Author Topic: Cleaners  (Read 415 times)

Offline Brewmeisters

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 91
    • View Profile
Cleaners
« on: April 06, 2018, 02:03:39 AM »
What's everyone using for cleaners?
One step came with the kit we bought, and I don't know the difference between the cleaners.
Only the price, is different.


What have the experienced home brewers, (I call them homies) been using?


What works?


What should I avoid?
Are there certain cleaners that may contain a chemical in them that I want to avoid?
When you brew, brew with a happy heart.

Offline Robert

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1670
    • View Profile
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2018, 02:33:06 AM »
Probably a safe bet to buy cleaners sold as brewing cleaning products.   The big category is the alkaline percarbonate/metasiliscate stuff, like PBW, Straight-A,  and others. (Is One Step one of them? EDIT  same general category, alkaline cleaner, checked the MSDS)  Everybody has their fave, and some use OxyClean which is similar but not the same.  (Laundry products may have additives you can't rinse off well, and they may not have the metasilicate.)  You may want to follow alkaline cleaning with an acid rinse to prevent buildup of chalky deposits and beerstone;  an acid sanitizer like StarSan or Saniclean will work. That combo will take care of the grungiest stuff your brewery can produce, and will assure you of spotless bottles and kegs. (Standard procedure for full cleaning:  Hot alkaline cleaner, water rinse, hot acid rinse, water rinse.)

But for everyday light cleaning all you need is dish liquid really.  Unscented, especially if using plastic stuff that scents can easily embed in.

And rinsing everything right away will always make cleaning easier even if you can't get at it right away.

Don't use bleach or anything that may contain it on metal! It is corrosive of stainless and copper, and on aluminum releases explosive hydrogen.  (Other than that, it can be useful in cleaning and sanitizing, but way unfashionable in homebrew circles.)

And don't use anything (cleaner or utensil like a scrubby) that can scratch your surfaces. (Use only scrubbies and cleaners safe for nonstick cookware on plastic and even glass and metal to be safe.)  Once you have scratches and pits, you will not have a surface that can be sanitized; bugs will find a hole to hide in.

And for anything post boil, don't forget to sanitize no matter how clean you got it.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 02:57:13 AM by Robert »
Rob
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline Brewmeisters

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 91
    • View Profile
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2018, 04:37:37 AM »
I've been using IO Star and that stuff is great!
When you brew, brew with a happy heart.

Offline Slowbrew

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2382
  • The Slowly Losing IT Brewery in Urbandale, IA
    • View Profile
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2018, 10:58:30 AM »
The main cleaning/sanitizing chemicals in my brewery anymore are PBW, StarSan and Barkeepers Fried.  Other than that dish soap.

I used One-Step early on because it came with my first kit but it expensive and didn't really work any better the three I use today.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Online Phil_M

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1693
  • Southern Maryland
    • View Profile
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2018, 11:06:56 AM »
PBW always left terrible deposits on my gear, so I switched to Alkaline Brewer's wash and haven't looked back.

Starsan is great for convenience, but I always sanitize the fermenter and plumbing with iodophor. Starsan is really only effective on bacteria, iodine based sanitizers kill everything. For these items iodophor is no more difficult to use than starsan, so why not use the good stuff? Starsan pretty much only lives in a spray bottle for me now, for resanitizing anything that needs a touch up from use after soaking in the iodophor bucket.

BKF works great for passivating stainless too.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline KellerBrauer

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • Bottoms Up!
    • View Profile
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2018, 11:44:00 AM »
Greetings All - I’ve been using a combination of PBW and Oxyclean together for well over three years with great success.  I use roughly 5 oz. of PBW to about 1/2 oz. Oxyclean.  (I think the Oxyclean is responsible for taking care of the buildup of deposits mentioned by another brewer.)  I use StarSan for most of my sanitizing.  In fact I keep a 5 gallon bucket of StarSan solution in my brewery at all times for the quick sanitation of small parts.  I like to use IO San to circulate through my system before brewing after circulating the PBW/Oxyclean mixture I mentioned earlier.  And, as one of the brewers mentioned, I always keep a spray bottle of StarSan handy.

