I'm digging a basement with an excavator. It's been some rain, and so the dirt is caking in the bucket. I clean it when I have to, but it's a pain. Any tips for dealing with it?

  • Dig in drier ground? Have you tried bumping the bucket on the ground to knock the caked dirt loose? Might work, might not. The don't call it manual labor for nothing... ;-) Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 1:43
  • Only other thought I've got is to have someone standing; by to blast it with a pressure washer, though more water may just make the problem worse.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 2:43
  • Well it wasn't quite so bad since it didn't rain today.
    – RLZaleski
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 3:17

2 Answers 2


If you can get the bucket clean and dry, a coat of paste wax will help, but for how long is debatable, and unknowable in practice unless you make the experiment.

Ideally wait for better weather, but that's difficult with rented equipment and/or deadlines. Be careful how hard you "bump on the ground" - it is possible to rather expensively break things with excess enthusiasm and the power of hydrualics. Sometimes just wiggling the bucket or boom in the air will get things to unload, with far less risk of damage.

  • Love the "excess enthusiasm and the power of hydraulics" comment. Totally agree, and I was definitely not advocating, you know, raising the bucket way up in the air and hammering it down hard or anything like that. ;-) Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 21:45

Spray the bucket down with WD-40, or similar. You'll have to reapply quite often, but it does help a bit (especially in clay).

Alternatively, hire a laborer to scrape the bucket clean after every couple scoops.

  • This sounds sane, to me. And if it is in clay, the "bump the bucket on the ground" solution isn't likely to buy you too much, since between clay is going to be sticking to the bucket like glue. They don't call it manual labor for nothing... Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 21:46

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