As a homeowner, you want to keep weeds out of your lawn, bugs out of your house, keep your lawn free of disease, and countless other things that are needed to maintain a neat and appealing home.
Achieving each one of these tasks often requires the use of a different product that is applied via a sprayer. But with all the different chemicals need for the various pests that you want to eliminate, it brings up the question: can I use that same sprayer for these different herbicides and pesticides?
In short, yes, It is possible to use the same sprayer for herbicides and pesticides. The key is to properly clean out the entire sprayer when switching from one product to another.
There are many factors to consider when using the same sprayer for a variety of chemicals. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the difference between herbicides and pesticides. We will also explain why you need to clean your sprayer, and how to properly do so when switching between different products to ensure that you don’t have negative effects.
What’s The Difference Between Pesticides and Herbicides?
If you are wondering about mixing pesticides and herbicides, it is important to understand the difference. A pesticide is any liquid that is intended to eliminate a pest of any kind, such as bugs, rodents, diseases, weeds, etc. A herbicide is actually a type of pesticide that’s purpose is to eliminate weeds.
Now, just because something is a pesticide or a herbicide, does not necessarily mean that they cannot be mixed. In fact, multiple products are often mixed into one sprayer tank in the agriculture, lawn care, and pest control industries. However, it is important to note that not all products can be mixed without issue.
Why Can’t Some Pesticides Be Mixed?
Pesticides and herbicides are formulated with different chemistries, each designed to target specific types of pests. Mixing certain combinations of these chemicals in the same sprayer can lead to chemical reactions, reduced effectiveness, or even harmful mixtures.
Follow the Label
The label is the law. The first indicator of whether or not it is ok to use the same sprayer for herbicides and pesticides is to examine the specific label instructions regarding their safe handling, application rates, and use of your chemical. It is possible that using the same sprayer for both chemicals might violate these label instructions.
Different Chemical Makeups
Some chemicals don’t mix well and the result can be excessive residue buildup or even sludge. This will obviously make it hard to spray effectively. Even if you are not directly combining liquids within the tank you might have some negative effects. If you do not rinse or clean the tank thoroughly when switching from one product to another, you still can have issues.
Different Target Pests
The most practical reason not to mix or use the same sprayer for pesticides and herbicides is that you will end up with a chemical in the wrong place. Different chemicals are used to achieve different results. One common example is Roundup, which kills weeds and grass, vs herbicides like 2, 4-D which only kill broadleafs (not grasses). If you use Roundup (glyphosate) to spot-spray an area, then put 2,4-D into the sprayer after it is empty, the residual Roundup can kill your grass.
For home and lawn use, it is recommended to have dedicated hand sprayers for herbicides or pesticides that you use often and cannot be mixed with other products. Roundup is a great example, you can label one of your sprayers a “dedicated Roundup sprayer” to ensure no cross-contamination.
If you need to use the same sprayer for different pesticides, you can do so but you need to make sure it is completely cleaned and rinsed properly.
How Do I Clean My Sprayer When Switching Chemicals?
When you finish spraying a product and you are going to start using a different pesticide or herbicide, you need to clean the sprayer. When spraying, you should be using gloves, goggles, and other PPE, this is the same when cleaning the sprayer.
In addition to PPE, you will need a tank neutralizer to ensure that the chemical residue is totally removed from the sprayer. A tank neutralizer or tank cleaner is a product that does just what the name suggests, it neutralizes the remaining chemical in the sprayer.
Begin by emptying any remaining product from the sprayer tank. This should be placed into an appropriate container for proper disposal. You can use an empty chemical jug or another polyethylene container to store your spray mixtures. Be sure to label them so they do not get confused with other products. When disposing, of course, follow all your local regulations and guidelines for chemical disposal.
Then you will want to triple-rinse the sprayer tank. This is a standard procedure for pesticide and agrochemical sprayer maintenance. To do this, Fill the sprayer tank with clean water to about one-fourth of its capacity. Agitate by shaking and swirling the sprayer to ensure thorough coverage inside the tank. Pump up your sprayer, or turn the pump on and run water through the hose and nozzles for a few minutes to rinse out any residue. Repeat this process two more times to ensure the tank is as clean as possible.
Next, add the correct ratio of your tank neutralizer and water to the tank. Repeat the process of agitating the liquid inside the tank then spraying it out the nozzle(s) for a few minutes to clean everything.
Finally, rinse out the sprayer with clean water and rinse off the outside of the sprayer as well. Your sprayer is now ready for safe and effective application of the new product, with no risk of unintended consequences from chemical residues.
To wrap things up, you can definitely use the same sprayer for different herbicides and pesticides in most cases as long as you are properly cleaning the tank. Make sure to check the label on the chemical to ensure that you are following the guidelines.