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Can anyone come up with a good reason why a well-washed and well-rinsed 1-gallon HDPE windshield wiper fluid jug shouldn't be used for drinking water? Yes, I know the wiper fluid contains methyl alcohol which is poisonous and would blind or kill you if you drank it straight up. But methyl alcohol is also highly water soluble and should be sufficiently removed with a good washing and letting jugs sit overnight full of water.

These jugs are sturdy, have a top that won't come off easily, and seem like a good option except for the fact they've held wiper fluid in them. It always feels like such a waste when I put these in the recycle bin...

Any input appreciated,

-AH
 

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Washer fluid in its raw form is 99.8 percent methanol. I have no idea what the .2 percent is. Funny I had the same thought with a kitty litter jug this morning. Seemed kinda wasteful throwing out a nice hdpe2 jug.
 

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Depends on the resin used to make container. I’m sure there is a different standard used when making drinking containers. Containers will probably be expose to much sun which will cause the plastic to release harmful chemicals.
 

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Not really sure I’d like the form factor. I get the desire to reuse something but the design isn’t great for rafting. My squared off jugs strap nicely to the back end of my frames and sit nice and flat, o couldn’t see those jugs being easy to stack/pack.
 

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I have an automotive shop and my mom rinses out the wiper fluid bottles to get water for her dog. She thinks her well water is bad for the dog. Good news....the dogs not dead. It can't be any worse than all the crap they put in city water. Fill em with beer first. That'll rinse em out.
 

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I use 1/2 gallon used OJ containers. Best part is the making of tequila sunrises prior to emptying for river use........
 

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I would make sure to clean out the foam seal that is adhered to the underside of the cap really well, otherwise it won't kill you any faster than another drinking water container that leaches chemicals when exposed to UV. Ingesting chemicals in small amounts is OK because your body can flush most things relatively quickly so long as you don't overload your system. "Slow Death By Rubber Ducky" is an enlightening and surprisingly fun read, given the subject matter.

Generally, I prefer containers that are meant for drinks. We use the half gallon OJ/apple juice containers and then freeze them. Double duty as block ice and brain freeze cold water on day 5. Bulk water goes in our Scepter cans.

https://www.amazon.com/Slow-Death-Rubber-Duck-Everyday/dp/1582437025
 

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I am a chemist and would have no concerns with using the jugs for drinking water. Polyethylene is inert and non-toxic and doesn't leach impurities. It is non-porous and doesn't absorb impurities either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Good news....the dogs not dead. It can't be any worse than all the crap they put in city water.
That may just be good enough for me, along with an esteemed GC guidebook author's endorsement. And jbolson pretty much confirmed what I was thinking. I've used HDPE bottles to sample stuff getting analyzed to the part per trillion level and I know it's some pretty clean material compared to lots of other plastics. And maybe the jug degrades over a couple of years in the sunlight, I'm just looking for something to replace the lab sample jugs I've had for over 10 years...

Appreciate all the replies and now I'm heading to Safeway to get some of that blue-flavored Kool aid!

-AH
 

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I have drank water and other liquids out of a lot worse containers, than washer fluid bottles and I think I'm still ok or am I thinking about beer.
 

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you'll be fine!

Can anyone come up with a good reason why a well-washed and well-rinsed 1-gallon HDPE windshield wiper fluid jug shouldn't be used for drinking water? Yes, I know the wiper fluid contains methyl alcohol which is poisonous and would blind or kill you if you drank it straight up. But methyl alcohol is also highly water soluble and should be sufficiently removed with a good washing and letting jugs sit overnight full of water.

These jugs are sturdy, have a top that won't come off easily, and seem like a good option except for the fact they've held wiper fluid in them. It always feels like such a waste when I put these in the recycle bin...

Any input appreciated,

-AH
A thorough multiple rinse should drop any remaining methyl alcohol to totally safe levels. A new favorite of mine for water containers and also excellent for making ice blocks are 2.5 Gallon DEF jugs. they are nearly cubic so teh ice melts a long time, they're made of heavy plastic and have a good solid top. DEF is just urea so it's not poisonous but I rinse them many times too just to be on the safe side and ensure no residual taste or odor.
here's an abstract from an article discussing safe concentration of methanol, i.e. you should be totally fine:

Defining a tolerable concentration of methanol in alcoholic drinks.
Paine A1, Davan AD.
Author information
Abstract
Methanol, a potent toxicant in humans, occurs naturally at a low level in most alcoholic beverages without causing harm. However, illicit drinks made from "industrial methylated spirits" [5% (v/v) methanol:95% (v/v) ethanol] can cause severe and even fatal illness. Since documentation of a no-adverse-effect level for methanol is nonexistent in the literature a key question, from the public health perspective, is what is the maximum concentration of methanol in an alcoholic drink that an adult human could consume without risking toxicity due to its methanol content? Published information about methanol-intoxicated patients is reviewed and combined with findings in studies in volunteers given small doses of methanol, as well as occupational exposure limits (OELs), to indicate a tolerable ("safe") daily dose of methanol in an adult as 2 g and a toxic dose as 8 g. The simultaneous ingestion of ethanol has no appreciable effect on the proposed "safe" and "toxic" doses when considering exposure over several hours. Thus, assuming that an adult consumes 4 x 25-ml standard measures of a drink containing 40% alcohol by volume over a period of 2 h, the maximum tolerable concentration (MTC) of methanol in such a drink would be 2% (v/v) by volume. However, this value only allows a safety factor of 4 to cover variation in the volume consumed and for the effects of malnutrition (i.e., folate deficiency), ill health and other personal factors (i.e., ethnicity). In contrast, the current EU general limit for naturally occurring methanol of 10 g methanol/l ethanol [which equates to 0.4% (v/v) methanol at 40% alcohol] provides a greater margin of safety.
 

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1 Gal. Crystal Geyser water at the grocery store and they are square, about a $1.50 each. Have the store put them in the freezer before your trip and freeze for a couple days. Ice for your cooler and fresh water to drink. No mess in your cooler and can re-use.
 

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1 Gal. Crystal Geyser water at the grocery store and they are square, about a $1.50 each. Have the store put them in the freezer before your trip and freeze for a couple days. Ice for your cooler and fresh water to drink. No mess in your cooler and can re-use.
I'm not sure if I have this exact product available in Canada, but I like this idea and I'm going to look for something similar.
 
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