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Cowboy Cleaner Watch

Keeping Cowboy Cleaners off the street!

Together, we’re keeping Cowboy Cleaners off the street!


Wheelie Bin Cleaning​


Over recent years millions of households (and businesses) across the world have been benefitting from the relatively new service of Wheelie Bin Cleaning, spawning a new cleaning trade and with that thousands of reputable Wheelie Bin Cleaning companies – you’ll find more information about Wheelie Bin Cleaning as a service at the bottom of this page but for now we’ll talk about Cowboys.

Did you know? It is illegal for Wheelie Bin Cleaners to dispose of any waste water in the streets or public rainwater drains, requiring a license to dispose of their effluent water in the public sewer system, and in an approved location! 


As with all businesses there are some basic guidelines and laws in place to ensure the safety of the public, the environment and employees, but cowboys are prepared to flaunt and break these laws daily putting everybody at risk! To become an accredited member of Cowboy Cleaner Watch we simply ask businesses to prove they are following these basic steps, and ask that you ask the same!  

1. Are you a registered Business/Sole Trader? Non-registered businesses typically operator on a ‘cash-in-hand’ basis, meaning they are not regulated and often do not adhere to guidelines or legal practices, putting themselves and the public at risk on a daily basis!

2. Do you have the appropriate Insurances (incl. Public Liability)? Any ‘business’ that does not have the appropriate insurance leaves you without any reassurance and is putting both the public and themselves at risk – an absolute minimum for ANY business!

3. Are you disposing of Waste Water legally? Wheelie Bin Cleaners are not allowed to dump their waste (effluent) water in the drains, and should retain (recycle) the bulk of their waste water before disposing at an approved location, not washing directly into the street! 

Is your Wheelie Bin Cleaner a Cowboy or a Good Guy? Ask them to register as an Accredited Cowboy Cleaner Watch Member and help keep Cowboy Cleaners off the street – point them to this website or click on the Recommend a Good Guy link and we’ll do the rest!

About Wheelie Bin Cleaning

When? Once your wheelie bins have been emptied by the respective authorities a Wheelie Bin Cleaner will arrive to clean your bins, typically on the same day they are emptied although sometimes the day after (subject to logistical restrictions). 

The Wheelie Bin Cleaners (operators) do not typically require you to be home, as long as your wheelie bin is available for them to clean and is empty – if not empty on arrival they will normally attempt to return a little later (their cleaning rounds will be governed by the refuse collections in all the areas they operate)!

How? As its a legal requirement for Wheelie Bin Cleaners to not dump waste water, but to retain/recycle their water they will ideally use bespoke Wheelie Bin Cleaning equipment including a commercial pressure washer and recycle tank – some may use a bespoke trailer whilst others use a custom van, each with the appropriate equipment typically mounted on the vehicles (a simple tank and pressure washer, washing and draining water into the street is NOT an approved method, and those using such methods are likely ‘Cowboys’)  

The cleaner will typically wash the worst of the dirt from the inside of your bin using their pressure washer, and then wipe and dry the bin by hand to finish the job – finally spray with a deodoriser to help battle the recurring smells…

What should it cost? As with all businesses, there are different levels of service and different payment options. Most will require a fixed amount in advance to cover a set amount of cleans, or require a monthly Direct Debit to be setup. Additionally, most companies will offer a discount if paying for more cleans in advance!

The average ‘Cost Per Clean’ is about £5 per wheelie bin, typically varying between £4 and £6, subject to levels of service, location and available discounts! Larger, more established companies may charge a little more (as inclusive of VAT) but will often have better redundancies in place (a staffed office, spare vehicles, equipment and more cleaners).

It is worth considering the cost to run a legal company! To maintain bespoke equipment (trailers can cost upwards of £15,000), usage of large quantities of water, the respective licences / insurance and the means of legal disposal – if you find a service being offered at a price below the average or at a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is! Cowboys are easily able to undercut those that are operating legally, both putting the public at risk but also impacting all the genuine companies trying to provide a safe and legal service!