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I found two buckets (white and black) containing a very light grey powder in the basement. The label is partially removed, but it probably originally contained lime fertilizer.

However, I am not sure if the current content is still lime or if it got refilled with something else?

How can I proof that the powder is calcium oxide or something similar that I can throw on my lawn to make the grass greener?


I already tried to dissolve the powder of both buckets in water, there are a few grains like sand that stay, but the rest seems to dissolve or rather suspend, the water becomes milky.

Adding normal household vinegar, the powder from the black bucket did not react any differently than with water, but the powder from the white bucket dissolved and created bubbles, so I assume the reaction with acid produces carbon dioxide.

What further tests which I can perform using household stuff would you recommend to make sure I have a bucket of lime fertilizer or anything else?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it pretty much reacts like a carbonate. In order to test for calcium, a bunsen burner or gas stove to perform a flame test would be helpful. $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Apr 20 '16 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ @KlausWarzecha So I have to expect a bright orange flame when holding a bit of the powder over a "dark" blue flame if it contains mainly calcium? Also, what about the powder from the black bucket that did not react with the acid? $\endgroup$ – Byte Commander Apr 21 '16 at 5:32
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that's what I would expect too. As for the other bucket: that could be anything from another fertilizer, such as a mixture of ammonium phosphate and potassium nitrate, to de-icing salt. There's just not enough information without the label. If availabel, I'd probably give it to a communal waste collecting service for proper disposal. $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Apr 21 '16 at 5:58

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