How to clean Air Stones for hydroponics

How to clean Air Stones for hydroponics: Step-by-Step Guide

In this article, we will discuss how to clean air stones for hydroponics, which is a very important process of aquarium and hydroponic systems. Let’s start this blog with what is air stones, what is the role of air stones in hydroponic systems?

Hydroponic refers to the practice of growing plants in nutrient-rich media, produces higher yield in a very short time, and uses less space. Air stones are porous elements that increase oxygen levels by releasing air bubbles that will promote nutrient uptake and root growth. Proper maintenance and cleaning are necessary to increase its lifespan and proper work, otherwise, the pores are clogged with dirt and hamper the oxygenation process.

What is the Use of Air Stone in Hydroponic System:

The air stones present in the hydroponic system make large numbers of tiny bubbles that help in the movement of oxygen in the water. An air stone diffuses the air into the water; it is this that oxygenates the water in the hydroponic system. The air diffuser can be made up of rubber or plastic tubing. But in comparison with air stones, these are a bit larger and costly. So, by using air stones the micro environment of the hydroponic system becomes oxygen-rich and friendlier for the growth and development of plants.

Air stones | How to clean air stones
Air stones | Picture credit: The Hydroponics Planet

Importance of Cleaning Air Stones:

Many of the growers prefer to buy new air stones for their hydroponic system after the old stones become dirty and lose the efficiency of work. But it will increase the input costs of the farmers. So, it is better to clean the old air stones by following the above-mentioned ways which will reduce the input costs as well as give some extra benefits, which are discussed below-

Save The Cost of Cultivation: 

It is important to know how to clean air stones because it will reduce the cost of cultivation. It is very easy to clean air stones, you just have to know the proper process, so, the unnecessary cost of buying air stones for hydroponics is reduced, and the farmer earns more profit. Sometimes the stones are working efficiently but need to be cleaned once, at that time changing them without cleaning increases the cost that can never be recovered.

Function of Air stone | How to clean air stones
Function of Air stone | Picture credit: The Hydro Bros

Extend the Lifespan of Air Stones: 

The lifespan of air stones will increase by cleaning and reusing them for hydroponic systems. It will reduce the cost of the initial setup and increase the profit of farmers.

Waste Management:  

Hydroponic means sustainable agriculture, and management of all waste management in the proper way. Otherwise, it will create an argument. Cleaning and reusing air stone instead of wasting it will promote sustainable agriculture.

Materials Required to clean Air Stones:

Used Clogged Air Stones: 

Previously used air stones that are clogged with dirt.

Distilled White Vinegar: 

Used to dip the dirty air stones to dissolve the materials present in it.

Soft Brush: 

Used to clean air stones.

Tissue paper:

 Used to remove excess moisture from the air stones.


Used to wash the air stones properly. It is necessary to clean all the dirt or vinegar residues before further use. 

Air stones cleaning elements | How to clean air stones
Air stones cleaning elements | Picture credit : The Spruce

How to clean Air Stones: Step by Step Method

Removing The Air Stones from The Hydroponic System:

At first, it is necessary to remove the air stone very carefully to avoid any type of damage. Before removing the air stones you have to turn off the air pump system.

Soaking The Air Stone in Vinegar Solution:

Make a solution of distilled white vinegar and water in a ratio of 3:1. Then pour the solution into a container and soak the air stone in it overnight or at least for 4 to 6 hours.  All the dirt particles and organic matter are dissolved in this solution

Scrubbing The Air Stone:

Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the air stone to remove the dirt or any fungal growth present in it. You should keep in mind that using a soft brush is important to avoid damage to the air stone.

Washing With Water:

After scrubbing, thoroughly wash the air stone with running water to remove the dirt, contaminants, and also the vinegar solution residue.

Drying The Air Stone:

Dry the air stones completely with the help of tissue paper or paper towel to eliminate excess moisture before replacing them. It will help to stop the growth of microorganisms.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

After drying the air stone set it in the hydroponic system and start the air pump again. Check whether the bubbles are produced properly or not to ensure they are working efficiently. Observe the hydroponic system for a few days along with plant growth and health to view its function.

