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Cleaning buckets to remove odor?

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grrickar

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So I have some food safe buckets I just bought for grain storage, but I have quite a few more food safe buckets I got for free awhile back - the catch?

They were used to store pickles for a restaurant. Now one would think after washing with soap, gallons of hot water and StarSan that the smell would be gone....nope! I'm thinking hot water and bleach may be my next try, either bleach or oxyclean.

I don't want to use them with grain storage, transferring water or anything related to brewing since I feel it could impart some tastes.

Pickleweizen does not sound like a trend that is primed for taking off anytime soon.

Anything I can do to remove the odor? They are about 7 gallons each, and I'd like to call them into service if I can get the smell out...
 

AndrewNSachs

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From experience, I can tell you that bleach doesn't do the trick. I tried everything, but the pickle smell is persistent. Hope you find something though, it'd be good to know!
 

JONNYROTTEN

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I just read that someone crumpled up newspaper and left it the bucket for a few days and it cleared up the smell,pickle buckets too if I remember correct. If you try it post results
 

hottpeper13

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i used me pickle buckets for soaking bottles in PBW after about 1 year of use the smell was gone.
I use the smelly ones for grinding my grain into and have not had any issues. I also am leery about storage, the ground grain is only in there overnite.
 

augiedoggy

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try direct sunlight contact to the inside for an extended period (all day). its usually pretty good at getting the stink out, maybe not pickles but its worth a try.
Ive also been told that this is a great way to kill lambic and other wild yeast and bacteria strains by a local lambic guru... The uv radiation works well.
 

kh54s10

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Try setting a box of baking soda inside or even dumping it in. That and sunlight, sound like it might work.
 

FloppyKnockers

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Fill it with dog sh!t. That'll get rid of that pesky pickle smell.


Seriously though. I had the same issue. I just washed it as best I could then used it. The smell got more faint with every batch and didn't notice any pickle flavors in any beer.
 

jkeaton1

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Just getting into brewing and was thinking of using the pickle buckets from work but had that initial thought of "but that smell tho!" Let us know what works for you, because if I'm able to get rid of the smell these buckets are as plentiful as trash in a dumpster.
 
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grrickar

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I've had these for two years just sitting in a non-temp controlled garage and they still smell. Wish I knew a way to remove the odor better. I'm thinking a bleach rinse followed by a couple days in full sunlight, and when maybe water and baking soda paste applied to the walls and left on for a bit.

Years ago when I was in Scouts we did a 50 mile canoe trip, and used buckets to waterproof the gear. You definitely did not want a pickle bucket for clothes or sleeping bag storage.

One of the Scout leaders found that bakeries got cake frosting in 5 gallon pails. Much better to have your tent smell like buttercream than pickles I suppose, but if it had been bear country I think we would all have been hosed... :D
 

Slow_Day

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+1 on the charcoal. I use plastic coffee containers to store some grains, and found it very difficult to get rid of the coffee aroma.

Crushed lump charcoal, shook it up in the containers along with some baking soda. Left for a few days, and rinsed. No more coffee smell. Not sure about pickle smell, but I would give it a shot.
 
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grrickar

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I have plenty of lump charcoal for my Primo, so I'll definitely give that a go. Thanks for the tip! I'll update with the result.
 
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