Agricultural chemical container/equipment cleaning practices

Agricultural Chemical Container / Equipment Cleaning Practices

To reduce the risk of crop injury or contamination from previous applications, keep these farm cleanup guidelines in mind:

  • Don’t wait to clean. Clean sprayer as soon as possible after use. Sprayers can retain significant amounts of pesticide solution even after they are considered empty. Leaving the spray solution in the sprayer for long periods of time increases the risk of contamination. Dried pesticides are harder to remove than pesticides still in solution.
  • Determine where to clean. Clean spray equipment where the rinsate can be safely disposed of and will not contaminate water supplies or other sensitive areas. The best place for rinsate disposal is usually in the field, consistent with the product’s label.
  • Use the right cleaner. Cleaning agents should be selected based on the pesticide and formulation to be cleaned. Refer to the label for specific cleaning products to use. Some product labels recommend the cleaning solution stand in the sprayer for several hours or overnight.
  • Clean all equipment parts. Focus on more than just the tank. Pesticide residues on hoses, sumps, strainers, pump surfaces, and other sprayer components can also cause contamination.
  • Clean strainers daily. Check and clean strainers daily as these can be a source of contamination. Most sprayers have up to three different strainers. In addition, partly plugged strainers may create a pressure drop and reduce the nozzle flow rate.
  • Handle safely. When cleaning sprayer equipment, wear the same personal protective equipment (PPE) required by the pesticide label for making the application. It is also a good idea to wear a chemical-resistant apron and eye protection.

Remember that cleaning practices will vary depending on farm equipment and agricultural chemical products used. Always refer to the farm chemical's label for specific cleaning instructions.

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Source: Integrated Crop Management News and Iowa State University Extension Service.


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