Top 5 IBC Tote Care Tips: Maintenance and Cleaning for IBC Totes

IBC totes

Are IBC totes an integral part of your business?

If so, you will have to maintain them just like any other piece of equipment, especially if you regularly transport hazardous materials. The more energy and time you dedicate to maintaining them, the longer they will last.

Your business can actually save money by reusing 330 gallon IBC totes for decades to come as opposed to being forced to replace them every few years. Incorporate the following maintenance tips into your business strategy to keep your IBCs in great shape.

1. Meet Regular Inspection Requirements

Having your IBC totes inspected isn’t just a strategy for saving money; it is the law. The United States government mandates that all IBC totes be inspected after the manufacturing process and every 2½ years going forward.

The container must pass what’s referred to as a leak-proof test after it has been manufactured to make sure that it can keep both liquids and solids contained. You will then have to repeat the test every 2½ years.

The container must also be inspected externally every 2½ years for damaged or missing parts. Any labels or markings need to be inspected and replaced if necessary.

You will also have to inspect the IBC internally every 5 years to check for any damage to the container’s lining.

If you fail to meet one of the deadlines above since your container was filled with materials at the time of the inspection date, make sure that the inspection is done once the container is empty, before you refill it.

2. Hire Professional Cleaners   

If your business handles materials of different types, it is important to clean your totes after each use to prevent cross-contamination.

If you or your team are not sure how to properly clean an IBC tote or are not licensed to do so, you should hire a professional instead.

Professional tote cleaners will have the training, equipment, and expertise to ensure you’re your containers are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, especially if they have been used for transporting hazardous materials.

They typically use a high-pressure multi-directional spinner head for cleaning every inch of the container both inside and out.

If the last product transported in the container was resistant to water, a special chemical will be used by the cleaning specialist to break it down.

Cleaners also make sure that any waste water created during the process is properly disposed of. Once the container is clean, the company will then issue a document proving that the tote has been cleaned and is now ready for reuse.

3. Be Careful When Lifting or Moving

A tote is a lot more than just 4 plastic walls. It also has a discharge valve that must remain intact if you plan to use the container properly. Use caution when lifting or moving the container to avoid damaging this valve.

Lift the tote from the side and avoid coming into contact with the valve. Be aware of the contents inside the container when lifting or moving.

Go slow and try keeping the contents as steady as possible to ensure that the weight doesn’t shift suddenly.

4. Remove the Lid Very Slowly

Pressure may build up inside the container, depending on its contents. If you open the bung too fast, you risk injuring yourself or one of your staff members.

No matter the contents, get in the habit of releasing the bung slowly to gradually let the pressure out – as if you are opening a can of soda that fell into the floor. Otherwise, the bung might fly off or the contents could burst out of the container.

5. Don’t Overfill the Container

You should also remember not to overfill the container. It is just common sense, but some companies are unfortunately tempted to overfill containers to save money on shipping rather than shipping 2 containers.

Always make sure that the tank valve has been tightly closed and locked and that the second closure is actually installed prior to sending the shipment on its way.

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