As the season is changing, and you no longer have to worry about mosquitos and algae in your rain barrels, I bet you must be cleaning around the house. While you are at it, don’t forget to clean and winterize your rain barrels the right way. You can enhance life and functionality by caring for rain barrels and ensuring they are well taken care of during the wintertime.
All summer long, our rain barrels are hard at work collecting the rainwater for our gardens. In order to keep them performing at their best, you must take care of your rain barrels.
I have spent some time in researching the most effective and easy methods of caring for rain barrels, and cleaning and storing them the safer way.
How to Care for you Rain Barrels?
Cleaning rain barrels is not a chore that you do every week or every month. Even the best rain barrels will need cleaning from time to time. By caring for your rain barrels, you can prolong the time needed between cleaning.
- Check for Debris:
You should check your gutters and rain barrels for debris every few months. The frequency that you need depends on where you live, how much rain you get and how many leaves and dirt come with rainwater. It is a good idea to check them every two months.
2. Use Screen Protector or Leaf Guard:
If two months sound too soon, you can use a leaf guard to prevent leaves from entering your rain gutters. The leaf guards are a great way to keep debris out. This means less cleaning for your rain gutters and rain barrels.
3. Use a Platform or Stand:
Protect your rain barrels from external damage and put them on a platform. Rainwater may accumulate below a rain barrel, and the moisture and bacterial can damage it. By using a platform or a stand, you can avoid damage and prolong the life of your rain barrels.
How to Clean you Rain Barrel?
Even with the best care, you will still have to clean your rain barrels to get rid of the deposits of dirt and debris. But rain barrels are huge and washing them properly can take a while. Don’t worry as I have found some quick and easy ways to help you in cleaning your rain barrels.
1. Use Natural Cleaning Ingredients:
Rain gutters are of many types, you may have own a plastic one or a long-lasting wood barrel. The safest way to clean your rain barrels is to use natural cleaners that won’t cause any damage. Scan your kitchen pantry or cleaning closet and you will find everything you need.
Here is the recipe for my favorite DIY cleaner for rain barrels:
- Vinegar-Half gallon
- Baking-One box
- Water-One quarter
Roll the rain barrel a few times so the mixture can reach every area. Let it sit for a few hours (or overnight for very dirty barrels). Then drain it out and rinse it a few times using a garden hose.
2. Scrub Away:
For thorough cleaning, your rain barrel will need a good scrub. Once again get innovative and raid your cleaning closet. Use a scrub with a long handle, or DIY one with a sponge/cleaning cloth and a long stick. Use a mixture of part dish soap and part water to scrub easily. Rinse a few times, and your barrel will be all clean in no time. Flip it and let it dry completely.
- Inspect for Leaks & Damages:
- Once your barrel is cleaned, look for any damages and leaks.
- If you find any leaks, you can fix them:
- Put a patch of the plastic sheet using a drywall adhesive.
- Add a coat of waterproof sealant to the patch.
- Leave overnight.
How to Winterize your Rain Barrels?
With rainwater, comes a lot of debris and dead leaves, therefore, you need regular cleaning to keep your rain barrels working. If you just put them away for winters, the water will freeze and damage the rain barrel. If you are lucky and there is no water left, the debris will make the barrels smell foul.
In this article, I will share some important steps to winterize your rain barrel and to store them the right way.
Step 1: Drain your Rain Barrel for Winter:
Unless you are living somewhere where winters are very, very mild, you will need to drain all water out of your rain barrels. In winters, the water may freeze and expand. This will cause a lot of damage to your rain barrels. So, the first step to winterizing your rain barrel is to drain them.
Step 2: Remove Hoses & Open Faucets:
Once your water barrel is empty, remove hoses and open the faucet. The hoses can get damaged in extreme cold. So, clean them and store them away.
Step 3: Cleaning your Rain Barrel:
Now is the time to give your rain barrel a thorough cleaning. Use the method I mentioned above for this step.
Step 4: Storing Rain Barrel:
When your rain barrel is cleaned, store it in a shady place. It is better to keep your rain barrel in a storage room or garage. If you don’t have space, you can place it outside covered with a thick, weather-proof sheet. Keep it upside down to avoid any water contamination.
You can prolong the life of your rain barrels by caring for them. In winters especially, clean your rain barrels and store them in a safe, dry place. I hope you have learned some new things in today’s blog post.
How do you store your rain barrels?
Share any tips that can be useful for everyone. Hey, we are all learning here, right?