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How to Clean Chemicals Out of Plastic Barrels

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Transporting chemicals is one of the most popular uses for plastic barrels. They’re the ideal container for chemicals because plastic barrels won’t degrade over time from being in contact with industrial chemicals. They easily transport hazardous and corrosive materials, plus you can reuse plastic barrels multiple times. Learn what chemicals you can store and how to clean chemicals out of plastic barrels to benefit from their cost savings.

Why Use Plastic Barrels?

Plastic barrels are used throughout the industrial shipping industry. They can transport and store any type of cargo, from food to chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Plastic barrels are produced from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a durable high-grade plastic that won’t react with chemicals. 

Chemicals stored in plastic barrels won’t corrode through the barrel and leak into the environment. Plastic barrels are durable, so you can reuse your barrels many times over, making them very cost-effective. The barrels are easy to move and stack, making them ideal for industrial transportation. Remember to apply the correct hazmat label to your plastic barrel to comply with all domestic and international shipping regulations.

a pallet jack with a wooden pallet carrying two plastice barrels

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Types of Chemicals You Can Store in Plastic Barrels

Many common industrial chemicals like ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and methanol can be stored safely in plastic barrels. HDPE barrels can even handle corrosive chemical waste and other acidic substances without leaks or damage to the barrel. 

There are ranges and labels on plastic drums for sale with the information you need to choose the right one for the substances you’re storing or shipping. Always check the barrel is appropriate for your use before filling it up.

Find Hazmat Labels to Correspond with Shipping Regulations

a group of blue plastic barrels for chemical storage

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You Can Clean and Reuse Plastic Barrels

Since plastic barrels hold up against corrosive materials and chemicals, they can be reused many times and have a lifespan of multiple years. Being able to reuse shipping materials like barrels helps you save on shipping costs. It’s essential to properly clean chemicals out of plastic barrels to ensure your barrel’s longevity and get your money’s worth.

Plastic barrels need to be cleaned out in between each use. You also have to be careful about what you’re storing in the barrels. An adverse chemical reaction can happen if you don’t thoroughly clean a barrel before filling it with another chemical. 

Never store food or drinking water in a barrel that previously stored chemicals, no matter how clean. The chemicals can leach into the inner plastic of the barrel over time and contaminate any food or liquids inside. You can prevent cross-contamination by using drum liners when storing different chemicals or substances in your barrels. 

Browse Our UN Certified Poly and Plastic Drums for Sale

How to Clean Your Plastic Barrels

Before cleaning, inspect your barrels for any damage or wear. Broken barrels can be repaired, but barrels showing signs of corrosion should not be used to store chemicals.

Chemical residue from the barrel needs to be cleaned out using a cleaning substance. The right type of cleaner to use depends on the chemical being stored in the barrel. Chemical manufacturers can tell you what cleaning products are safe to use and won’t cause a chemical reaction. 

Water-based cleaning solvents are the best choice when you’re cleaning chemicals from plastic barrels. They have a lower chance of reacting chemically with the residue of substances you’re cleaning. The water-based solvent dissolves the chemicals and other contaminants, safely removing the substances from the barrel.

To reduce the need for scrubbing, use a pressure water hose to clean your barrels. It’s more time-efficient and easier on your body to use spray hoses instead of scrubbing your barrels by hand.

If your plastic barrels hold acidic substances, you need to neutralize the acids using an alkaline solution before they can be cleaned. 

Always make sure you’re wearing the appropriate protective gear while cleaning your barrels. Wear non-slip shoes and glasses or goggles to protect your eyes. You’ll also need to wear gloves, a rubber apron, and a face shield to guard your face and body against any chemical splash.

Air Sea Helps You Find the Right Shipping Materials

Air Sea has the products to cover all your shipping needs. Find great deals on reusable plastic barrels and ensure you’re following all domestic and international shipping regulations by using our hazmat shipping boxes and hazmat labels. Browse our selection and contact us with any questions about environmentally friendly packaging materials for your next shipment. 


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