We demonstrated that water-soluble aminopropyl magnesium functionalized phyllosilicate could be used as a soil-flushing agent for heavy metal contaminated soils. Soil flushing has been an attractive means to remediate heavy metal contamination because it is less disruptive to the soil environment after the treatment was performed. However, development of efficient and non-toxic soil-flushing agents is still required. We have synthesized aminoclays with three different central metal ions such as magnesium, aluminum, and ferric ions and investigated applicability of aminoclays as soil flushing agents. Among them, magnesium (Mg)-centered aminoclay showed the smallest size distribution and superior water solubility, up to 100 mg/mL. Mg aminoclay exhibited cadmium and lead binding capacity of 26.50 and 91.31 mg/g of Mg clay, respectively, at near neutral pH, but it showed negligible binding affinity to metals in acidic conditions. For soil flushing with Mg clay at neutral pH showed cadmium and lead were efficiently extracted from soils by Mg clay, suggesting strong binding ability of Mg clay with cadmium and lead. As the organic matter and clay compositions increased in the soil, the removal efficiency by Mg clay decreased and the operation time increased. Crown Copyright (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.