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Many people, myself included, want to reuse their LECA and want to know how best to clean them. So, can LECA be boiled?
The simple answer is yes, you can safely boil LECA (Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate). LECA is considered inorganic potting media, just like lava rock, perlite (also known as sponge rock), pumice, rock wool, hydroton, Growstone, stones & pebbles and several other types of media, and can be boiled safely. Doesn't it look like I'm cooking black beans? 😜
Any LECA I want to reuse, I boil for about 10-15 minutes, which will definitely destroy any pesky critters. I then soak in H202 for about half hour and then I lay them outside to let the sun handle the rest of the sanitizing process. Be sure it’s not a windy day or you’ll have the round clay pebbles rolling all over the place! 😁
The only time I would personally throw out previously used LECA is if it were used in a pot whose Orchid or plant was succumbed by disease (viral, fungal or bacterial). I wouldn’t take any chances on passing this on to new Orchids and other new plants.
I’ve read many people use bleach to sanitize their LECA before reusing; however, I don’t even keep bleach in my home…too toxic. This is a personal choice.
If you really want to reuse LECA that may be contaminated and don’t want to use bleach, I would suggest you rinse it very well under hot water, then boil it in an old pot for about 15 minutes, and then soak it overnight in either H202, which is 29% concentration of hydrogen peroxide or Physan 20, which is a broad range disinfectant. I know many people use Physan, but its' label scares me, so I prefer to stay away from it. Be sure to follow the label instructions.
Better safe to toss than be sorry …
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