How to Clean and Maintain Your Backpack Sprayer (12 Steps)

Backpack sprayers are a valuable and helpful tool for various tasks, from pest control to fertilizer application. But like any other tool in your arsenal, they require routine care and maintenance.

Cleaning your backpack sprayer and following a routine maintenance schedule will ensure your unit lasts for many years to come.

But how do you clean and maintain your backpack sprayer? Let’s find out.

How Do You Clean a Backpack Sprayer?

Cleaning your backpack sprayer is essential to ensure you get the most out of its lifespan. While the exact cleaning steps may vary based on the model of the sprayer you have, here are the 12 basic steps for cleaning these units:

  1. Get rid of the remaining product in the tank. Dispose of it properly, especially if it contains strong chemicals like herbicides or pesticides.
  2. Rinse the tank to remove excess product by adding water to the tank, capping it, and shaking it vigorously. Ensure you dump the water in a safe place, as there may still be remnants of the chemicals.
  3. Add tank sprayer cleaner to the tank for cleaning and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Alternatively, pour about 6-8 drops of mild dish soap into the tank and fill it most of the way with water. 
  5. Cap the tank and shake it to remove any excess product, and thoroughly clean the inside of the tank.
  6. Spray the soapy solution out of the spray wand to ensure the hose and nozzle are clean, too.
  7. Rinse any residual bubbles from the tank and fill it with clean water.
  8. Spray the clean water through the spray hose to flush residual suds from the hose and nozzle. You may need to repeat this step several times with clean water to get rid of all the bubbles left from the soap. If you used multiple nozzles, switch the nozzle on the spray hose throughout the process to clean each nozzle.
  9. Clean the shut-off valve with warm water to ensure you get rid of any chemical remnants stuck there. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for instructions specific to your model.
  10. Wash the backpack straps with a damp cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. Some models may have a protective layer that prevents chemicals from soaking into the straps, making it easier to wipe them down. If you’re concerned about chemicals soaking into the straps, soak them in soapy water and rinse them thoroughly. Let them air dry and reattach them to the tank.
  11. Wipe down the outside of the spray tank with a cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. Ensure you wipe the entire tank, cap, spray hose, handle, and nozzle to remove any chemical remnants on the system’s exterior.
  12. Let the system dry completely with the lid off the tank to ensure the inside of the tank dries before storage.

In some cases, you may need to follow additional steps as advised by the manufacturer to ensure the system receives a thorough cleaning.

We recommend consulting the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to ensure your system is sparkly clean by the time you’re done!

How Do You Maintain a Backpack Sprayer?

Once you invest in a backpack sprayer, it’s essential to complete regular maintenance to prolong its lifespan. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll end up replacing the unit after a year or two due to premature failure or other issues. So, to ensure your backpack sprayer remains in tip-top shape, follow these tips:

Clean Regularly

Routine cleaning is essential to maintaining a backpack sprayer. If you don’t regularly clean the system, including the tank, nozzle, foot valve, pump, and other components, they may begin to wear out and deteriorate faster than they should (especially if you leave chemicals in the tank).

So, it’s ideal to clean the system regularly. While you don’t necessarily need to deep clean the entire sprayer after each use, you should remove the chemicals from the tank and flush the system. At least once a year or at the end of each spraying season, disassemble and clean the unit.

While you have it disassembled, examine each part for breakage or signs of deterioration. By doing this, you can catch broken pieces before they present an issue for you in the upcoming season and save yourself the headache of disassembling the sprayer again to search for the problem.

Flush After Each Use

It’s best to avoid storing chemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides, in your backpack sprayer’s tank for too long. If you leave these chemicals inside the tank for a long while, like over the winter, it can lead to various issues, including swelling, cracks, and deterioration of the seals.

Since that issue can open the door to more problems, like poor pressure, it’s best to avoid leaving chemicals in your sprayer tank long-term. Ideally, you should avoid leaving any chemicals in the tank at all, even for a few weeks or months.

Remove the remaining chemicals after you finish your task, ensuring you dispose of them properly. This way, your tank will remain empty and clean, ready for the next time you need it. Plus, you won’t have to deal with emptying the tank and flushing it before you use it next time, so it’ll save you the hassle when you need it again.

Store Safely

Keep your backpack sprayer in a cool, dry place, ideally out of the elements. Constant exposure to sunlight, rain, snow, ice, and other forms of inclement weather can deteriorate the sprayer over time, so it’s best to leave it indoors.

After all, who wants to carry a backpack with soggy straps around the yard after forgetting it out in the rain? Not us! So, like any of your other lawn care equipment (think your lawn mower), store your backpack sprayer in a safe place out of the elements.

Follow Manufacturer Instructions

My Backpack Sprayers

Most manufacturers outline specific maintenance guidelines to ensure the sprayer lasts a long time. If your manufacturer offers such guidelines, which you might find in the owner’s manual or troubleshooting guide, ensure you follow them. This will help prolong the lifespan of your backpack sprayer and ensure it operates smoothly for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Backpack Sprayer?

Ideally, you should deep clean your backpack sprayer at least once yearly or after the spraying season. You don’t need to deep clean your backpack sprayer after each use, but you do need to remove residual chemicals and flush the system. This doesn’t take too long but eliminates the hassle of dealing with it when you need to use the sprayer next.

What Do I Need to Use to Clean My Backpack Sprayer?

Generally, warm, soapy water will do the trick and leave your backpack sprayer clean. However, after using certain chemicals, you might need to use something stronger to decontaminate the tank. Some folks use bleach, while others use vinegar.

It’s important to dilute the cleaner and check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you can use it on your backpack sprayer.

If you’re unsure what to use, we recommend using a designated sprayer cleaner, which you can find online and in stores.

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