Steps to cleaning your garden soil

Polluted soil can be a major problem when you are trying to grow plants, so it is important to test your soil quality and if it is contaminated, to take steps to remove the pollutants. There are many different things that can pollute soil, and sometimes it can be contaminated beyond repair, but there are also many ways to deal with soil pollution.

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Testing your soil

The first step is to perform a soil test to identify any problems with your soil. You can do this yourself or hire a professional, and it should show you which chemicals are or are not present in your soil, which in turn means you can identify the best treatment procedures.


If your soil is to lose its pollutants, it will need good drainage. Coarse sand, gypsum and pea gravel can all improve drainage by reducing soil density.


Which nutrients you need to add depends on the results of your soil test, with potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous all available in fertiliser. To change the pH of your soil, use sulphur to raise levels or lime to lower them.

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Organic material

Another thing to do once you have identified that your soil is polluted is to add compost or other organic material, which can include grass cuttings or manure. It is this type of material that attracts worms and microorganisms, so work it into your top six inches of soil using a spade.


Organic matter can attract microorganisms, but you can also add your own to the soil. They enjoy metabolising pollutants so even contaminated soil can provide them a good home.


Your choice of plants can also affect your soil quality. Plants that can remove toxins include sunflowers and ferns, which absorb contaminants through their roots.

Government guidance is available on how to manage contaminated land on a wider scale, and companies such as offer a soil remediation service if you need expert help with your soil.

All these things can help you clean your garden soil, but it will take work to maintain your soil quality. You will need to continue fertilising and watering to help keep it in the best of health. Whether managing your garden or a larger industrial site, it is important to be aware of the importance of soil remediation.

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