Since I started this regiment a few years ago, I am proud to say I have had zero infection or off flavor issues.
All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. :-)

Offline ethinson

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 453
  • Why is the beer always gone?
    • View Profile
    • River Pirate Brewing Co.
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 11:57:49 AM »

Don't use bleach or anything that may contain it on metal! It is corrosive of stainless and copper, and on aluminum releases explosive hydrogen.  (Other than that, it can be useful in cleaning and sanitizing, but way unfashionable in homebrew circles.)


I was going to say not to use bleach period.  I think the reason it's frowned upon in homebrew circles (that I have heard) is bleach needs to be rinsed off.. so you're just putting "dirty" water back on your equipment, whereas StarSan, Iodophor etc are no rinse.  The other biggie with bleach is free chlorine that can cause chlorophenol off flavors which are not fun (smoke, burnt plastic, rubber, bandaid).

I use PBW and Starsan.  Neither of which I've ever bought since I get them as raffle prizes, judge thank you gifts, etc.  Unscented, color free OxyClean is the same chemicals as PBW.  Possibly in different ratios, but in my experience it works just as well.  It's also way cheaper than PBW. 
SE Portland - AKA Beervana
Captain and Chief Deck Swabber - River Pirate Brewing Co.
Certified BJCP Beer Judge
2015 Oregon Brew Crew Member of the Year

Offline narcout

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1748
  • Los Angeles, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2018, 06:50:03 PM »
General everyday cleaning: dish soap or oxyclean free

More aggressive cleaning: Craftmeister alkaline brewery wash

Sanitizing: Iodophor

Tough spots on stainless steel (burnt wort on kettle bottoms, etc,): Barkeeper's friend
It's too close to home
And it's too near the bone

Offline HighVoltageMan!

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2018, 06:52:31 PM »

Don't use bleach or anything that may contain it on metal! It is corrosive of stainless and copper, and on aluminum releases explosive hydrogen.  (Other than that, it can be useful in cleaning and sanitizing, but way unfashionable in homebrew circles.)


I was going to say not to use bleach period.  I think the reason it's frowned upon in homebrew circles (that I have heard) is bleach needs to be rinsed off.. so you're just putting "dirty" water back on your equipment, whereas StarSan, Iodophor etc are no rinse.  The other biggie with bleach is free chlorine that can cause chlorophenol off flavors which are not fun (smoke, burnt plastic, rubber, bandaid). 

I think when it comes to household bleach, it gets a bad rap from people who don't use it correctly.

It does need to be rinsed of completely and you even have to be aware that even when it'e rinsed out from something like a carboy, there is still some chlorine in the form of gas. Don't ever allow it to be anywhere near your wort/beer. It will be corrosive stainless steel, but the chlorine content needs to be very strong. If it is diluted in water (1/2 cup of bleach per gallon), a quick dunk in the chlorine water won't bother stainless, but most times it's not necessary. I would never use on copper.

That being said, it does have a place in the brewery and can be strong enough to not just sanitize, but disinfect.  I use it when I have old bottles that people have given me that are crusted with mold, old beer, etc. The bleach will kill just about everything in the bottle and remove most of the organic material without harming the glass at all. I rinse at least 3 times and now the bottle is consider clean. A quick dip in Starsan and it's ready for beer.

If you have any plastic, it's a very effective way of getting rid any residual bacteria that may have "embedded" itself in the crevices of the material.

Starsan is still my preferred sanatizer, but when I want to blast something, I use bleach, baby. It's cheap, readily available and very effective.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 06:57:55 PM by HighVoltageMan! »

Offline Wilbur

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
    • View Profile
Re: Cleaners
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2018, 05:18:07 AM »
I get some deposits when I leave stuff on star San. I also have very hard water. I use pbw and oxygen clean free, depending on the unit. Kegs get pbw, Kettles oxy clean.