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Old 02-28-2012, 11:57 PM
postrider postrider is offline
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Default Cleaning plastic barrels



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I am going to purchase some plastic barrels that were used for soda syrup. What would be the best way to clean them so that I can store drinking water in them? Should I use soap and water alone or would bleach be better or a combination of both?
Old 02-29-2012, 03:30 AM
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Instead of purchasing plastic barrels, I'd use the things you have every day unless the ones you are gonna purchase are either colored green or brown...something lightproof. Even then, you can get those if you drink Sprite. I'd never purchase plastic unless it was a really good bargain.

I personally clean and sanitize with a combination of soap first run and bleach second run on bottles around the house. I then add boiling water to allow the water to seal the bottles as best I can. I never throw anything away.

Just a suggestion.
Old 02-29-2012, 04:04 AM
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@beesknees

I believe the OP is referring to 55 gallon barrels that once hosted fountain soda syrup.
They are food grade, durable and well worth the trouble of cleaning.

@Postrider

Soap and water, then a rinse with baking soda and water. I don't think bleach is necessary, but use it if it makes you feel better. I would not use boiling water as that will cause the plastic to leech.

By the way, no matter what else you read here on the board about storing water, it does not ever need to be rotated. Water does not have an expiration date, only the vessel that holds it does. If you are using municipal tap water to fill it, there is no need for bleach as the water you are receiving is already sanitized. There is no point in filtering now when filling the 55 gallon container either, filter it when you are using it later.

I recommend getting a hand pump if you don't have one already. Or at the very least install a valve at the bottom of the barrel and have a frame built to host it on. Otherwise if the 55 gal barrel has a removable lid, you can simply use a 5 gal bucket to pail out whatever water you need in the future. In case you are in a colder climate zone where freezing is an issue, do not fill the drum to it's maximum, leave some room for expansion if the drum ever freezes.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:46 AM
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many people take them to the carwash and pressure wash them with the plain water rinse.. that gets alot of the scent out of them and makes sure all the foodstuff residue is gone. leaving them to dry in a sunny place for a
day or two should finish it nicely and there should be little trace of odor . now if it was pickle barrels.....
Old 02-29-2012, 07:40 AM
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I would "Not" use the car wash to clean anything I'm going to be using for food or water consumption. Most of those car washes are cesspools of bacteria, The mixer pumps bleed wax or degreaser or soap thru the lines even on the clean wash cycles. Even new maintained equipment can leave unwanted residues in your barrel. The barrels need to be washed with a hot water steam jenny cleaner or if you can't access one of those, you should clean it with Dawn and multible rinses. If you can acquire some deIonized water the second rinse should be with that. then allow to thouroughly dry before filling.
Old 02-29-2012, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by escapefromNY View Post
@beesknees

I believe the OP is referring to 55 gallon barrels that once hosted fountain soda syrup.
They are food grade, durable and well worth the trouble of cleaning.

@Postrider

Soap and water, then a rinse with baking soda and water. I don't think bleach is necessary, but use it if it makes you feel better. I would not use boiling water as that will cause the plastic to leech.

By the way, no matter what else you read here on the board about storing water, it does not ever need to be rotated. Water does not have an expiration date, only the vessel that holds it does. If you are using municipal tap water to fill it, there is no need for bleach as the water you are receiving is already sanitized. There is no point in filtering now when filling the 55 gallon container either, filter it when you are using it later.

I recommend getting a hand pump if you don't have one already. Or at the very least install a valve at the bottom of the barrel and have a frame built to host it on. Otherwise if the 55 gal barrel has a removable lid, you can simply use a 5 gal bucket to pail out whatever water you need in the future. In case you are in a colder climate zone where freezing is an issue, do not fill the drum to it's maximum, leave some room for expansion if the drum ever freezes.
Good post. Thanks! While the used barrel seller may say they only contained food, what if they contained something else? Is there a way to clean them just in case?
Old 02-29-2012, 08:08 AM
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heat .... maintained warm water with baking soda .... lots of what gets entrapped in the plastic pores will release better if the plastic is warmed and expands .....
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:08 AM
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After you have cleaned out your barrel and used bleach I would rinse it one more time and this time add a large bottle of Listerine to the rinse water. this will help kill some of the bleach odor and taste. GB
Old 02-29-2012, 09:31 AM
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Plain old Dawn dishwashing liquid and warm water will get the residue out. Then I'd leave it sitting in the sun a few days filled with water and baking soda solution. This will remove the smell. Soda syrup is pretty easy to clean out.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:56 PM
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Default Water barrel cleaning (Blue plastic 55 gl)

any advice on cleaning those that had "Clove Oil" I know its a natural disinfectant and pain killer but I want to store water, also any advice on Bromide like on shipboard Potable water sys?>L

