Dirt from outside?

I was thinking about how we use sticks from outside after disinfecting it so that got me thinking about dirt. If i disinfect it in the oven at 300 degrees for an hour, could I use it as substrate for my skink? Substrate is just so expensive these days and it seems like a good and effective way to save money along with being. sorry if this seems like a stupid question :sweat_smile:


I’ll let more experienced keepers chip in, but I can’t see why not?
I’ve also heard of people freezing things for disinfecting, but I think it requires a long time and a powerful freezer.

I’d say you’d probably want to be careful and sift through the substrate to ensure there isn’t anything in it that would burst into flames or melt (plastic chunks, etc).

I don’t see it being an issue, but I could totally be overlooking something, and I’ll also be interested to hear what other keepers say


that is what i was thinking also. I was thinking and the reason I think it isn’t a common option is that it takes a lot of time. I also just don’t want to overlook anything and it end up being a really bad choice


I would venture to say that you should be able to use dirt as long as you bake it, after sifting it thoroughly. However imho though the best place to get the dirt would be in the country. I think real honest to goodness country dirt is the richest and the best……:blush:

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Absolutely! As long as you aren’t collecting too near farm plots, as I would be concerned about nitrogen, phosphorus, fertilizer, and pesticide levels, which may not burn off (could be toxic to heat?), and could impact your animal’s safety or the ability for plants and inverts to thrive in a bioactive set-up


You really only need to get to 165F to kill bacterias, et al. I’d go 200F on the oven. Then you don’t have to sift so much… 1 hour is plenty, unless it’s a really deep pile. As long as everything gets over 165F, it should be dead. Just remember, you have to start all over to get to bioactive.


Yes of course you make a great point @cmills! I was going to include that but I failed to. It just seems like when you are driving around in the country everything seems so much fresher and richer! :blush:


I’d be worried about pesticides. I don’t think heat would break them down all the way. You can get substantial cheaper if you avoid brands with reptile pics on them. It’s silly but true