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Jack of all trades, master of none
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I picked up a couple 55gal barrels a couple months ago, but haven't been able to wash them out yet due to my current living situation. One held agave nectar, the other held soy sauce. What is the best way to make these barrels safe to use for water storage? Thanks in advance.
 

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Are these barrels made of plastic? Assuming they are be aware that the porous nature of the plastic means that it may be a problem getting the product totally out of the plastic.

Put some soapy water in the barrels and swish it around so that you clean all interior surfaces. Empty the barrel and rinse thoroughly. If it passes the sniff test then you are ready to fill. After the water has sat in the barrel for a week taste it and if necessary repeat the process. The agave barrel should be easy but you may find your soy sauce barrel a bit more work. At least they are not pickle barrels. Some period of airing out may also be helpful after cleaning.
 

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Just walking at the edge of my grave
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Wash them with a bleach solution. Let dry thoroughly. They should be safe for water storage then. But you are likely never going to remove the taste/odor of what they originally held.
 

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Wash them with a bleach solution. Let dry thoroughly. They should be safe for water storage then. But you are likely never going to remove the taste/odor of what they originally held.
Vinegar will help with that. I got all my 5 gallon buckets from a Chinese restaurant. They originally were filled with soy sauce. It took a few rounds of soaking but I did get rid of the soy sauce smell.
 

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Barrels are easier to clean if they have a top that comes off instead of just a small plug. If it has a small plug I don't how you ever get it clean enough to use for water.
 

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UncleJoe said:
Vinegar will help with that. I got all my 5 gallon buckets from a Chinese restaurant. They originally were filled with soy sauce. It took a few rounds of soaking but I did get rid of the soy sauce smell.
I was going to suggest vinegar or even baking soda.
 

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Barrels are easier to clean if they have a top that comes off instead of just a small plug. If it has a small plug I don't how you ever get it clean enough to use for water.
Triple rinse.

I have a 1" and a 2" hole in my barrels. I filled them up with a vinegar and water solution and let them soak for a few days. This will loosen any particulate that may have dried on the inside. I don't recall the name of it but mine contained some type of coating used on fruit for long range transport and some of that coating had dried on the sides.
After soaking, dump most of the water solution then shake the barrel around and pour the rest out. That took care of all the residue. Fill the barrel again with clear water; about 1/4 full. Shake and roll it around some more then dump it. Look for particulate coming out. Fill to 1/4 again and repeat. That was all it took to get mine ready for potable water storage.

I was going to suggest vinegar or even baking soda.
Yep. Baking soda works well to neutralize odors too.
 

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Use ammonia to clean barrels and. Rince well. We use this to clean our farm sprayers, will not harm plastic drums. It cuts the residues from herbicides, so we can us insecticides in same tanks. Our cisterns are cleaned with ammonia also rince well.
 

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I had the same problem with a oil barrel, wash it with a biodegradable soap them bleach ,never had a problem. Water storage should be in a cool/dark place or water will start to develop algae, is better to have/make a recirculating water system with the drums, that, way the water is always moving ,stays fresh and you always have water.
 
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