Let’s face it – not many people are passionate about cleaning, especially after a hard day’s work. But looking after your spray system carefully will be worth it in the end – it’ll keep it working to optimal performance to help it last longer, and help you avoid contamination when switching between different herbicides.
Why it’s important to look after your spray system
Cleaning protocols exist for a reason. Spraying equipment contamination can be a serious problem and one that can be easily fixed if you thoroughly maintain it. Contamination is one of the main reasons you need to clean your equipment regularly, particularly if you’re spraying with different chemicals or herbicides at different times. It is also a chance to ensure all rubber seals are free from harmful chemicals that can cause deterioration. If it is not cleaned correctly, some residue may remain in the hoses or tank which can cause serious damage and decrease the life of your rubber seals within the unit.
General principles to follow
To make the cleaning process as smooth as possible, follow these principles:
- Always clean the tank out and rinse thoroughly.
- Flush out hoses
- Don’t skip cleaning procedures and steps, even when if weather is not favourable. It’s better to deal with it as soon as possible and get it over with to avoid the risk of contamination in the long run.
- When disposing of the cleaning solution after the spray operation has been completed, make sure you do it in a suitable location, and definitely away from catchment areas.
Tips on how to clean your spray unit
There are some golden rules when it comes to cleaning and servicing your spray system.
- Water is your friend
As usual when cleaning pretty much anything, using water (lots of it) is vital for cleaning spray systems. All water used must be free of suspended organic matter or clay, as some chemicals are deactivated when in contact with these materials and can cause blockages in your spray system.
While some herbicides can be eliminated with just water, not all of them are washed away so easily, and you’ll often need some kind of specific cleaning product for those. For getting rid of pesticides from spray equipment, water by itself generally won’t be enough, and it’ll have to be mixed with different cleaning agents or commercial cleaners. We recommend using our Quik Flush solution. Designed to prolong the working life of the pump and other components, the low emulsifying and wetting agent will rinse all internal (and external) components to reduce the damaging effects of agricultural chemicals, particularly on the rubber components. Make sure you follow the chemical label on each of them, as they will give you an indication of which product to use.
- Rinse the tank
Rinsing the tank is a step you can’t miss, as it is where most of the residue will stay. First, refill the tank with water and discharge it into a sump. Then, refill the tank again with the cleaning solution (Quik Flush) (this is usually a mixture of water and the corresponding cleaning agent). Once the solution is inside the tank, agitate it, and discharge it through the hoses or sprays into the sump. The use of Quik Flush in your Quik Spray unit will extend the life of your pump diaphragms, pump valves, pressure controlled diaphragm, swivel O-rings, spray gun seals and your spray hose.
Using Quik Flush in your spray system will:
- Reduce the frequency with which diaphragms, seals and O-rings need replacement.
- Reduce the “down-time” expenses associated with replacing components.
- Reduce your frustration by not “blowing” a diaphragm halfway through that “must-do” job, (as often!).
Finally, wash the tank again with water and repeat the discharging process again. Use Quik Flush once a week, so that all Quik Spray components that come into contact with chemicals are cleaned and lubricated at least once per week. This will significantly reduce the ageing, “brittling” effect, so prevalent with uncleaned components.
- Check the one-way valves
When cleaning, you need to pay attention to the valves that go out of the washout tank. Checking the valves will help you ensure that your wash out water is clean and prevent contaminants from entering the tank.
In order to effectively clean the equipment, you’ll have to leave it in for a while, while agitating the sprayer. You’ll also have to pay special attention to the spray lines as well. Add one bottle of Quik Flush to 50L of water. Run on bypass for ten minutes which will flush through the pump and back into the tank, circulating the solution. From here, pressurise the system so the pump will push the solution through the hose. Open the guns and run the tank dry so the solution flows through the hoses and out the guns. This will ensure the solution lubricates everything from the tank, to the pump, to the hoses and the guns.
Keep your system in good shape
Cleaning your spray system is vital for the correct functionality of your equipment. No matter how well-made, well-installed or good-quality the system is, if it’s not regularly maintained, you will end up experiencing issues that can result in irreparable damage.