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Thread: Cleaning collection buckets

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Hubbardston, MA
    Posts
    10

    Default Cleaning collection buckets

    Hello all,

    Just thinking ahead to the end of the season. I use 5 gallon buckets and also some 15 gallon barrels with bungs for sap collection. What do you use to clean them at the end of the season? I was thinking a diluted bleach solution and sit for a few days with a good rinse...

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Oxford, Maine
    Posts
    166

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    I use a lot of 5 gallon plastic buckets with drop lines and also tree hanging metal buckets. I clean them at the end of the season with dilute bleach solution and a good rinse. Does the trick

    2020: 317 taps, 2021: 360
    Drop lines and hanging buckets, all hand lugged
    2 X 6 raised flue evaporator
    7in. Filter press
    17 HP Kubota tractor
    12 X 16' sugar shack
    Sugar and red maples

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hayward, WI
    Posts
    16

    Default

    I happen to brew beer too, so I use 5-star PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) ... an alkaline cleaner. If it's good for my beer, it must be good for my sap/syrup!


    PBW is an alkaline, non-caustic, environmentally and user friendly cleaner
    Cleaner is very effective in removing thick, difficult, and caked-on organic soils
    Effective substitute for caustic soda cleaners and household cleaners
    Can clean items that cannot be reached with a brush or sponge by simply soaking and rinsing
    Safe on skin as well as stainless steel, rubber, soft metals, and on plastics

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    561

    Default

    One general thought to share: Cleaning and sanitation are different and related. Without proper cleaning, sanitation won't work. This is because all sanitizing solutions I know of are "used up" pretty easily by organic matter. So if you have all kinds of bugs and crap stuck to the inside of your buckets (as I know I do by the end of the season), and you think you can just sanitize and rinse, the sanitizing solution may not actually do much. You need to clean first and then sanitize.

    Cheers,

    Gabe
    2016: Homemade arch from old woodburning stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 galls
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 galls
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 galls
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 galls
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 galls
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 galls
    2022: 23 taps
    All taps on buckets

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Wakefield,New Hampshire
    Posts
    396

    Default

    I have only ever cleaned my buckets and barrels with hot water and a non abrasive sponge. They are going on their 7th season and are still as clean and white as the first.
    6th season solo sugar maker in a young sugar bush of mostly red maples
    320 taps
    2x6 self built arch, Flat pans w/ dividers
    New 12x16 sugar house
    CDL hobby 250 RO

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    33

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeds View Post
    I happen to brew beer too, so I use 5-star PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) ... an alkaline cleaner. If it's good for my beer, it must be good for my sap/syrup!


    PBW is an alkaline, non-caustic, environmentally and user friendly cleaner
    Cleaner is very effective in removing thick, difficult, and caked-on organic soils
    Effective substitute for caustic soda cleaners and household cleaners
    Can clean items that cannot be reached with a brush or sponge by simply soaking and rinsing
    Safe on skin as well as stainless steel, rubber, soft metals, and on plastics
    I do this as well, then a dunk in Star-San to disinfect everything, buckets, lids, lines, taps-etc. Set everything out to dry in the sun and pack it all away for the season.

    Before I return things to service I give them a rinse to remove any dust or bugs that found their way onto things in the last 10 months and then a quick dip in Star-San again then out to the trees to start collecting sap.

    The benefit of the food grade brewery style cleansers and sanitation is they are no rinse and won’t alter taste, smell or color of the sap or syrup.
    All Sugar Maples
    2017 7 taps on propane & 5 gal pot
    2018 12 taps on propane & 5 gal pot
    2019 17 taps on propane & 5 gal pot, Gen 1 barrel evaporator
    2020 26 taps 2-22-20 - Gen 2 barrel evaporator, DIY 100GPD RO
    2021 cut back some-12 taps Gen 2 barrel evap-too many other projects.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Alaska (East Central Minnesota For Sugaring)
    Posts
    299

    Default

    I don full rain gear, gloves, wear glasses and use a pressure washer on them, then set the buckets out to dry. I haul and store them horizontally to keep them from sticking together.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Potsdam in far northern New York
    Posts
    769

    Default

    Start with hot water and dish detergent, just like in the home kitchen. I don't sanitize buckets like we do glassware. If buckets get old and uncleanable, they are "retired" to the garden shed for other purposes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Savoy, MA
    Posts
    376

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Greer View Post
    Start with hot water and dish detergent, just like in the home kitchen. I don't sanitize buckets like we do glassware. If buckets get old and uncleanable, they are "retired" to the garden shed for other purposes.
    I do the same. Never felt the need to sterilize everything. Just figured the evaporator would do that.
    16x24 Timber Frame Sugar House
    Mason 2x4 Evaporator
    90 trees on buckets

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    561

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bigschuss View Post
    I do the same. Never felt the need to sterilize everything. Just figured the evaporator would do that.
    Likewise. I think cleanliness of buckets is the most important, not sterilization.

    GO
    2016: Homemade arch from old woodburning stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 galls
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 galls
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 galls
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 galls
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 galls
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 galls
    2022: 23 taps
    All taps on buckets

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