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Thread: Washing Sand

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    Washing Sand

    Sometimes I need to use a lot of sand at once when potting a plant but because I use industrial sand I worry that there are harmful substances in it so I wash it several times with a hose before using it. However, since it is about 20 pounds of sand, I don't have enough rainwater or RO water to rinse off the things in the water from the hose before using the sand.

    I'm wondering which one is the lesser of the two evils: the minerals in the tap water (water in southern California has a pH of 8) or the things which might be in the sand before it is washed? So far I've been mixing the sand with peat moss made wet with RO water, but I'm still worried about the effects that some tap water might have on my plants. Or does anyone know a better way to clean sand before using it?

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    NECPS President Dave S.'s Avatar
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    I would put the sand on shallow trays or in buckets outside and let the rain take care of rinsing away the dust and any other harmful items that might be there. I assume you are using quartz/silica sand. I think starting off with quality sand will give you less issues of harmful substances. I source my sand at places that sell sand for swimming pool filters. The trick will be planning ahead.

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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    It really depends on he sand you're using. I use a high quality silica sand that can be purchased at swimming pool supply stores. I find no need to wash this sand. It has very little dust and particulate in it to begin with.

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    Ok, I guess I will ask the Leslie's near my house if they have sand. Do you know how fine it is? The industrial sand I was using was 20 mesh, and it seemed a bit fine compared to the horticultural sand I was using before. If I was able to find horticultural sand again I would have bought that.

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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    There are several different brands and they all seem to have different grit sizes.

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    Decumbent Fanatic Jcal's Avatar
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    I hose my sand off with tap water and then do a few rinses with rain water. Uses a lot less of the pure water to get it clean.

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    +1 what Jcal said.

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    I understand your pain and worry about washing it, I was worried too at first but I use the regular home depot all purpose quikrette sand I believe its called and my heliamphora and brocchinia do fine in it. But i did wash it by putting it in a large container and mixed it with drinking water then i let it sit for a day till the bad stuff floated and drained the bad water out. Now i dont need to wash it since mom usually top waters the pots with drinking water to hydrate the plants, I assume all mineral are washed off by now like in the tepuis lol

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