How to Use Trash Cans As Rain Barrels


Rain barrels are an excellent way to conserve water. Rain is meant to naturally water plants, grasses and trees, so it makes sense to collect that water and use it as needed. Most rain barrels are made out of specialized barrels or drums, but they can be made from trash cans if that is all you have. The important thing to remember when using a trash can to collect rain water is to use one that is dark in color. This keeps the sunlight out.

Step 1

Choose a large trash can that is either black or brown. The trash can must also have a secure lid.

Step 2

Drill a hole 12 inches up from the bottom of the trash can. The hole must be big enough to twist in a 3/4-inch plastic faucet. Twist the faucet in to place. This will give you a way to release the water to use in your garden.

Step 3

Measure the size of your drain spout that comes down from your gutter. Drill a hole that size in the top of the trash can lid.

Step 4

Place the trash can under the drain spout and guide the drain spout in to the pre-made hole in your trash can lid. The water from your roof will flow directly in to the trash can.

Step 5

Use the faucet to release the rain water in to buckets or watering cans as needed, once the trash can is full.

Step 6

Add mosquito dunks or Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacteria to your trash can once a month to keep mosquitoes from breeding.

Things You'll Need

  • Trash can with secure lid
  • Power drill
  • 3/4-inch plastic faucet
  • Mosquito dunks
  • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)


  • Southwest Florida Water Management District: Rain Barrels
  • Pennsylvania Horticultural Society: Build a Rain Barrel
Keywords: trash can uses, rain barrels, home rain collection

About this Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.