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I got a barrel but am unsure what was in it. If I take it to a car wash and hose it out, will it be safe to use? Answered

I am setting up a rain barrel collection system to water my vegetable garden. It is a very large white barrel. I received it from the composting/recycling center at work and they weren't sure what was in it. They already used a pressure hose to rinse it out. I am planning on taking it to a car wash and spending quite a bit of time hosing it with soap and then rinsing. Is this a good idea.


If it had anything particularly harmful in it you'd expect it to be carrying warnings. If it's clean I should think it will be fine.


I could be wrong as it was some time ago but when the police er..hazmat team was wheeling out the plastic barrels out of Jefferey Dahmer's apartment, I don't really recall them being labeled at all let alone "properly lableled".

 Take a test sample to an establishment with the proper equipment to test for dangerous residues and take a sample of the plastic from the inside of the barrel, a scraping should suffice, or.... Grow a test plant and take a little bit of the water from your "CLEANED BY YOU" barrel and water your lone test subject and see what happens. Also you can therefor get one of those soil test kits (ebay sells them for around 3 o4 bucks) and see what the results R.

Just ideas, nothing is factual until it's a theorum

A theorum is taken as factual until disproven by exerimentation...no thery is fact

Not a good idea. Some really toxic chemicals will impregnate the plastic and/or metal  and leech out over time. A good policy is if you don't know what was in it, don't use it for water, or food growing. Always better safe than sorry.

Could you fill it with water, (after you've cleaned it of course) let it sit for a few days to let the water absorb any potential residue, then take a water sample and have it tested?

got ph strips? try them? does it look greasy?

if it turns out to be very acidic or alkaline - you need to take it to a specialist waste company. if its greasy again this cant enter the water table..... *DO NOT JUST TAKE IT TO THE CAR WASH* you could potentially be causing alot of damage to private public or natural properties/resources if the wrong materials are in that tub.....the drain system is for AQUIOS (water based ie. water plus solutes at a ph range of 4 to 9) waste ONLY.

but again the acutal laws about disposal and storage of hazardous materials differ from country to country so please check with your local authoroty or a waste management company that operates in your area.

If you do not know, you DO NOT KNOW. Ask whoever you got it from.

yea, I think you should be okay. If you want they have wine carboy sterilization tablets/solutions you can buy online. or this:

but i think soap and high pressure water will do fine as long as you can hit all the sides (is it a sealed top with a little hole, or does the entire lid come off?