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 What’s the difference between cleaning and sanitization? Why are they so important to winemaking?

What’s the difference between cleaning and sanitization? Why are they so important to winemaking?

90% of all winemaking failures can be traced to a lapse in cleaning or sanitization and yes, they are two different things.


  • Cleaning chemicals remove visible dirt and residue from your equipment. Some good cleaners are: B-Brite, One Step, PBW, and Easy Clean.
  • Sanitizing is treating your equipment with sanitizing chemicals that will eliminate, or prevent the growth of spoilage organisms. You cannot sanitize anything unless it is clean. Some good sanitizers are IO Star, Star San, and Potassium Metabisulfite.
  • Everything that comes in contact with your wine must be clean, and properly sanitized, from the thermometer to the carboy, from the siphon hose to the bung and airlock. One single lapse could cause an entire batch to turn out poorly.
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