How to Sterilize Soil for Houseplants

How to Sterilize Soil for Houseplants

Sterilizing the soil for your houseplants is important. By using unsterilized soil, you risk introducing your plant to a number of pests and diseases.

Unfortunately, pests specifically are great at spreading to your other houseplants. This makes the sterilization of soil important for any plant in your home.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to sterilize the soil for your houseplants. We’ll break down how to do this so you can help your houseplants thrive.

Sterilizing Your Soil with Microwave

One of the easiest ways to sterilize soil is in the microwave. That being said, because of the size of an average microwave, this is better for smaller projects.

Make sure, before you start, that you’re using a microwave-safe container. Fill these containers with moist soil and cover them.

Remember, you shouldn’t put foil in the microwave. Instead, opt for a lid that you know is microwave-safe and add some ventilation holes.

Each container will need to heat for 90 seconds per a couple of pounds of soil. After you’ve done this, set them aside, put tape over the vents, and let it cool before using it.

Sterilizing Your Soil in the Steam

You can quickly sterilize soil with steam as one method. The easiest way to do this is to employ the use of the steamer.

The general rule is that you want to heat your soil for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can also measure by temperature rather than time and aim for 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius).

For a pressure cooker, start by adding several cups of water. Then, add your soil in pans no deeper than four inches (10 centimeters).

Each of these pans should be covered with foil for the best results. You’ll want to close the lid but leave the steam valve slightly ajar to let steam escape.

After that, you can close your steamer and heat the contraption to 10 pounds. Leave it there for 15 to 30 minutes.

This is a method you should only use when you’re positive nothing in the soil could become explosive under pressure.

soil sterilization on fire

Sterilizing Your Soil in the Oven

To sterilize your soil in the oven, you should start by preheating your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).

While it preheats, you can prepare your soil. To do this, spread the soil out in a disposable vessel or a pan that you don’t mind not using again for food.

You’ll also want to lightly water the soil so it’s moist. Finally, tightly cover your pan of soil with aluminum foil and push a food thermometer through the foil for monitoring purposes.

You should bake the soil until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius). Continue to bake it for about 30 minutes but don’t let the temperature reach higher than 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it reach room temperature before use.

By following the steps outlined in any of these methods, you can prepare your soil for use on houseplants.

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