How to Clean an IBC

The materials that are stored in IBC`s are wide and varied from dairy products and fruit juices, to dangerous and hazardous chemicals.  When cleaning any IBC the two of the main questions which should be asked are:-

What`s been in the IBC previously?

Why are we cleaning the IBC?

Any IBC which has previously been used should have a label that details the last product which the IBC has contained. This label will give will the name of the previous chemical and also the hazards associated with the chemical. If the IBC has previously contained a hazardous chemical, the IBC will be classed as hazardous packaging under WM3 packaging regulations.

If the IBC states the previous contents of the IBC were hazardous, the IBC must be transported by a company with an ADR licence, to a site that is approved by the Environment agency.


Many IBC`s are cleaned to avoid cross contamination from one product to another prior to refilling, or periodically cleaned to allow for periodic testing and inspection. IBC`s which can no longer be used are also cleaned prior to safe disposal. Rotajet manufacture a range of IBC and drum shredding and washing equipment, information regarding this machinery can be found here.

For companies or users of looking for used IBC to convert in water butts / water storage, Please note, the IBC label does not always reflect the contents that the IBC has previously contained, if appropriate.

IBC Cleaning Nozzles

For low volume IBC cleaning, typically a manual pressure washer is utilized for external cleaning; this will remove labels, oil, dirt etc…In normal application a TFR / caustic detergent is used for the primary clean followed by a fresh water rinse, this ensures the IBC dries with no chemical residue present. For internal cleaning, we recommend the use of an IBC Rotating cleaning nozzle; these are normally manufactured from 316 stainless steel, and can operate at high pressure and temperatures. The IBC cleaning nozzles can be supplied with either a fluid driven or electrically driven, in applications were the wash fluids are to be recycled or there is a possible solid particle contamination we recommend the electrically driven IBC cleaning nozzles are used, for applications with clean liquid used once in a single pass the fluid driven nozzles can be used. Depending on the application, the nozzles are fitted with either two or four high impact impingement jets, these driven 360o on both an X and Y axis.

Low volume cleaning of IBC`s

For companies that want to  clean a few IBC`s per day, we manufacture stand alone IBC cleaning stations,  these stations can be used with heated detergents and fitted with bypass valves, which allow  the IBC`s to be rinsed with fresh water.  The IBC washing stations are fitted with high pressure IBC cleaning nozzles which are fully interlocked.

why buy a container washer from rotajet

Rotajet are the experts in the design and manufacture of cleaning and degreasing machinery. We’ve worked with some of the worlds biggest brands to create automated systems to recondition containers ready for reuse.