Yuck! Cleaning rain barrels- please help

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by k1d2u3t4, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. k1d2u3t4

    k1d2u3t4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Question for your readers: I just found a dead squirrel floating in... my rain barrel. I have removed it, and am now draining my rain barrel. I know I shouldn't use Clorox, but should I rinse it with anything before use? Thank you for your help- welcome to my crazy world!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I don’t know what you are using your rainwater for out of that barrel. That would influence my decision some, but if you are leaving it open on top, lots of things are going on in there other than a squirrel. I get a lot of tadpoles in mine. I use dunks so at least I’m not breeding mosquitoes. I assume you are using it in your garden. Does it go on stuff you eat directly like lettuce or is maybe being used for something like corn? I’d probably drain it anyway because of the YUK! factor, but I’m not convinced that it would be necessary if it were going on something like my blueberries that are not in bloom or producing. If it were going on lettuce or something like that, yes I’d clean it well. But if it were open at the top I’m not sure I’d be using it on anything I was going to eat directly anyway.

    What’s wrong with sterilizing it with bleach? Bleach is pretty effective if you leave it on there long enough to do its job. Just wiping it on and immediately rinsing it off is not totally effective but if you let it soak for a few minutes it does a good job of sterilizing things. It evaporated pretty fast. All you have to do is rinse it off and let it set a while. Even if you then immediately fill the barrel, it will be diluted to the point it won’t harm any of your plants.

    Bleach is probably not organic though. I’m not sure. So you might try vinegar. That doesn’t do as good a job as bleach but if you put it on thick and let it soak, it will do a decent job cleaning it. I think vinegar is considered organic.
     
  3. k1d2u3t4

    k1d2u3t4 Out Of The Brooder

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    I use my rain water for watering my garden which isn't producing now anyways- so I drained it.
    I thought Clorox would be too strong, but I see your point. For this instance, I would rather be sanitary, than organic.
    I use dunk sticks, but have never had any other trouble before now. I guess I will make some sort of screen or something so this doesn't happen again. Thanks for your input.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Some people put goldfish in their rain barrels. If I were going to go to the bother of draining that rain barrel, (and i would) I'd bleach it as well. When bleach evaporates, it is totally benign. As Ridgerunner said, just wipe it down with a strong bleach solution, and let it set for at least 10 minutes. I keep a wire cover over mine.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I tried goldfish for the mosquito larva. I don’t have a cover on mine so the goldfish got washed out when we had a heavy rain. I had the same problem with dunks until I tied them in a pouch made of tulle (a cheap very porous material), put a rock in it to weight it down, tied it to a float with string, and put that in there. I really don’t like breading mosquito larva.
     
  6. k1d2u3t4

    k1d2u3t4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 13, 2014
    Thank you for your advise. This is the first year that we have a rain barrel and we have enjoyed it very much. Still learning. I think this weekend's project is to make a screen for it. I hope to connect another rain barrel to it next year. It is amazing how much water you can collect!
     
  7. JonathanL23

    JonathanL23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May take awhile put feel it with hot water and a half cup of dish soap. Then let it sit for half hour.then use garden hose to rinse. Keep a lid on it. And be care rain barrels are illegal.on some states I think k I heard of someone being charged. Its very stupid but true
     

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