home depot bucket and lid

Home depot food grade bucket

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Well-Known Member

I picked up a 5 gallon food grade bucket and lid from home depot, for fermenting 2.3 or 3 gal batches in. (Better size than the 6.5 gal bucket I got with my starter kit).

Just testing it out I found that the lid is very hard to snap in place, and that I now can’t get the dang lid off.

I read of others using these buckets so hoping someone can advise me.

The lid has the tear off strip which I am sure would allow the lid to come off, but my concern is that it looks like removing that strip will remove every second locking “tab” on the lid with it. And I’m not sure if the lid would then be able to close again with an air tight seal.

Well-Known Member
Well-Known Member

Or this – a screw top for food grade home depot / lowe’s type buckets

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member

The bucket lid wrench works well, just go slowly around the lid with it, lifting a little at a time. I pulled too hard on one lid and broke the rim of the bucket. Home Depot sells the wrenches for around $5. They do not work on all lids, however, so try it first in the store.

I also have two screw on lids, but these are even harder to remove. When sealed tight I need a mallet to loosen them, and the ring part that attaches to the bucket is stuck forever. Maybe if I greased the threads with Vaseline, but I am afraid of contamination.

I always loosen my lids a day or two before bottling so any trub stirred up from struggling with the lid gets some time to re-settle.

I picked up a 5 gallon food grade bucket and lid from home depot, for fermenting 2.3 or 3 gal batches in. (Better size than the 6.5 gal bucket I got with my…


Cocktails, Spirits, Science, and. kind of a lot about Ice.

Bartenders Beware the Bright Orange Batch Bucket

February 13, 2017

I’m delighted to see increased awareness of proper food handling and safety in the bartending community, but we still have a way to go. I continue to learn as well.

One issue that came to light recently is the use of non-food-grade buckets for batching cocktails. Five-gallon buckets with lids are light, stackable, portable, and reusable, and have become an industry standard for use at big cocktail conferences and events.

However, some buckets are designated as safe for food handling, and others are not. Probably the most commonly misused bucket is the Home Depot “Homer” bucket in its signature bright orange color. These are not rated safe for handling food.

How Dangerous Are They Really?

How much damage can using this bucket cause? I can’t say with any certainty, but alcohol is an excellent solvent that can leach chemicals out of plastic- and this plastic is dyed orange, while food-safe buckets always seem to be colorless.

Some bartenders have commented that it’s the same type of plastic as buckets rated food-grade, so what gives? Avery Glasser of Bittermens Bitters makes a great point when he says, “Regarding HDPE#2, the resin is food safe, but the dye, the lubricants and the chemical cleaners they use on the line could be mutagenic, carcinogenic or cause renal issues. Some flush out with urine, some stick to your internal fat. That’s why the resin isn’t the indicator for food contact safety, it’s the international food safe symbol.”

He continues, “Think of it like a piece of oak. Inherently, it’s safe to use as a cutting board, but the varnish or stain they use could be hazardous. “

An Easy Solution

On the plus side, when these buckets are used for cocktails they’re not typically used for full-strength or high-proof spirits alone, and get watered down with other cocktail ingredients and kept cool with ice. This will slow down any chemical extraction. Also at events, the booze doesn’t sit around too long in the buckets before use, leaching out chemicals over a long period of time.

Based on this, my guess is that you don’t need to panic if you’ve had drinks made in orange buckets, or if you’ve made them in the past. (I’ve probably had hundreds of them.)

But it’s a learning curve. Going forward, let’s do our best to eliminate non-food-grade plastics at cocktail events.

The good news is that the same Home Depot that sells the orange buckets we’re avoiding also sells five-gallon food-safe buckets! (Perhaps not in the store, but if you order online they’ll deliver it to your local store.)

A note of warning about using non-food-safe plastics to batch cocktails.