Smelling Scepter container, safe for water?

Good morning!

I bought a couple of brand new scepter water containers for water storage. My plan is to cycle them every 6 months. However, I’m still a bit concerned about filling them since they have that strong plastic smell. I already washed them out once and have them sitting there open for a couple of days but it still smells. Now I’m wondering if I can still use the container or if I should wait until the smell is gone. I haven’t used bleach for disinfecting yet so I could still wash it out again. I’m just not sure if the smell will affect the taste or even has an impact on the water quality. 

Any ideas? Thanks!


  • Comments (9)

    • 4

      always soak any poly containers used for food/water in baking soda first – takes out the release chemical used in manufacturing …..

      • 2

        Good idea, thank you!

    • 5

      I bought some scepter containers a few months ago and they do have a strong plastic smell about them. Wash them out with soap and hot water while sticking your hand down in there and scrub with a brush and wash cloth. Rinse out until clear. Then soak them for an hour in a very concentrated bleach soak. Rinse out many times until the water doesn’t taste like anything and you are good to go. 

      As Illini Warrior stated, baking soda is a good idea. Pouring in 1/2-1 cup of baking soda during the soap stage is smart to absorb odors and act as an abrasive to break down things inside. If you do that, I would probably let that soapy baking soda solution soak for a few hours to give it time to absorb the plastic smell as much as possible. 

      If you clean these out by doing the above steps that I mentioned, even if it still has a plastic taste to it, it will be safe to drink. But hopefully the taste will be better.

      Be careful if doing this in your bath tub. I dropped a full container down on the drain and cracked the cheapo plastic drain. 

      • 3

        Thanks for that informative reply! I’m not sure my hand fits through that hole but will check 🙂 I’m a bit worried about the very concentrated bleach solution, wouldn’t that be a bit too aggressive on the container? Would it actually be possible to bleach the color which would mean it would release more chemicals?

        I’ll wash it again with soap and I’ll try the baking soda tip. Hopefully, that will help.

        I almost dropped one of those containers because they do get heavy but I really like the heavy and sturdy built of them.

      • 3

        I know right!? These things sure are sturdy.

        Bleach isn’t going to be too aggressive against a Scepter. Maybe if you had some industrial strength one that was even more concentrated than a commercial use one and you let it sit in there for a long time. But diluted commercial bleach in there for an hour isn’t going to harm this. I know because I did it and the water didn’t come out a different color from the bleach eating away at the walls, and the scepter looks just like it did and hasn’t been affected in any way. I’m not a chemist and I don’t truly know 100% if it will affect it or not so if you’d rather not mess around with it then that’s all good.

        I found this little blurb by the United State Plastic Corp which says that household bleach is between 3-6% concentrated and if you have contaminated (with bits of trace metals) bleach at 16.5% concentration you can have deterioration of the polyethylene over time.

      • 2

        just one of the reasons why you need to get the formulation of bleach correct using calcium hypochlorite (pool shock) – and never ever try to do a potable water disinfection directly …

      • 2

        I only used pool shock for my pool so far but I’ll have to dive into that a bit more since it has for sure a longer shelf life in dry form than regular bleach.

      • 2

        Good to know; I’ll give it another good bleach rinse before filling with water. Thanks for the link; that gave me a good understanding as well. So regular household bleach is safe for use in these containers for disinfecting. That was another major point I was a bit skeptical about.

    • 2

      Good afternoon Nick,

      I use vinegar for my other brand containers.