Geochemical effects of electro-osmosis in bentonite clay are studied in the laboratory, where a 6 mm thick bentonite layer is subjected to direct current. Acidification and alkalization near anode and cathode are expected, possibly causing mineral deterioration, ion mobilization and precipitation of new solids. Afterwards the clay is analysed by XRF and anolyte and catholyte are analysed by ICP-MS. In addition, as a preliminary experiment treated bentonite is analysed by high resolution μ-XRF. Electro-osmotic flow is observed. Due to its carbonate content the bentonite is pH-buffering. Alkalization in the catholyte is substantial. Ca, Na and Sr are significantly removed from the clay and accumulate in the catholyte. Recovery in the catholyte accounts for a small fraction of the element-loss from the clay. The rest will have precipitated in undetected solid phases. μ-XRF indicates the loss of Ca-content throughout the bentonite layer. © The Author(s) 2010.