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How to Disinfect Orchid Cutting Tools

February 22, 2013

orchid toolsIt is necessary to cut away certain parts of your Phalaenopsis orchid if you want to trigger reblooming, propagate the plant, or get rid of diseases. Before you cut your orchid, you have to make sure that the scissors or pruners that you are using are perfectly clean, because dirty tools can spread diseases.

Here are instructions on how to disinfect orchid cutting tools:

Use hot water and soap to wash your orchid cutting tools. Then, rinse them properly and wipe them dry with a clean paper towel.

Next, light an alcohol lamp or gas stove, and place the blades of your cutting tools in the flame for a few seconds. After that, put the tools on a paper towel and let them cool. You can proceed to trim your orchid after the tools have cooled. If the blades of your cutting tools have special coatings, you should not use this method to disinfect them, because the heat may cause damage to the coatings.

If you do not want to disinfect your cutting tools with an open flame, you can use a trisodium phosphate solution (TSP) instead. Fill a container that is tall enough to cover the entire lengths of the blades with warm water. Pour TSP into the water and stir. Keep pouring and stirring until the solution is completely saturated. Then, dip the tools into the solution and put them on a paper towel to dry. Instead of the TSP and water solution, you can also use a solution of one part chlorine bleach and nine parts water.

Alternatively, you can disinfect your cutting tools with a rubbing alcohol. Soak a cotton ball or paper towel in rubbing alcohol and wipe the blades of the tools with it. Then, rinse the tools with clean water.

Once your tools are properly sterilized, you can begin pruning your Phalaenopsis orchids.