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Best practices to keep your spray tanks clean

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Experts share their top tips for keeping spray tanks clean.

Whether it is a truck-mounted sprayer meant for large-scale jobs or a sprayer-spreader for those on the smaller side of things, all lawn care operators (LCOs) must take care of their sprayer tanks.

Donny Pitts, operations manager at Graham Spray Equipment, and Caleb Myers, manufacturer representation for Steel Green Manufacturing, explain the necessary steps to ensure your spray tanks are as clean as can be.

The why

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Caleb Myers

Tanks that aren’t regularly maintained and cleaned suffer from leftover residue from previous applications, Myers says. These leftovers can lead to cross-contamination and, potentially, serious turf damage.

Additionally, accessories like hoses, nozzles and even the tank itself can be in danger if you don’t follow proper cleaning procedures.

“Too much buildup and residue over time can also lead to issues in suction or returns lines,” Myers adds. “That buildup could interrupt flow and rates. In addition, not taking the proper maintenance can eventually lead to damage in the tank itself over a long period.”

The how

Pitts likes to keep things simple when it comes to cleaning tanks. He recommends a combination of dish soap and water. He recommends crew members wash the tanks at least once a week, though he prefers washing them daily.

Along with washing, crews will need to brush them down for a true clean, especially on fiberglass tanks. To remove stains, Pitts says crews can use oxalic acid or an aluminum acid.

Steel Green’s spreader-sprayers have specific adjustments meant to help make it easier for operators to clean out the tanks from the inside, Myers adds. Two adjustments he points out are easily removable suction lines and the ability for LCOs to drain from the bottom of the tank. Some products or combinations “gum up” lines easier than others, Myers says, meaning LCOs should be extra vigilant with cleaning when utilizing those products.

“Some guys will mix types of granular into their tanks and try to spray it,” he says. “Those can create problems. So that’s why we tell everybody that you need to clean your tanks as often as possible to avoid any complications.”

Mistakes to avoid

Donny Pitts
Donny Pitts

There are plenty of potential tripping points for LCOs when it comes to cleaning their spray tanks. But Myers says that the most common is the lack of a schedule. He warns that, especially during the summer months when the hours are long and the days are hot, some operators will only give the tanks a quick rinse before continuing to operate them.

“Cleaning the tank is really not a difficult process,” he says. “It’s about making sure you’re committed and repetitive with your cleaning.”

Pitts adds that to keep your entire spray rig clean, it’s crucial to know what products you’re using, how they may interact and how they could affect other facets of the rig — the exterior surfaces included.

“When it comes to cleaning your tank, a big thing that you want to do is keep all of your fertilizers, harsh chemicals or any additional products from sitting on the bed or frame of the trucks,” he says. “You don’t want to deal with those things corroding or rusting away at the truck.”

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