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Water Butts STINK!



  • lydiaannlydiaann Posts: 298

    We clean out our water butts (3) every year.  Remember also to clean the lid thoroughly and to ensure that it fits snugly.  We don't use any chemicals or organic materials to clean them, just a good scrubbing brush and a strong hose and we've not had any problems so far (almost 4 years).  The water butts are attached to the shed and greenhouse gutters and these are kept clear, my husband doing the biz once a month, particularly in the autumn, winter, as we have a lot of trees around.

  • There is always the possibility that a rat or mice have somehow fallen in to cause the smell. Empty and a good scrub will do the trick.

  • I always empty 1/4 out of my water butt every month to stop sludge build up. I live on the west coast of scotland so Rain water is not a problem to collect. image

  • GWRSGWRS Posts: 8,460

    Hello , I clean my water butts every year but it is the moss/lichen that comes off the roof into the butts that build up and gets smelly image

  • I added scrunched up copper wire balls to each of our water butts, about the size of a cricket ball and our smelly water problem disappeared  soon after. The copper has an anti-bacterial effect on the water, without poisoning it. If you try this, maybe run the copper wire through some sandpaper, to remove any coatings that may stop the copper making contact with the water. I've heard of people throwing a few copper coins in each water butt, I don't know how effective this may be, as flat coins may just get buried in silt in the bottom, and perhaps also rust, as most copper coins also contain other metals beside copper. Worth a try I guess, for a few pence.

  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190

    Thanks for the tip, sounds good.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • we empty ours if it looks murky in the bottom& clean it out. good luck

  • lydiaannlydiaann Posts: 298

    Early spring (around last week of March), we empty our water butts (3) - onto the garden using watering cans, trying to ensure we do it after up to a week of dry weather.  Then we scrub them out using plain tap water and a good brush.  They are usually done again some time in the summer as ALL of our watering is done using this water while there is any in there.  At some point, usually around the end of August, as each one empties once again, , they get a good scrub out.  All gutters are kept clean by Himself once per month.  Whole emptying/scrubbing/reassembly in spring takes around one hour - only a few minutes is required for each one as it is emptied in autumn.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    I keep my water butts closely covered at all times. I never deliberately empty them except by watering can for the garden. They never need scrubbing and some of the water in one or two of them must be years old and completely clear. And I never add chemicals or other devices to them.
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