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Cleaning methods for a copper wort chiller

Hey All. Just curious how you get your wort chiller good and clean? I heard that you don’t want to use a course scrubber, bringing the surface to a bright color. Any thoughts?

All I do is give it a good rinse. It self-sterilizes each time it goe in hot wort.

I have heard on one of Jamil’s shows that bacteria can still survive underneath soiled areas…even when boiling to sanitize. I personally have just made it a habit to rinse it off once it comes out of the kettle - with a little sponge cleaning. However, I have seen small areas of dried on hops/break that didn’t come off and wonder if there is a better way to get it really clean.

Don’t worry too much about spots that don’t touch the hot wort. Remember, it’s supposed to conduct heat well, so the entire coil gets hot enough to kill bacteria anyway.

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Once in awhile my IC will get really crusty and make me worry a verdigrin (SP?) so I will drop it in a bucket of PBW for 10 or 15 minutes. It comes out completely clean and shiny. I have only done it twice and recommend you do it outside because I’m not sure the chemical reaction is 100% safe but it does get the copper very clean. The smell is nasty and you will never use the PBW for anything else because the color is, I’ll say, unique.


I should say I have a plastic scrubbie that I’ll hit he top with it is has a lot of trub attached. Generally a good rinsing with a hose is adequate though. The idea that crust prevents sanitation doesn’t hold for heated items anyway. Its true for something like a carboy, but like said above the copper gets hot as Hades and I would guess so does the goop.

I just rinse, wipe any excess crud off, then rinse again.

I’m pretty sure you can soak it in a vinegar or other acidic solution to restore it to shiny cleanliness.

I was so tempted to bust out the “let me google that for you” link, but I’ll resist the temptation.

Here’s some interesting info: Home Made Copper Cleaners

You could always give it a good soak in some StarSan that you’re ready to retire.

I usually just rinse it clean, but every once in awhile, I sit it in some Oxyclean overnight… Makes it good as new-looking!

This is what I do as well.

I’ve hit mine with the green scrubber many times now, but this post made me look it up. Sounds like a PBW soak and/or Star San soak are pretty common “no scrub” methods. Kind of glad to hear this, as scrubbing 'round and in between those coils was a pain. :cheers:

When I had mine, I used soap and a scrubbie, followed by thorough rinsing. The metal may be itself discolored; I didn’t worry about that, just ensured that it was clean of all debris.

I dunk it in a bucket filled with water that was the first runnings out of the chiller. Then I’ll take a rag and pull it between the coils to get crud off. Then give it a rinse. Every once in a while I’ll take a scrubbie and go at some of the discoloration. I’ve wondered if that discoloration causes any off flavors. Doubt it though.

Pull it out and rinse it with the hose right away. Wipe off any residue around the ‘wort line’ dry until next use. The next step is the critical part of my cleaning process…

Drop into boiling wort again as soon as humanly possible!

Mine always looks like a shiny new penny after the boil with the exception of a little crud at the ‘wort line.’


Nothing for the inside, I think it stays pretty clean with each use.
As for the outside of the dishwasher I just use a damp cloth and mild soap I then…

Had to. Cheers.

I’m a big fan of the all-natural type of spray cleaners such as those made by SC Johnson or Seventh Generation,and that’s what I use for my wort chiller,and for the rest of my brew equipment in general.I don’t even touch it with a sponge or scrubber or anything like that.I just spray it,rinse it,and let it dry,simple as that.

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