How to Clean Plastic Herbicide Barrels


In an effort to reduce waste, many people recycle empty plastic herbicide barrels. Depending on their size, these barrels can be used as compost bins, rain water reservoirs or planters. But before these barrels are repurposed, they must be thoroughly cleaned. Residual herbicides on the surface of the plastic could contaminate your plant water source, kill your potted plants or contaminate your compost.

Step 1

Empty any remaining herbicide onto barren soil that is far removed from any water sources, including the water table. Allow the herbicide to drip or pour out for at least 30 seconds.

Step 2

Fill the barrel one-quarter full of water and shake it or seal it and roll it on the ground.

Step 3

Rinse the inside and outside of the barrel with the spray from a hose for at least 30 seconds.

Step 4

Fill the barrel with a 1 to 25 ratio solution of ammonia and water (5 oz of ammonia per gallon of water). Leave the solution to soak overnight.

Step 5

Pour the solution out of the bucket.

Step 6

Scrub all parts of the herbicide barrel with a brush dipped in a fresh batch of ammonia solution.

Step 7

Rinse the barrel again by spraying it with a hose for at least 30 seconds. Then fill the barrel with water and pour it out twice.

Step 8

Allow the barrel to air dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Ammonia
  • Scrub brush


  • University of Missouri: Cleaning Field Sprayers to Avoid Crop Injury
  • University of Michigan: Proper Use of Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fertilizers
  • Ringling College: Safe Storage, Use and Disposal of Pesticides, Herbicides, and Other Agricultural / Horticultural Chemicals
Keywords: recycle herbicide barrel, clean herbicide barrel, rinse herbicide barrel

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.