Cleaning & Sanitizing your Beer Making Equipment
Cleansers and sanitizers are not the same: cleansers leave your equipment bright and clean; sanitizers keep bacteria and other spoilage organisms under control.
Before you sanitize, everything must be clean. Rinse bottles, primary fermenters and carboys as soon as they are empty to avoid scraping dried, caked-on residue off them later.
Trisodium Phosphate (Saniton)
Sulphites have been used in winemaking for hundreds of years. They are available as potassium metabisulphite and sodium metabisulphite. Not only are they effective sanitizers, they also prevent oxidation in wine.
Dissolve 2 g per litre of warm water (2 tsp. per gal).
Soak equipment for 20 minutes; scrub any stubborn stains.
Rinse well with hot water.
TSP does not sanitize. You must use it in conjunction with a proper sanitizer.
Avoid contact with strong acids and pro- longed contact with aluminum, tin, lead, and zinc since this will produce hydrogen gas.
As well as being a sanitizer, Diversol has the added benefit of being an extremely effective cleaner. Available under a variety of trade names, you'll recognize Diversol because it is a chlorinated pink powder.
Dissolve 3.5 g per litre of cold water (5 tsp. per gal).
Soak stained equipment up to 48 hours.
Rinse thoroughly with hot water.
Fill primary fermenter with Diversol solution (3.5 g per litre of cold water [5 tsp. per gal.]). Fully immerse all equipment: hoses, spoons, bungs, hydrometers, thermometers, airlocks, and primary lid.
Soak equipment for at least 20 min.
Remove lid, rinse carefully (but thoroughly) with hot water and turn it upside-down on the counter. Rinse equipment, placing items inside sanitized lid.
To sanitize a carboy:
With bung in carboy, slosh 9 litres (2 gal.) Diversol solution all around inside.
Repeat twice, with 5 minutes between repetitions. Rinse after 20 min.
Corrodes stainless steel.
Can bleach clothing.
Do not mix with acids, amines, or ammonia. Such a mixture produces dangerous gases.
Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite)
Unscented household bleach can be used as a sanitizer and cleaner. For sanitizing, it is just as effective as Diversol. For cleaning, however, either Diversol or TSP would be preferable.
Mix 2.5 ml per litre of cold water (1 tbsp. per gal.) and follow the cleaning instructions for Diversol (above). When rinsing, remove all traces of chlorine smell.
Using a solution of 5 ml per litre of cold water (1 tbsp. per gal.) follow the cleaning instructions for Diversol (above.)
See above. Don't use scented bleach. Those 'spring fresh' and 'lemony' perfumes will sink into equipment permanently. All subsequent batches will smell and taste like perfume.
If you keep your equipment clean between brews, Iodophor is a great sanitizer. (Your equipment will not be clean if you simply rinse after use. You must use a cleaner, such as TSP.) Iodophor is excellent for stainless steel- which Diversol will corrode- and all other beermaking equipment. Mixed properly and used in a spray bottle, Iodophor is almost magical in its convenience: there's no waiting and no rinsing.
Iodophor does not clean. Use a cleanser such as TSP before sanitizing with Iodophor.
Mix 1 ml per litre of cold water. You must use a syringe for accurate measurement.
Use a spray bottle to coat equipment with solution.
Shake off excess or allow equipment to drain. Do not rinse.
Use the equipment. It's that easy!
When in solution, Iodophor rapidly breaks down. Every time you use it, you must make a fresh solution.
Not effective unless mixed accurately. Use a syringe.
Will not clean dirty or stained equipment.
Hazardous for those with iodine allergies.
Concentrated solution stains skin and fabric.
If you keep your equipment looking, smelling and feeling clean, even when it's not in use, you'll have fewer problems keeping everything sanitized.
Store your clean primary fermenters and carboys closed with a little chlorine solution inside (one capful unscented household bleach per litre cold water). Nothing will grow in them, so sanitizing will be a snap.
If you get tired of scrubbing and sanitizing, remember: lapses in sanitation are responsible for 90% of all homebrewing failures. You can avoid them.