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Old 03-25-2005, 01:09 AM   #1
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Default Do Cheap Sanitizing Products Exist?

So I've made 4 batches now and I'm starting to feel the pinch when it comes to buying sanitizing powder from the beer supply store. I used Oxyclean on my equipment during the last batch, which seemed to work well based on sips I took while bottling (ie. nothing smelled/tasted foul). That product is cheap enough, but I've heard that it cleans without sanitizing. I'm not really sure what that means, but it doesn't sound good.

I'm also really sheepish about using bleach. I've got plastic buckets for fermenting and I just don't get a good feeling about using such a harsh, basic chemical on them.

Perhaps this should go in the Sanitizing Thread. However, I'm sure that this question has probably been diliberated over to death. So, I thought I'd keep the newbie stuff over on this side of the house.

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Old 03-25-2005, 01:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infantree
So I've made 4 batches now and I'm starting to feel the pinch when it comes to buying sanitizing powder from the beer supply store. I used Oxyclean on my equipment during the last batch, which seemed to work well based on sips I took while bottling (ie. nothing smelled/tasted foul). That product is cheap enough, but I've heard that it cleans without sanitizing. I'm not really sure what that means, but it doesn't sound good.

I'm also really sheepish about using bleach. I've got plastic buckets for fermenting and I just don't get a good feeling about using such a harsh, basic chemical on them.

Perhaps this should go in the Sanitizing Thread. However, I'm sure that this question has probably been diliberated over to death. So, I thought I'd keep the newbie stuff over on this side of the house.

First off, oxyclean is not a sanitizing agent. You can use bleach--its cheap and it definitely kills the bugs. Rinse appropriately though.
However, I'd like to recommend Iodophor. One bottle (16 ounces) runs around 20 bucks or less, but you need very VERY little to sanitize all of your equipment. To make a no-rinse solution with Iodophor, you need only 1/4 of a teaspoon to 1 gallon of water. That is a very minute amount. A bottle of this stuff will last you a very long time and its probably the best thing out there. It has drawbacks though. It will stain clothing (and everything else it touches) and it isn't enviroment friendly (if you are a treehugger, LOL), but it will definitley shape up your brew equipment. I think it also killed my Irish red batch but we won't go there....(I'm kidding about that!)
At any rate--in the long run you'll be glad you didn't skimp on sanitizer. Its probably the most important thing to know about brewing, IMHO.

Hope your batch turns out, and welcome to the forum.
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Old 03-25-2005, 01:40 AM   #3
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Hey orrelse, how is Iodophor not environmentally friendly? I've never heard that or thought about it because iodine seems pretty benign I guess.

I second Iodophor (until I heard I'm killing trees with it). It's very effective and if you go through a restaurant supply, you can get it pretty darn cheaply. Get a gallon from them and you can brew for the rest of your life

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Old 03-25-2005, 02:16 AM   #4
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Hey orrelse, how is Iodophor not environmentally friendly? I've never heard that or thought about it because iodine seems pretty benign I guess.

I second Iodophor (until I heard I'm killing trees with it). It's very effective and if you go through a restaurant supply, you can get it pretty darn cheaply. Get a gallon from them and you can brew for the rest of your life

Sorry Janx, I should have posted my source--I read it in "The Brewmaster's Bible" by Stephen Snyder. I only assume its true based on what I know about Iodphor and Iodine itself:
I know Iodine is an active ingredient in Iodophor, and I know that Iodine (taking me back 16 years to high school biology dude!) is extremely poisonous in large doses. I'm sure the amounts we use for homebrewing is very minute compared to the amounts large breweries and dairies dump each day. However, without knowing a single thing about how these large companies get rid of it--I know they don't just dump it into the drinking water.
I just looked at my bottle of Iodophor and it has a warnign label for disposal on it.
FWIW--bleach is highly unfriendly for the environment as well.
Further (turning out to be a long post!), the book I referenced above says some other popular brewer sanitizing products One-Step and B-brite are not fishy and bunny killers.

HTH
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Old 03-25-2005, 02:30 AM   #5
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Effective and cheap is hydrogen peroxide, I used to buy the quart size bottles for $2 or thereabouts. A couple quarts is enough to sanitize anything is sight, use it for the bucket or carboy then save it to do bottles later. I've since switched to Iodophor, not because it works better it is just easier to work with as I can mix up several gallons at a time.

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Old 03-25-2005, 12:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick reply. I'll definitely check out the Iodophor. Your comment about its connection to Iodine reminded me of when I used to sterilize creek water with it while backpacking. (I finally broke down and bought a purifier about 7 years ago). I do remember the warnings about it being a toxin in large quantities though. However, 20 drops to 2 quarts was the mix back then and it doesn't sound like you're using that high of a concentration...

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Old 03-25-2005, 02:54 PM   #7
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Infantree...that's exactly what I was basing my thinking that it must be harmless on. We used to use it backpacking too. If it's harmless to drink in such low quantities, it must be pretty benign to the environment in totally low quantities. But that was just an assumption and I'm interested in looking into it more.

As far as peroxide, I know it's a very effective sanitizer, but doesn't it work like ozone sanitizers? Where the O3 molecule oxygenates organic material by giving up one of its O atoms? Leaving you with good ole O2. But as such, I always thought it lost its sterilizing power relatively quickly and became harmless O2 and water. Obviously I'm no scientist, though, with that explanation, but I'd be wary about using it if it's been sitting out for a while.

I always wondered about Peroxide for aerating...you can put it in water for plants and they love it because it gets O2 to the roots...not ready to try it on beer until a more scientific mind gives me the lowdown

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Old 03-25-2005, 03:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janx
Infantree...that's exactly what I was basing my thinking that it must be harmless on. We used to use it backpacking too. If it's harmless to drink in such low quantities, it must be pretty benign to the environment in totally low quantities. But that was just an assumption and I'm interested in looking into it more.

The body actually needs certain amounts of iodine--in fact its prevalent in seafood. However, an overdose can be extremely life threatening. How much I don't know. I just know I won't be drinking from the iodophor bottle when I get thirsty, I have homebrew for that.
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Old 03-25-2005, 03:15 PM   #9
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Right on...like iodized salt...

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Old 03-25-2005, 10:45 PM   #10
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chlorox baby....

i used to work at a department of recreation pool in the slum of cleveland and it ain't clean till you poured bleach all over it and scrubbed it.

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