The importance of cleaning water butts

As temperatures increase and summer approaches, Water Butts Direct, which has the UK’s largest range of water butts, rain barrels and rainwater harvesting solutions, is advising people about the importance of cleaning out water butts.

Saving and reusing rainwater is an important element of a sustainable garden, and if kept clean, water butts can be a quick, easy and reliable way for people to reduce their carbon footprint. This eco-friendly measure saves excess water from going down the drain and provides water when the supply is not plentiful such as through periods of drought and hose pipe bans. This may come to the fore this summer as Forage Aid is already warning farmers to prepare for a drought as spring has been so hot and dry.

They can also save money by helping to lower water bills for those on metered usage. Water butts are not only good for the planet and wallets, but they are also kinder to plants – the natural rainfall is untreated so doesn’t contain chemicals and chlorine like tap water does.

However, if left uncleaned water butts can become home to algae, bacteria and fungal plant diseases that can harm plants, particularly seedlings. Not only that but a build-up of debris, leaves and even flies can lead to green, stagnant and smelly water building up.

To help gardeners this summer, Water Butts Direct is offering five simple tips for maintaining a healthy, clean water butt.

  1. At least once a year, preferably before summer, completely empty the water butt and scrub it out with warm soapy water and then rinse thoroughly
  2. Avoid stagnant water by using the butt regularly, and completely draining occasionally, to flush it out and make room for fresh water to collect
  3. When cleaning the water butt, give things a helping hand by using natural products such as the Water Butt FreshaTank Microbial Disc and the Gardening Naturally Natural Water Butt Treatment. These both help keep things clean and odour free by tackling viruses, bacteria, fungus and water borne diseases – all without any chemicals so the water remains safe to use on plants and around the garden
  4. Stop debris and leaves coming down from guttering and getting into the water butt by installing an innovative and award-winning Gutter Mate filter. This simply attaches to the downpipe and captures any debris before it reaches the butt
  5. Prevent the water from heating up, which can accelerate the bacterial breeding process, by buying a high quality, insulated water butt that can regulate temperatures. Then store the butt in a cool, shady position away from direct sunlight.

Mark Robinson, director of Water Butts Direct, commented: “Water butts are a great way of boosting sustainability in the garden, but they do need taking care of. Bacteria can thrive in stagnant, warm water and the summer sunshine will speed this up, but some simple steps can easily stop this from happening.

“Lockdown has brought about a new wave of people getting into gardening for the first time. However, this might mean that there are people, who are new to gardening, that might not realise water butts need cleaning and will find out the hard way when they start to smell! A clean water butt is the easiest way to ensure clean, safe water for you and your garden while protecting the planet.”

There are many different types and styles of water butts available, and Water Butts Direct has an extensive array ranging from traditional green barrels to stylish decorative columns with built in planters on top to add a floral finish. They are available in a multitude of colours, materials, styles and sizes including slim, tall, flat back, space saving and wall mountable with volumes ranging from a compact 50 litres to a capacious 2,500.

For more information and to view the range of water butts available please visit


Product Showcase


Water Butt FreshaTank Microbial Disc


The Water Butt FreshaTank Microbial Disc is a water butt cleaner and freshener. Simply place inside the water butt to enjoy fresh, clean, odour free water. Made from copper and silver, it uses the natural biocidal effects of real silver that, when immersed in water, destroy germs including viruses, bacteria, fungus and water-borne diseases.

Environmentally friendly and made from natural materials.


Gutter Mate Diverter and Filter


The best-selling, award-winning Gutter Mate system collects and filters rainwater straight from the downpipe before it enters the water butt. Designed to keep debris, moss and leaves out water butts and prevent expensive blockages. The diverter then automatically shuts off the flow to the water butt when full.

Available in black, brown and white. The standard length of hose in box is 500mm and longer lengths are available separately.


Gardening Naturally Natural Water Butt Treatment

£8.99 for 500ml

Derived from plant extracts, this solution is non-toxic and is safe for use on plants as well as near children, pets and wildlife. It restores the natural balance in rainwater, cleansing and deodorising through stimulation of naturally occurring micro-organisms to keep water butts odour free and clean. Contains a UV blocker which stops harmful rays that promote active algae growth, as well as a flocculating agent which clumps together any debris and causes it to sink to the bottom.  Add 10ml to 100 litres of rainwater. Apply once a week.


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