Will Soil Dissolve in Water? (Plus Ways to Discard It!)
Have you ever asked yourself before if soil dissolves in water? Well, you’re not alone. The answer though can be quite tricky. So don’t go throwing soil down the toilet or sink just yet. In this article, I will dig up the truth about soil’s solubility!
Soil is made up of different inorganic particles and minerals and will not fully dissolve in water. Some minerals and salts will dissolve in water. Other components like sand, clay, and silt will sink to the bottom of the water. They can also obstruct pipes if poured down drains.
What might seem simple can be a lot more complicated than we realize. There are elements in soil that dissolve in water, but what about the other components? Keep reading to learn more and see how you can effectively dispose of soil instead of just washing it away.
Is Soil Water-Soluble?
While some soil properties like salt and minerals will dissolve in water, soil is composed of different compounds and is not completely soluble. About 50% of soil contains materials such as clay, sand, and silt, which are not water-soluble.
Sand, silt, clay—all of these granular materials are not soluble in water. In fact, you can easily find these compounds on the bottom of riverbeds and oceans, underneath great bodies of water.
If you were to leave loam soil in water, its water-soluble particles might just dissolve and mix with the liquid and form what is called a soil solution.
This means that they tend to settle at the bottom of various bodies of water. So they can potentially damage your pipes if you try to wash them away down the drain.
You can easily check the texture of your soil and how much sand and silt it contains by placing 4 tablespoons of soil in a jar full of water, shaking it, and letting it sit for a few days.
By doing this, you can identify the different layers and materials in your soil!
Can You Get Rid of Soil in the Sink?
Soil should not be washed away in sinks as it will adhere to residual grease and eventually accumulate in the pipes. Potting soil, in particular, can clog drains as it commonly contains other materials like perlite, moss, and wood chips.
It might be convenient to repot all your favorite plants in the sink but this can quickly become problematic. You see, we take our drains and plumbing systems for granted. We rarely ever think about them—–-that is, until they eventually get clogged!
While you might think you’re washing all the soil down, it will only cling to whatever food grease has remained in the pipes and harden. Over time, this can obstruct your pipes and lead to inches of disgusting standing water inside your sink.
Potting soil is even more dangerous to wash down the sink, containing additional materials such as perlite, orchid bark, pumice, and moss. Soil mixed with long fiber sphagnum moss should never be washed down the drain, as the sphagnum can get tangled with other items in a pipe and lead to blockage.
The same thing applies to outdoor drains as well. While they might seem better suited for washing away soil, outdoor drains aren’t invulnerable to clogs either.
[quote] Regularly dumping soil down indoor and outdoor drains will result in soil buildup within the pipes. Mud never fully dissolves and isn’t safe to wash away either.
How to Properly Get Rid of Soil (4 Easy Methods)
Soil can be disposed of or reused by saving it for other gardening projects, giving it to landscaping businesses, and sharing it with others. If the soil is of bad quality or pest-infested, however, it’s best to throw it away and request a landfill company to pick it up.
If you can’t wash the soil down drains or get rid of it in the sink, how else can you get it off your hands? This is what I will help answer for you now, so let’s get into it!
1. Reuse for Other Gardening Projects
If it still has good quality and is not infected, leftover soil can be saved and reused for worm bins, composting, or repotting other plants.
Soil isn’t necessarily hard to come by nowadays and can be bought for cheap, but why waste that extra money when you can stick with the soil you have?
When the soil is still good and you have large amounts left, you can always reuse it for other projects!
Healthy soil can be saved for repotting other plants or even used in worm bins or compost. A good tip to keep in mind is to do all your repotting over a tray to easily collect the leftover soil.
Old soil isn’t necessarily bad and doesn’t have to be thrown out, either. This can easily be replenished with your favorite soil amendments and brought back to life with organic matter.
Check out this article to see if your potting soil has gone bad.
As always, it’s always best to inspect the quality of your soil before choosing to use it for anything. Rotten smells in soil are usually good indicators that it is anaerobic or infected, and must not be used.
2. Use for Landscaping
Soil can be used to fill in holes and gaps outside the house and used for landscaping. High-quality soil can also be sold to or picked up by landscaping companies.
Chances are, if you love plants and gardening, you’re probably working on how to improve the landscape of your yards and garden home.
Voids and holes outside your house can quickly be filled in with extra soil.
If you’re looking for an extra element to jazz up your garden, consider creating a koi fish pond.
Remember, soil cannot dissolve in water, so this extra soil can be used to decorate pond edges.
In case you don’t need it yourself, you can give away large amounts of soil to outdoor landscaping companies or even sell it! Given, of course, that its quality is good enough.
3. Share With Others
Because soil is insoluble and cannot be washed down the drain, excess soil can be given away to friends and neighbors.
For a great way to get rid of extra soil and to help other people, consider giving away leftover soil. Of course, this is assuming your soil is in relatively good condition and thoroughly sterilized.
In cases where you can’t find any use for it in your planting projects, you probably have a few friends or neighbors that will be more than happy to get free soil.
Soil is a pretty versatile material with many uses; you might be surprised by how many people would accept it!
Put up some advertisements online or make a post about it in your local community center to see if others want the soil.
4. Throw Away
Soil that is infested with pests and plant diseases should be thrown away or given to landfills. Consult local waste management units before disposing of large quantities of soil.
Bad soil is probably one of the worst nightmares for gardeners. If it’s completely riddled with disease or bugs like fungus gnats, sometimes all you can do is chuck it in the trash.
While you might be tempted to make the most of bad soil, it will only contaminate everything else when mixed in with compost or reused for other plants.
If it’s a small amount of soil or potting mix, you can keep it contained in a dedicated plastic bag to prevent it from potentially contaminating your trash when you throw it out.
But if you have larger amounts of infected soil to discard, it’s best to consult with your local waste management unit to see if it’s permitted to throw yard waste in the trash. In California, soils containing pesticides cannot be disposed of in the trash.
You can also get in touch with landfill companies to see if they can pick up your unwanted soil. Just bear in mind that they may not accept it if it is infested with bugs.
Will soil flush down toilets?
Soil does not dissolve in water and should never be flushed down toilets. Flushing soil down toilets can lead to the soil settling in pipes and clogging up sewer systems.
Are soil and dirt the same?
Although soil and dirt are used interchangeably and are composed of similar components, they are not the same thing. Soil contains different components like organic matter, minerals, and sand, and has live microorganisms. Dirt, in contrast, does not have any live microorganisms and is known as a dead material.
Summary of Soil Dissolving in Water
Soil is not completely water-soluble due to the fact it contains multiple different inorganic elements including sand, silt, and clay. These compounds do not dissolve in water and tend to settle on the bottom.
Non-soluble soil elements will gradually build up and cause drain blockage. Hence, soil should not be poured down sinks. Instead, good soil can be saved for planting or landscaping purposes, and given to others, whereas bad soil must be carefully disposed of.
- “Soil Basics” by n/a in University of Illinois
- “Soil Composition” by n/a in University of Hawaii
- “Introduction to Soils: Soil Quality” by Lee Stivers in Pennsylvania State University