rain barrel safe ?

nbreauMarch 3, 2009

I have a few 45 gallon plastic barrels that I obtained from a car wash that were used to store windshield washer fluid and I'm wondering if they would be safe for rainwater collection to water my veggie garden if they are properly rinsed out.

I've done some googling to try and find out but so far no luck.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jleiwig(6)

I wouldn't use them unless it says that the windshield washing fluid is safe for drinking. You could use them to water non edibles, but I wouldn't use them for veggies.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I wouldn't.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lilion

I think you got good answers to this on the veggie forum. I'd listen to them.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 4:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Nick - I would see if there was anything that would neutralize the residual chemical. Kinda like the way baking soda does battery acid...

EG

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 6:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I agree with EG, altho unless there is an ingredients label, you are talking about the safety of your family & you have no idea what the constituents of the chemical are. I wouldn't risk it for my family. Not even the MIL.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

Windshield washer fluid is made with isopropyl alcohol. It evaporates.

A 10% chlorine bleach solution will fix any residual.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 7:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan8(8)

I can't imagine that if you cleaned the barrell that there would be any ill effects. It seems that windshield washing fluid is basically soap and alcohol mix. I'm no scientist but wouldn't that just wash away and leave no trace? Even if there was a tiny bit of residual, it's probably no worse than what we get in straight rainwater.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 7:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

There ya have it.....gary's the man!

EG

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

OK then. A new place to dumpster dive freecycle!

Oh, wait: what color are they? Will I get approval from the better half?!

Dan

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 9:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Dan, paint 'em. That's what I'll have to do no matter what color I get, hehe.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 1:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floodthelast(5 N. OH)

Ha I am the better half and my hubby is putting mine together for my birthday. I happen to like that shade of blue. Of course my lilac will hide it from the street and neighbors come spring so I did take some of that into consideration.
He did suggest I paint the rain diverter we bought. I have some blue paint on hand :) My spouts are dark brown so the blue will be a bit better.
I am also going to add some decorative river rocks to the top for the sound and ascetics.

Impressive info Gary, this post was very informative.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 7:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jleiwig(6)

I still wouldn't do it. Windshield washer fluids have additives to them and are not just alcohol. Most contain MONOETHANOLAMINE which is toxic and in the amine family (same as ammonia).

Like I said, if it says do not ingest on the label, then I would stay away. At the least, try to find the MSDS on what was in the barrel and see what it rates the health effects as.

Is it really worth your life or a family members life to save a few bucks?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 8:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
HillBillyJeff

I just picked up some of these barrels today, I will be bottom watering plants out of these barrels. Has anyone else used these kind of barrels and what all did you use to clean them out with?

Much appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cold_weather_is_evil(9)

"you are what you eat"

Obnoxious (but true) slogans aside, those barrels could have contained ANYTHING. From Medline: "Windshield washer fluid is a brightly colored liquid made of methanol, a poisonous alcohol. Sometimes small amounts of other toxic alcohols such as ethylene glycol are added to the mixture...Some young children may mistake the fluid for juice, which can lead to accidental poisoning. Even small amounts can cause significant damage."

The barrels will not be poisonous at all, as long as you believe that there is an exposure threshold you're not exceeding. However, we are exposed to toxic chemicals constantly day after day and I believe that it's not a good idea to deliberately add more crap to that (very thin but real) toxic assault. You gotta draw a line somewhere, and using a castoff from the chemical industry to saturate food plant roots is just asking for trouble.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greasybeans

Why risk it when the point of gardening is to eat healthy?

Did you know you could make your own inexpensive rain barrels out of new garbage cans? Family Handyman had an article on how to do it. It showed you how to cut a hole out of the top to allow your gutter to flow into it and cut one at the bottom to install a faucet. It was very easy.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:28AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Lateral space for dripline irrigation in square foot garden?
Hello! I'm pretty new to square foot gardening and...
poppenschmaltz
What should I use to fill my raised beds?
I'm going to be making some raised beds in my backyard...
hazeldazel
I'd like to try SFG like this....(see pic)
I'd like to try SFG in a 55 gallon drum like the one...
farmless_barn
New to gardening and already disappointed in myself :(
I decided to make a raised bed garden and start growing...
cammie895
2nd year of SFG: what to do?
Hi all, 2nd year of SFG. Last year was 3, 4x4 beds....
Anthony
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™