To improve our understanding of metal bioavailability to soil-living invertebrates, the effect of porewater composition on the toxicodynamics of copper and cadmium in Folsomia candida (Collembola) was investigated. Assuming that porewater is the main exposure route, F. candida was exposed to simulated soil solutions of different composition. Toxicity of copper was slightly lower in a calcium-only solution than in a multication solution. With increasing copper concentrations from 0.005mM to 1.37mM, internal copper concentrations similarly increased in both exposure solutions, suggesting that a single cation nutrient solution is suitable for testing F. candida. In the second experiment, animals were exposed for 7 d to copper and cadmium in simplified soil solutions with different calcium (0.2mM, 0.8mM, 3.2mM, 12.8mM) and pH (5.0, 6.0, 7.0) levels. The median lethal concentration (LC50) values decreased with time in both the calcium and pH series. A hormetic-type effect was observed for copper in the second test, as well as in the calcium-only solution in the first experiment. Because of stronger hormesis, LC50s for copper were higher at lower calcium concentrations. For cadmium, LC50 values were higher at higher calcium concentrations, suggesting competition of calcium with the free cadmium ion. Toxicity of cadmium increased with decreasing pH, while copper was more toxic at intermediate pH. The results show that a toxicodynamics approach can help to improve the interpretation of metal toxicity to soil invertebrates, taking into account soil solution properties. © 2013 SETAC.