reason why you should flush out your plants roots; the bud flavour. During the growth and bloom stages, you’ve been giving your cannabis plants nutrients and additives. Towards the end of the cycle they’re may be fertilizers accumulated in the soil or substrate which your plants will keep absorbing right until the end – this can modify the flavour of their flowers if not dealt with.

To avoid this, clean your plants’ substrate of minerals and salts.

Cannabis Plant Maturation

In order for your cannabis plants to fully mature, you’ll need to keep in mind the following:

  • You’ll need to stop feeding with fertilizers during the last 15 days.
  • Move your plants away from light slightly (or lower your lights if you’re using a ballast with a dimmer such as the famous Lumatek model) in order to stimulate the arrival of autumn.
  • Lower the temperature if you have an AC unit (during hotter times) or air intraction (during colder times) – this helps trichomes to mature fully.

What are Cleaners or Flushers for Cannabis Roots?

You can clean substrates using just water, but keep in mind that:

  • You need to use at least three times as much water as your flowerpot can take. For example, if your flowerpot is 11L you’ll need to use at least 33L of water.
  • You’ll need to use high quality water – an EC of about 0.4, which means you’ll need to use osmosis water depending on your region.

Disadvantages of Flushing Roots with Water

  • It can be awkward bringing your plants into the bath or shower to avoid filling up your grow room with water, draining them out.
  • You need an awful lot of water, especially outdoors. Imagine you’ve been growing outdoors in 40L pots, you’ll need to use 120L of water to clean out each plant.

Fortunately, there are various types of cleaners that can make this process much easier. Cleaners don’t damage the soil or any beneficial microorganisms in the substrate which can happen when you use bottled or osmosis water without any calcium or magnesium.

How to Use Cannabis Root Cleaners?

Cleaners are super easy to use and they stop you from having to struggle washing roots out using lots of water. This process is much easier:

  • Use the cleaner according to the dose indicated by the manufacturer, just like a normal feeding.
  • Let about 10 – 20% water drain, as usual.

When to Flush Cannabis Roots

  • If you’ve run into an over-feeding issue, use as needed.
  • When you flip to flower, Terra Aquatica recommends using Florakleen.
  • When the flowering stage is over, use a cleaner to improve flavour and aroma. In order to know exactly when to do this, follow the seed bank’s indications regarding harvesting times. You can also check your plant for amber-coloured trichomes.

What’s the Best Cannabis Root Flusher?

We highly recommend using a product in the same range or by the same manufacturer as the fertilizers you’ve been using, guaranteeing compatibility.

At la Huerta Grow Shop you can find:

Make sure not to confuse these with Canna’s D-Block, which is a cleaner designed to automatic watering systems. This doesn’t clean plants; it’s used to clean out pipes.

If you have any questions regarding our salt cleaners and root flushers, make sure to consult La Huerta Grow Shop’s team of professionals, we’re happy to help.

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