How to Clean Maple Sap Buckets

How to Clean Maple Sap Buckets

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Cleaning maple sap buckets after you collect sap, or in preparation for this year’s collection, is essential for food safety. Clean sap buckets ensure that you are not introducing any pathogens or bacteria into the sap that you are collecting to make maple syrup.

Cleaning sap buckets is an easy process, and we recommend doing it twice. Once when you are getting ready to use the sap buckets in the spring, and then after you have collected sap before storing them.

bleach bottle in front of a sink filling with water
Home bleach, watered down, can be used to clean and disinfect sap buckets.

What should I use to Clean Sap Buckets?

The best way to clean sap buckets is with a mixture of diluted home bleach and hot water. You’ll use about 1 part bleach to 20 parts hot water (a 5% bleach solution).

Be careful when using bleach – you should do this project in a well-ventilated area, wear gloves to protect your hands, and wear clothing that can get a splash of bleach on it without being damaged.

We recommend creating a cleaning bath for your sap buckets by adding bleach and hot water to a utility sink. Our utility sink holds about 18 gallons of water total, so we fill it less than half-way (about 5-6 gallons of water) and add about 3-4 cups of bleach to the water.

One gallon = 16 cups, 5 gallons = 80 cups
80 cups x .05 = 4 cups

How do I clean Sap Buckets?

Once you have created your bleach and water solution, follow these steps to clean your buckets (remember to wear gloves):

How to Clean Maple Sap Buckets

Clean your sap buckets before and after you use them for food safety.


  • Create your diluted bleach solution using approximately 1 part bleach to 20 parts water.
    rinsing a sap bucket under faucet
  • Submerge the bucket in the bleach/water solution and spin it around a few times until all surface areas have been soaked.
    sap bucket submerged in bleach water
  • Lift the bucket out of the solution and use a sponge, cloth, or brush to wipe down the entire inside and outside of the bucket with the same bleach/water solution.
  • Rinse the bucket with clean, clear water at least three times to ensure that all of the bleach has been removed; Set the bucket upside-down to dry.
    rinsing sap bucket under running water

How do I clean Maple Spiles or taps?

Maple spiles are the actual tap that you hammer into the tree to create a hold through which the sap will flow into the bucket. These can be cleaned in a bleach/water solution the same way that you clean your buckets.

Swirl them around in the bleach solution to ensure that the cleaning solution has run through the spout and hole, scrub the part of the spout that you can get to, and then rinse in warm water three times to remove any residual bleach.

For more information on making your own maple syrup, be sure to visit the other articles in our series!

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Carrie Williams Howe
Blogger & Homesteader at The Happy Hive
Carrie Williams Howe is an educational leader by day and an aspiring homesteader by night and weekend. She lives on a small homestead in Vermont with her husband, two children, and a rambunctious border collie. She is a Founder and Editor of Homestead How-To and also blogs about her family's homestead life at The Happy Hive.

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