How to Clean River Rocks

How to Clean River Rocks. River rocks are lovely and they can certainly enhance the beauty of your aquarium or terrarium.

There’s just one thing though, these rocks may contain live creatures, bacteria, and germs that might not be so healthy for your beloved pet fish or reptile.

Let’s face it; you don’t really want anything harmful in there. What can we suggest instead? It’s always a great alternative to use artificial river rocks as they will be clean as a whistle and ready to go.

Be sure to check with your local marine or aquatics store for a complete recommendation list of artificial rock varieties.

How to Clean River Rocks

how to clean river rocks

Prepare a bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Scrub the rocks’ surfaces and allow the rocks to sit in the solution for 30 minutes. Rinse with plain water.

Wear gloves, protective eyewear, and work clothes that can get dirty during this process.

Use a Stiff Brush to Scrub

River rocks often require some precise scrubbing to eradicate the darker stains that they are susceptible to.

The first step is always to add a cup of warm water and then 1 tbsp of antibacterial soap into the bottom of a bucket.

Each rock needs to be dipped into warm soapy water before scrubbing, and it should take approximately 5-7 minutes per piece before rinsing with tap water.

Soak in Saltwater Overnight

soak in saltwater overnight

While cleaning your River rocks, if you realize that there is still some dirt on them after you have rinsed them with normal water.

Simply add some non-iodized salt to a large bowl of warm water and place your rocks into the solution for at least two hours for the water to soak in.

The salt will help enlarge your ware’s porosity which allows it to absorb any remaining soap or grime that you initially may have missed during the rinsing process.

The Rocks are Rinsed Next Day

The next day, remove the rocks from saltwater by hand. Wash the saltwater and rocks separately.

Preparation of Bleach Solution


Prepare 1/3 cup of bleach by adding it to 2/3 cups of water. Use this solution to scrub the rock and allow the rock to sit in the bleach for a total of 30 minutes.

Then, rinse and wash it with fresh water before spreading it out to dry.

Put the Rocks in an Aluminum pot

Take the rocks in an aluminum pot and fill them with water until it reaches max capacity.

Rocks Boiled to Sanitize

One of the most important steps that must be taken prior to using the rocks is boiling them in water.

Boiling the rocks helps to clean, sanitize, and seal any cracks that might otherwise harbor mold or bacteria.

Choosing water that is too cold can make the rocks crack during their lifetime so it’s best to use hot or warm water.

A good rule of thumb is undiluted bleach should only be left on quartz rock for no more than five minutes then rinse thoroughly with a hose.

if you boiled your quartz rocks directly on the stovetop, extreme caution must be practiced and experts recommend putting each rock into its own gallon bucket because they could explode while being heated if they are exposed to natural gas lines.

Let’s wash the Rocks

Wash rocks in the water and allow them to soak for at least 24 hours. The rocks are ready to use for your requirements once they have had sufficient time to hydrate properly.

How to Clean River Rocks

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