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Is there a hole in your bucket?

A bucket is a great tool. Metal or plastic cup that’s bigger than your head but smaller than your torso; more precisely, a container large enough to hold between 1 and 5 gallons (3.8–19 l) of fluid. A bail, a stiff wire formed into a semicircular shape, is fastened to the rim of the bucket to serve as a handle. High-quality buckets may have a spout plus a small wood or plastic handle centered on the bail.

In the broom closet or under the utility sink. Sold by hardware stores, paint stores, and supermarkets and also available for rental in tool hire establishments. The similarly sized gas can is a hollow container but is enclosed and has two small capped openings.

Primary Uses:
Containing, transporting, and dumping water, solutions of cleaning compounds, and other nonvolatile liquids. Catching fluids that drip from leaky plumbing or roofs. Collecting liquid and solid debris generated during messy jobs in tight spaces. Not to be used for gasoline, paint thinner, and other volatile fluids.

Secondary Uses:
Transporting live lobsters. Dumping water abruptly (or mischievously) on a car, dog, or person. Can be inverted and stood upon to gain additional height; drywall technicians create stilts by taping sneakers onto empty 5-gallon (19 l) joint compound buckets. In social emergencies a clean bucket can be pressed into service for ice (cover with aluminum foil) or for flowers (cover with gift wrap).

Operating Principle:
Gravity. Fluids run downhill to the lowest point, and liquids take the shape of their container.

Buckets used as commercial containers have lids, some of which fit over the rim (e.g., roofing tar), while others fit inside shaped lips (e.g., paint). Large buckets equipped for cleaning floors may have wheels and a built-in mop-squeezing apparatus.

How to Use:
1. Choose a bucket larger than the volume of material you intend to put in it.
2. Position the bucket where you can fill it, or where the unwanted fluid is landing. Make sure the bucket firmly sits level.
3. Fill the bucket (or in the case of descending fluids, allow it to fill) to within a hand’s width of the rim.
4. Lift the bail to transport the full bucket.
5. To empty the bucket, lift the bail with one hand and grasp the near side of the bucket bottom with the other. Tilt the bucket so that its contents spill over the rim, away from you.