Rinsing Peat Moss and Sand 

Before planting your sundew or other carnivorous plant in sphagnum peat moss or a peat: sand mixture, I always recommend that you rinse the peat before using it. There are many nutrients, minerals, and salts present in sand and peat that can create toxic environments for your carnivorous plant, or encourage algae and insect growth. Below are the techniques I use to clean peat and sand (below) before they are used.
At the bottom of this page, I list the benefits of rinsing your peat and sand.

Rinsing Peat Moss
I was recommended to do this method by William 'Tamlin' Dawnstar, a very kind man & sundew enthusiast. I have made modifications to his method in order to conserve time.
  1. Find two 5-gallon pails or large buckets.
  2. Dump 2.5 gallons of peat into one of the buckets and pour regular tap water up to the 3/4 mark of the pail. 
  3. Stir and mix the soaking peat moss with your hand/arm.
  4. Grab a handful of sopping peat from the water surface (it will float)
  5. With both hands, squeeze the ball of peat tightly to ring out all of the water. Place the peat in the other pail or bucket that you had available.
  6. Repeat this until you have collected all the peat from the pail- there is another layer that you can try to recover from the bottom.
  7. Now fill the pail with the ringed-out peat up to the 1/2 or 3/4 mark (depending on how much you recovered) with rainwater, distilled or RO water. . To speed things up, you will rinse twice more (or 3 times to be extra safe) with rainwater or purified water.
  8. Repeat the ringing process. Your hands and arms may start to ache after a while. it's good exercise :).
  9. Now your peat should be ready to use and algae should not form (as much, if any forms at all)!!! (assuming everything else about your setup is correct)

1. To follow Tamlin's method, fill the pail with rainwater or RO water and let it the peat/water mixture soak for 5 days until the water becomes tea-brown before following the steps in parts 4-6
2. Then he filled the bucket again and the peat soak again for 3 days before ringing it out for the final time. Tamlin normally worked way ahead. He prepared his media a weeks before he would use it. He often filled his pots with peat and left them outside during the rainy months. The rain further flushed the pots of minerals. Then he would simply plant a sundew in the pot and grow it outdoors the rest of the summer before taking it in for the winter.
3. He then gave away countless hundreds of sundews in his lifetime, a very noble final step.

Rinsing Sand
Even when you buy pre-rinsed silica sand, it normally comes with many loose minerals and salts. You will sometimes even see a layer form at the surface of the cloudy water that forms when you rinse it. It is a pain to rinse sand, but it is well worth it for the safety of your sundews. Due to the clogging of drains and silicosis from the dust from sand, I only recommend that you do the following procedure outdoors. I only recommend silica sand for sundews, because if you use river sand, it often has harmful bacteria that makes your sundew pots smell awful. Silica sand is much cleaner.

1. Get a shallow container, such as a medium sterilite tray or use a 5-gallon bucket.
2. Pour sand in the container so that it fills 1/4th of the container, OR fill the 5 gallon
    bucket half full with sand.
3. Take a hose outside and spray normal tap water at a powerful stream into the sand,
    being careful not to lose sand over the edge of the container or bucket. Fill the
    container until the sand is fully submerged under water.
*The key of this step is to blast the sand with water, and remove the salts and minerals from it. You will see that the water clouds up after the sand settles and this is a sign that the sand is full of impurities.
4. Carefully and slowly dump out the water from the container to avoid sand loss. Try to
    get as much of the water out as possilbe.
5. Repeat this rinsing process 10-20+ times or until the rinsing water is clear when you've
    blasted the sand with water and have tried stirring it vigorously with your hand.
6. Rinse the cleaned sand several times with rainwater, RO, or distilled water, to get rid of
    the impurities from the tap water (if your local water sanitation has a high TDS level)
7. Now the sand is ready to be mixed with your rinsed peat and used to pot up your
    sundew or carnivorous plant! It may seem like a hassle at first, but it is well worth it in
    the long-run.

Benefits of Rinsing:

1. You rarely have to worry about algae (if at all).
Green and slimy algae as well as some other molds tend to feed off of the nutrients unrinsed peat provides. This can become annoying and look disgusting (although it will normally not hurt the plant).
2. Bug infestations occur less frequently
Bugs tend to thrive in nutrient-rich peat. Therefore, by ridding the media of nutrients by rinsing it thoroughly, there will be little for insects to feed on.
If there is an insect breakout, I always recommend Neem Oil.
3. If you use the tray method, you will not have to clean out the pots and trays as often.
Less minerals and nutrients in the media to begin with means that less will end up in the water of the tray, discouraging algae outbreaks or insect growth. This means you may not have to clean out your tray for around 5-7 months once you've eventually rinsed out most of the nutrients from the pots over a year or so.

Additional Questions or Suggestions?

Contact me at: sundewman(at)yahoo.com