Wet-milling protocol was employed to produce pressed powder tablets with excellent cohesion and homogeneity suitable for laser ablation (LA) analysis of volatile and refractive elements in sediment. The influence of sample preparation on analytical performance was also investigated, including sample homogeneity, accuracy and limit of detection. Milling in volatile solvent for 40 min ensured sample is well mixed and could reasonably recover both volatile (Hg) and refractive (Zr) elements. With the exception of Cr (-52%) and Nb (+26%) major, minor and trace elements in STSD-1 and MESS-3 could be analysed within ±20% of the certified values. Comparison of the method with total digestion method using HF was tested by analysing 10 different sediment samples. The laser method recovers significantly higher amounts of analytes such as Ag, Cd, Sn and Sn than the total digestion method making it a more robust method for elements across the periodic table. LA-ICP-MS also eliminates the interferences from chemical reagents as well as the health and safety risks associated with digestion processes. Therefore, it can be considered as an enhanced method for the analysis of heterogeneous matrices such as river sediments.