Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sterilizing Sand for my Balcony Garden

As you already know, I'm on my way to experimenting on rooting some of my neighborhood plants.  Rooting is a process of getting cuttings to grow roots for you to plant.  It sounds difficult and it is.  But let's start by sterilizing sand.

This post is not about rooting but sterilizing sand.  I'll take you through the steps I've taken.  I do have to mention beach sand is not good for plants at all.  Sand can be used as fillers but not to plant your plants in.  This was only an experiment.  I'll be going through the same process when I do have suitable soil for my plants.  But this will be good for any sand that you use for decoration and pets.  Even for your kids to play in.. but that'll be a lot of sand.  I hope you have a big enough oven.


  • Bucket
  • Big pot
  • Some kind of tray that will fit in your oven.  You'll be laying out the sand on this.
  • Small shovel
  • Stove
  • Towel or rags

Ingredients or stuff you need:

  • Sand
  • Water
  • Your hands

1- You'll need the sand.  Grab the sand you wish to sterilize either from an old sandbox, pet sand or even decoration sand.  Keep in mind in the United States it is illegal to grab sand from the beaches.  They spend millions of dollars to keep the beaches from erosion.  So don't do it.... if you do and get caught.  I'm telling them I don't know you!

2- Preheat your oven at 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

3- You'll want to wash out the sand.  Place the sand into the bucket.  Submerge the sand fully in water and stir. The water is pretty dirty isn't it?  Mine was pretty much black... ewww think of all that stuff in the sand.  YUCK!  Pour out the dirty water and repeat until the water is clear.  Then you'll want to pour any remaining water out.

4- Boil water in the large pot.  Once the water is nice and hot.  You'll want to pour the hot water into the bucket with sand.  Make sure the sand is fully submerged in the hot water.  Let it sit for several minutes.  Then you'll want to pour out the water.  I suggest doing this step more than once if the water was really dirty.  I say 3 times will do the job.

5- After a couple times of running hot water through the dirty sand.  You'll want to run the sand again with water.  Pay attention to the water.  If it's clear then you should have clean sand.  If still dirty.. you'll want to keep washing it throughly.  If the sand still looks pretty bad.. then I say take a step back and repeat 3.

6- So the water is clear and you're ready for the next step.  You'll want to pour out any of the remaining water.  Try to pour out the water as much as you can.  Don't worry if you loose some grains of sand here and there.  It wasn't their calling to be with the rest of the sand.. it's time you let them go.

7- Ok you poured the water out and you had enough of loosing grains of sand.  You'll want to lay out your towel or rags.  Then scoop out the sand onto the towel or rags.  I suggest scooping it with your hands.  As you scoop the sand try squeezing out the remaining sand.

8- Towel dry the sand.  The sand never had it so good.  Hot bath and you toweling dry it.. ahh that's the life.
9- You want to spread out the sand on the baking sheet.  You will want a thin layer of sand for faster results.  I made a mistake and made a thick layer.  It took longer than I wanted it too.
10- To every good there is a bad, right?  Haa.  Well now you going to bake the sand.  I bet now the sand  are saying "It was too good to be true!  Help we're baking!!"  Anyways bake the sand for 30 minutes.
11- Time is up!  Take the sand out and make sure it's fully dry in the middle.  If it's till moist then you'll want to keep it in the oven longer.  But if it's done.. your done... we're all done.. this post is done...


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  3. Hi thanks for the post...can you tell me why eHow says not to exceed 200° When sterilizing sand?

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