How to clean air stones | How to clean air stones
How to clean air stones | Picture credit: Seeds And Spades

How to Clean Air Stones: Alternate Method

There is not only one method to answer the question how to clean air stones. Let’s discuss the alternate method of cleaning air stones.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a cleaning agent instead of vinegar in the same process. It is recommended to test it in a small area before use because this solution is sensitive for some people.

Then scrub it with the help of a smooth brush to remove all the dirt present in it. Then wash it with clean water to rinse the water. Then dry it paper towel to remove extra moisture. Then set it in the air pump of the hydroponic system and monitor the activity to check its function.

Another Most Cost-Effective Method of Cleaning Air Stones-

Cleaning of air stone doesn’t take much effort, but the only it required is cleaning in a particular interval for long time use. For those farmers who can’t afford the cost of chemicals required for cleaning, for them the most cost-effective process of cleaning is discussed below-

  • Remove the air stones from the system and soak them in clean water so that the water can reach inside the stone where the blockages are.
  •  Then brush them using a soft brush in the same way discussed earlier.
  •  Air dry them before the next step.
  • After drying keep the air stones in a pan, put water again, and start boiling at low heat and continue up to 10 minutes. It helps to break the internal junk and sterilize them properly. After it becomes cool dry them again in air.
  •   After that soak them in a solution consisting of 1 part of bleach and 3 parts of water for a period of time depending on how much dirty those stones are. It helps to kill the existing microorganisms present inside the air stone.
  • The further professes are the same as discussed in other methods.

Requirement of Any Special Cleaning:

Not at all. You just need white vinegar and a soft brush to clean the air stones used in the hydroponic system. If vinegar is unavailable you can use salt and water mixture to remove the dirt from air stones. So, there is no rocket science to answer the question, that is how to clean air stones.

Why Should Not Bake Air Stones in Microwaves or in Oven:

Some people may recommend drying air stone using a microwave or oven but probably it is not the right way of drying. The air stones may be affected in several ways if going through this process. It may change the internal properties of the air stones, they become fragile and prone to break. Most importantly the internal blockage and different microorganisms can’t be managed by using microwave or oven drying. And it is not cost-effective also for the farmers.

When to Clean Air Stones in A Hydroponics System:

Cleaning air stones is very necessary in hydroponics systems to ensure healthy plant growth. The functions of air stones are to deliver oxygen to the plant root as well as it prevent the entry of pathogens. Ultimately the air stones help to take nutrients in an efficient manner and grow in a proper way. So, when the air stones are not working properly the plants are showing illness and produce some stress hormones. The farmers need to follow the behavior of the plants and then clean the air stones. Cleaning of air stones mainly depends on the type of hydroponics system the farmer adopts.

In a low-flow hydroponic system, air stones should be cleaned after three-month intervals to avoid microorganism build-up. And in a high-flow hydroponics system, it is recommended to clean the stones at every six-month interval.

Some Tips for Cleaning Hydroponics Air Stones:

  •  Careful removal of air stones from the hydroponic systems is necessary. It will reduce the chance of any damage.
  • Proper maintenance is necessary to keep the hydroponic system healthy.
  •    Hydrogen peroxide is sensitive for some people so, preventive measures should be taken while using hydrogen peroxide.
  •   Proper monitoring should be followed during resetting for the next 2 to 3 days to check whether it is working properly or not.
  •  You should carefully remove the fungus and microorganisms so that it doesn’t affect the hydroponic crops.


A very efficient method in the hydroponics system of reuse elements is cleaning air stones, which every farmer can follow very easily. It is a very easy and efficient method that farmers can use during their farming. It is not just only about money-saving, but also about promoting the growth and health of plants growing in hydroponic systems. The more frequently you clean your stones, the healthier and more abundant your plants will become. Cleaning and reusing old air stones reduce the extra expenditure and also improve growth as well as development, the above-mentioned article gives a crystal clear idea of this. Hydroponic growers should not miss the opportunity to achieve this.

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