In standard soil toxicity tests, heavy metals are amended as water-soluble salts. The role of the counterion in metal salt toxicity is scarcely looked into. In this study, we assessed the contribution of nitrate and chloride to the toxicity of lead to Folsomia candida in a natural standard soil. Both lead salts were tested according the standard test protocol as well as after percolation of the soil with deionized water. Lead nitrate was more toxic than lead chloride for survival as well as reproduction. Percolation proved to be an effective method to remove counterions from the soil. Survival of F. candida increased for both metal salts when percolation was included. Percolation reduced the reproduction toxicity of lead, the effect of which was largest for the nitrate salt. In percolated treatments, the nitrate and chloride lead salts did not differ in toxicity. It is concluded that counterions contribute to metal toxicity and that nitrate is more toxic to F. candida than chloride.