Last edited by Deepsea72b; 06-25-2014 at 02:20 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 07-25-2014, 03:57 PM
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Hello, we acquired some barrels that had Drewflo polymer in them and want to clean them for use as an outside shower...cistern style/rain catchment. It will never be used for drinking but I feel that what goes ON my body is as important as in. Does anybody know if I can get them clean enough and what would I use to clean them? Thanks a bunch
Old 07-25-2014, 06:40 PM
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Use iodine for final rinse (50 to 1 with water) or better still, go to a homebrew store and get the bacteria killing powder to mix for the rinse. One thing is for certain, clean it and clean it again.
Old 07-25-2014, 07:09 PM
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http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...hlight=barrels

I let them (55 gal barrels) stand filled to the top with bleach solution (~2qts of Clorox added to each filled barrel) for a coupla days. Dumped the solution and then spray rinsed the insides one time with water from outside spicket. I just used a garden hose. Worked great. Don't forget to scrub/disinfect the bung caps, threads, and exterior/top of the drums with bleach solution and a clean brush.

Make sure to dump the 55 gallons of weak bleach solution somewhere it won't kill flowers, shrubs, etc.

A barrel will weigh over 450 lbs when full, so think about where you want to do the initial filling & rinsing.

Fill the drum with water first... and then add the bleach. Otherwise you'll get a pretty good amount of bleach suds billowing out of the drum. Ask me how I know.

After rinse, I capped the bungs (to keep bugs/debris out), allowed exteriors to dry in the sun, then moved them into permanent storage positions and filled with fresh water. Haven't changed the water in five years. I just add a bleach dose annually.

The nice thing about using 55 drums from soda factories is that they contained known water soluble and food safe contents, either syrup or weak acids which are easy to rinse away. Get the drums.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:37 PM
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Bleach wash, then a Baking or washing soda wash, next a hydrogen peroxide wash followed by two clean water rinses. A Dawn wash first isn't a bad plan.
Old 07-25-2014, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postrider View Post
I am going to purchase some plastic barrels that were used for soda syrup. What would be the best way to clean them so that I can store drinking water in them? Should I use soap and water alone or would bleach be better or a combination of both?
The others have given pretty decent cleaning advice already. Clear water from the garden hose warmed a bit, Dawn liquid, and and a little bleach are all good ideas. Very thorough rinsing is important because soap is strong laxative. A nice long sun dry will be good too.

A few notes though. Unless they are fully opaque then they cannot be used for exterior water storage. The seller needs to show provenance of the source. Just saying they were syrup barrels isn't good enough. So either get them right from the bottling companies (which you can do many times for free) or demand to see the food label still intact and syrup residue. This is actually a case where a dirty container is a safer buy. If not then walk. And don't pay too much either because they are castoffs never designed to be sent back to the syrup packer. New food grade barrels are not terribly expensive and used ones far less so. $10-20 max really depending on how far he had to haul them.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deepsea72b View Post
any advice on cleaning those that had "Clove Oil" I know its a natural disinfectant and pain killer but I want to store water, also any advice on Bromide like on shipboard Potable water sys?>L
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calypso1964 View Post
Hello, we acquired some barrels that had Drewflo polymer in them and want to clean them for use as an outside shower...cistern style/rain catchment. It will never be used for drinking but I feel that what goes ON my body is as important as in. Does anybody know if I can get them clean enough and what would I use to clean them? Thanks a bunch
If the original contents were not for food use then the container is always considered non-potable.

Packing companies get two choices for every type of plastic container they want to buy. Food grade and non-food grade. Non-food grade uses a toxic release agent in the container molding process. Food grade always costs more because they must use a more expensive release agent for the molds and the failure rate is higher. So companies not needing food grade containers for their product don't buy them.

You only want to use HDPE, LDPE, or polypropylene containers because their breakdown products are non-toxic over long term, but even then those types must be food grade as well. There is no marker on the plastic used in the industry to denote food grade. Those triangles only tell you the type of plastic used, not the release agent. So unless you can buy new with proper paperwork then you have to trace the provenance from the primary product user of the original contents. Food grade containers have the factory labels of the food on them. If there is someone between you and the original user of the food contents your risk jumps a lot. Folks are making a killing these days buying any plastic barrel or tote and calling it food grade regardless of the source. They know you will fill it up and leave it for years so they don't think you will ever catch them if they slide some non-food grade ones into the mix.

Your best bet will always be getting them directly from the original food product user. You might be amazed at what you can get chatting with some dock guys at a soda bottling plant with a handful of $10 Walmart gift cards to pass around.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:21 PM
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how much baking soda to add for a 55 gal. barrel to be used for drinking water?
thanks
Old 07-25-2014, 11:58 PM
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how much baking soda to add for a 55 gal. barrel to be used for drinking water?
thanks
It's just for cleaning. Toss in the whole orange box. They are cheap enough.


Once clean, then fill with clear potable water and add 8 drops per gallon of household strength bleach. 55 gallons x 8 = 440 drops ~ 22ml ~ 4.5 measured teaspoons. Cap it tight and you are done.
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