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Cleaning and sanitation questions

Hello,

I was wondering what are some of the best practices for cleaning and sanitation. I use PBW for cleaning and Star-san for sanitation.

Should you clean with PBW before using equipment, after using dirty equipment, or both? How long does cleaning with PBW last before you have to clean the equipment again?

For example, if I clean my equipment right now PBW, how long can I wait until I can sanitize and use the equipment for a batch? 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week?

Also, how does this apply to bottling? I’ve been cleaning my bottles right before sanitizing them and bottling straight away. It makes it a long process, so it would be nice to know if I can break this up into multiple days. For example, clean the bottles Monday with PBW, then on Tuesday/Wednesday/Whateverday sanitize and bottle.

With regards to cleaning, I always clean equipment before and after use, I clean my bottles and store them in a sealed plastic container but mine have swing caps for reuse. I then sanitise them before use.

The actual act of cleaning I use to remove visible debris, and then its the sanitizer that kills the bacteria. so in theory if the equipment has no visible debris and isn’t dusty its good to be sanitized.

If you’re using Star-San that’s rinse free so could you not make up a batch and submerge your bottles before use, then you’ll only need to dump the sanitizer back into the batch as you need the bottle.

I don’t know how long a bucket of sanitizer will keep but when I do my blow off tube I leave sanitised liquid out in the air for a couple of days and so far I haven’t had an issue.

I don’t think anyone is sure exactly how long sanitizer lasts but star-san is supposed to leave film so it should be good for a few hours.

I am sure someone on here will offer better information but its better to overcautious than under cautious.

I have also found these threads.

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I clean equipment using water and elbow grease. (In the grand scale of cleaning brewing is an easy mess to clean). Then I sanitize with StanSan. If I am lazy and have to be somewhere I will throw some Oxyclean into the mix. If I am be cautious about Brett I will use some chlorine. I store my empty fermentors filled with Starsan and take some to fill spray bottles to clean other things. When you finally here about a StarSan resistant strain of something, you should bet money I am patient zero on that.

At the end of a brew day I’ll clean everything with OxyClean (poor man’s PBW) then rinse and let dry. When the next brew day comes around I sanitize everything with Star San and just before use. Bottles are a little different. After they are emptied I rinse them to get the crud off the bottom but otherwise don’t wash them. The day before bottling I’ll soak them in OxyClean for an hour. Then bottle-brush clean them, rinse them and sanitize them. I dry them on either a bottle tree or fast-rack so they are upside down and there is very little chance of anything nasty getting inside the bottles before I fill them.

When it comes to sanitation, I completely agree with you…it’s better to be overcautious than under.

Mueller Brau showed use a long, long time ago and in another world… That he had a tub with star san and ice cubes for submerging bottles… Come to think of it… he also bottled from the keg too…
Everything pre boil should be clean… no crumbs or anything… clean looking equipment is… clean… Everything and anything that comes in contact with your brew after the boil… sanitize… I keep a 5 gallon bucket with about 4 gallons in it… keep it covered betwixt brew days… Always scrub in, and quite frequently during your brew day, gravity testing day and bottling/kegging day. 75% of your brew day IS cleaning… Never loose sight of that and you’ll be well on your way good brews! Sneezles61

Seems like a lot of extra work is being done. When a bottle is poured and no residue is seen after rinsing it is clean. Dried then stored in a clean case it will remain clean until bottling day. All that needs to be done before filling is sanitizing.

When some residue remains after rinsing the bottle needs cleaning.

A sulfiter takes a lot of work out of sanitizing. A couple of pumps and the inside of the bottle is coated with Star San solution. Let the excess drip out before filling if there is time. Foam remaining in the bottle will be forced out during filling. Star San is effective until it dries.

Long soaks in a sanitizer like Star San can degrade some plastics and vinyls.

Hot side equipment only needs to be rinsed. The next hot use will sanitize.

Keep it simple

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Similarly, I clean my equipment after using it. Sometimes a warm water rinse and soft cloth scrub is all that’s needed, otherwise an oxyclean/TSP soak followed by a scrub and a triple rinse to make sure that’s all out. Bottles get a good rinse as soon as they are emptied. If there’s a label, or they are suspect, then an oxy soak followed by rinse. They are stored upside down. Bottling day the bottles go in the dishwasher under the sanitizing cycle. Bottling bucket, siphon and racking cane get a starsan rinse.

It doesn’t degrade food safe plastics. After all it comes in an HDPE bottle at full concentration. I haven’t seen it hurt PET or PP plastics. But I have seen it cloud up the tubing attached to my auto syphon with a really long soak.

Me do clean before and after brew day. Day before i do pwb. And elbowcrease. Cleaning. Than use starsan. On brew day. Before i start spray starsan. Once done brewing clean with pwb and rinse with the garden hose

Clean when done, sanitize before use unless it will be boiled. I just do a quick rinse to get any dust out before Star San.

Dish soap works to clean glass carboys and even plastic buckets if you are adventurous.

I’m not sure what happens with vinyl in Star San but after even a short soak it feels slimy. I haven’t noticed any problems but it feels weird.

I’m with @flars. Keep it Simple! Clean after use, sanitize prior to use.

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Lots of great replies here! Looks like I’ve been a bit overcautious. I’m just paranoid about getting a bad batch. I’ve been using PBW on every piece of equipment that I use (before and after brewing), even if it could look clean after a rinse. Good to know I can cut back on the PBW, its expensive!

How do you guys clean your bottle filler? I can’t seem to take mine apart, anyone else have that issue?

I use a siphon pump, tube and bottle filler to fill my bottles, I just submerge mine make sure they fill with fluid (Sometimes need to start siphoning to get rid of air pockets) and then drain it out the end of the bottle filler.

I cant apart my bottle filler but I can disassemble my pump that’s just a screw top.

Just in case

Siphon pump

Bottle Filler

Also im not saying buy new stuff, those are what I use just for reference :slight_smile:

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Cleaning - Remove the build up of grime on your equipment (always after brewing) or inside bottles (yuck)
Sanitizing - kill the germs near 100% - everything after the boil
Sterilizing - kill the germs 100% (not required)

Are you sure you cannot take your bottle wand apart? I just yank mine apart. Handy because it gets hops stuck in it from time to time. I use the spring tip however. Perhaps gravity fed doesn’t work this way.

I have just given mine a pull and twist and its stuck on tight must just be the design

A plastic wall paper tray from Home Depot or the like is handy to soak long items like your bottle filler or a racking cane.

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