Homebrew Equipment Cleansers and Sanitizers

Cleaning and sanitizing are two different things.

Cleaning is the process of removing soils and oils and minerals from your equipment. There are two methods of cleaning homebrewing equipment: manual and soaking.

Sanitizing means to reduce the amounts of bacteria and microorganisms to levels so that yeast can dominate the fermentation. You should always sanitize as a final step and NEVER RINSE after sanitizing.

Home brewers can attribute the bulk of their failed batches to dirty equipment and botched sanitization. Clean equipment will last longer, function properly and keep off flavors from contaminating subsequent batches of beer.

Cleansers

PBW – PBW stands for Powdered Brewery Wash. This product is widely used in commercial breweries, Brew Pubs and Micro Breweries across the country. Use 1–2 ounces per gallon for cleaning boil kettles, 3/4 of an ounce per gallon for fermenters, kegs and other brewing equipment. Soaking overnight will easily remove stubborn, caked on organic deposits without scrubbing. PBW is environmentally friendly, biodegradeable, and will not harm septic systems and was one of the earliest products originally developed for a large Rocky Mountain brewer who wanted an alkali cleaner which would outperform an acid while not dissolving the copper from their kettles.

No Rinse Oxygen Wash – This cleaner is a great for all around grime and gunk removal. It uses a percarbonate powder (a dry form of hydrogen peroxide) to easily & effectively clean your gear, no rinsing is necessary after use. It’s a powder, which means it works more quickly than other cleaners & drains away in a flash, reducing the time it takes to get back to brewing. Use 1 tablespoon of product per 1 gallon of hot water for cleaning.

B-BRITE – This product is excellent for removing stubborn fermentation residues and organic deposits. Also great for removing labels from beer bottles. Use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.

One-Step Cleaner – This environmentally friendly product contains no chlorine, which can leave a film on glassware and corrode stainless steel. Not having Chlorine is especially appealing to Vintners. Requires two minutes of contact time, and no rinsing is necessary. Use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. One time use when used as a final rinse. Works well on plastic and metals. In a closed, clean container, a mixed solution is good for over a month when refrigerated (but let it warm up before you use it).

Sanitizers

SANICLEAN - Saniclean is a final rinse, happens to be acid-based and is non-foaming. As microorganisms cannot thrive in an acid environment, this cleaner is a very popular final rinse in commercial breweries who do not like the foam from such products as Star San. The dosage is 2 oz. for 5 gallons and a contact time of 2 to 3 minutes is required.

Star San – Star San is safe for use on all surfaces, but use caution since it is an acid; contact with soft metals, rubber, and plastic should be kept to a minimum. Star San is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and will not harm septic systems.

IO Star Sanitizer – A low foaming iodophor from Five Star Chemical. To sanitize, spray or immerse equipment with a fresh solution of 1 ounce IO-STAR to 5 gallons cold or lukewarm water (provides 25 ppm titratable iodine). Allow a one minute contact time. When ready to use, drain sanitizing solution. Does not corrode steel or copper.

Considering the time and money you will invest in your brew, dumping the brew is a sad event when contamination can be prevented with a little effort to clean and sanitize.