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Old 06-19-2012, 08:55 PM   #1
havokczl
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Default Sandpaper to clean copper tubing

Hello all!
I was recently able to acquire a lengthy amount of copper tubing, for making my 1st IC & was cleaning the outside with little success. I have as of late read more efficient & effective methods for cleaning(vinegar solution, acid cleansers, PBW, etc)
In a good lot of places I wasn't having the best results with just using a soap/comet/water & a green scratch pad. Then I thought, sandpaper to get the thick deposits off. This worked, although it did make it have a slight abrasive appearance.
I also soldered 2 couplings for additional length, from what I've been reading in the forum, soldering shouldn't much bearing on contaminating the wort.
I'm just concerned about the sandpaper job that I did.
Did I shoot myself in the foot by sandpapering or will I be ok? Any thoughts?

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Old 06-19-2012, 10:25 PM   #2
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Just stick it in a bucket of star-san..Nice and shining.Like new

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Old 06-19-2012, 10:32 PM   #3
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Just stick it in a bucket of star-san..Nice and shining.Like new
+1 to this. Its what I do with mine, you just gotta splash the chiller a little bit and its spotless. I used vinegar and baking soda once with success in the past but starsan is so much easier.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:18 PM   #4
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Wal-Mart carries a citric acid cleaner that just shines brass or copper right up. Cheap, too.

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Old 06-20-2012, 12:06 AM   #5
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Straight vinegar for about 15 minutes and it will shine like new!

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Old 06-20-2012, 12:09 AM   #6
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I've used Bar Keeper's Friend ... Abrasive and mildly acidic; cleans copper well, but will scratch ...

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Old 06-20-2012, 12:37 PM   #7
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I'm just concerned about the sandpaper job that I did.
Did I shoot myself in the foot by sandpapering or will I be ok? Any thoughts?
No, not at all. Copper is copper, scratches from sandpaper are not a concern IMHO. If it makes you feel better, it is easy to polish copper.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:19 PM   #8
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you should actually not clean copper until its shiney. the dull appearance is from a protective, much harder, copper oxide coating that forms on it. removing that coating exposes raw elemental copper, which can be poisonous (causes copper poisoning). the only reason its not dangerous is because the yeast will use and remove nearly all of the copper available during fermentation. this is why you never use copper parts post-fermentation.

if you were to drink large amounts of unfermented wort that you brewed with copper, you would likely end up with a high concentration of it in your body.

so its not specifically dangerous to make it shine, but only because the yeast protect you. however, there is no need to remove that beneficial oxide layer. it does happen on its own to some extent when you put the copper in the boiling wort due to the worts acidity, but theres no reason that you should be actively doing it. when you are finished with your wort chiller, hose it off and let it drip dry. thats all that needs to be done.

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Old 06-20-2012, 06:23 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for all the feedback & input. It's been helpful. I already made my coil but I've still got some places with heavy deposits on it. I'm gonna play it safe & try the hot vinegar & water method to see if it will help with those remaining trouble spots. Thanks again all.

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Old 06-20-2012, 06:49 PM   #10
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Did you use lead free solder? Just askin'

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