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Sterilizing Potting Soil

Category Soil
Soil can be sanitized by raising the temperature to kill weed seeds and improve your plant starting loam. This page is about sterilizing potting soil.


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January 11, 20051 found this helpful

Before I repot plants in soil that has been sitting in a bag in the garage or outdoors, I sterilize it and kill any hidden bugs by putting it in the oven at 200 degrees F for about an hour. In a pinch, I'll wet soil throughly and microwave covered for a few minutes or until steaming. Cool before use, of course.

By Linda

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January 11, 20050 found this helpful

Done it too! Boy, does the house smell after, like you have added boiling water to dirt!

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May 24, 20070 found this helpful

Do it outdoors because it makes the house reek!

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December 2, 20130 found this helpful

I can't imagine how time consuming it would be to microwave a bag of dirt by microwaving it! To me it would be much easier to buy a new bag of soil.

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March 10, 20150 found this helpful

I don't sterilize my garden soil. That would be impractical. I do sterilize soil for some 'important' potted plants and for all my seedlings I start indoors. I use a microwave oven, also. I use sweet smelling woods dirt and leaf mold. When doing this, my home doesn't smell like L'Air Du Temps, but it doesn't 'reek', either.


I realize many people do not have access to sweet smelling woods dirt, but if I purchased a bag of potting soil and it caused the house to reek when sterilized, I would be switching brands. A good potting soil should not stink when heated.

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