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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Cleaning Fermenters
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:17 PM   #1
sharp63
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Default Cleaning Fermenters

I suppose this could apply to both primary buckets and better bottles.

What is the best methods for cleaning these guys? Should you use soap or should you use some other chemical? Bleach maybe?

I've been using very light soap and just giving the inside a nice scrub with a washcloth. I just feel like the soap may not be enough and could also linger around and effect future batches' taste.


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Old 09-14-2009, 03:20 PM   #2
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Oxyclean or similar. PBW or Straight A work even better but cost more. I never scrub plastic as you can scratch it. Hot water with those cleaners will remove everything from fermentation with scrubbing. Rinse well when done and sanitize before use.


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Old 09-14-2009, 03:50 PM   #3
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Oxyclean or similar. PBW or Straight A work even better but cost more. I never scrub plastic as you can scratch it. Hot water with those cleaners will remove everything from fermentation with scrubbing. Rinse well when done and sanitize before use.
+1 On no scrubbing. You will be giving those little micro biological nasties a nice place to hide.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:37 PM   #4
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Use Oxyclean FREE (an oxyclean with no dyes or detergents). If you want an added kick, use 3/4 Oxyclean and 1/4 TSP, (TSP is Trisodium phosphate, found at any hardware store in the paint section).

Put those in with hot water. Let sit for a few hours, (up to 24...some people have problems with "spotting" after 24 hours, which is hard water deposits). Dump out most of the mixture, then swirl the remaining mixture around. If you have some really sticky bits, put in a small washcloth and swirl with that.

Don't use a brush.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:32 PM   #5
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Oxiclean FREE, soak overnight, and rinse with a blast of high pressure water from a hose. rinse well.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:10 PM   #6
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This is definitely overkill, but I just devised something last night to do this without any scrubbing. I basically put one of these pumps

- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

in a 5 gallon home depot bucket filled with oxyclean diluted in water. (The pump was on sale for probably ~$35).

I put a small piece of PVC on the pump outlet (pointing up), then put a carboy, corny, bucket, whatever upside down over the PVC outlet. Turn the pump on, and the thing is completely clean in a minute flat (I did this so that I could clean a lot of items in a row at one time, and I was sick of waiting a day or more for the Oxyclean to do its thing on its own. I'd wager you can do the same thing with StarSan in the bucket to give it a sanitization stage--haven't done that yet though.

I plan on putting together a similar pumping system for the corny in/out posts, but with a small pond pump or something--the one I have is WAY too much for that application I think...
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Old 09-15-2009, 01:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munsoned View Post
This is definitely overkill, but I just devised something last night to do this without any scrubbing. I basically put one of these pumps

- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

in a 5 gallon home depot bucket filled with oxyclean diluted in water. (The pump was on sale for probably ~$35).

I put a small piece of PVC on the pump outlet (pointing up), then put a carboy, corny, bucket, whatever upside down over the PVC outlet. Turn the pump on, and the thing is completely clean in a minute flat (I did this so that I could clean a lot of items in a row at one time, and I was sick of waiting a day or more for the Oxyclean to do its thing on its own. I'd wager you can do the same thing with StarSan in the bucket to give it a sanitization stage--haven't done that yet though.

I plan on putting together a similar pumping system for the corny in/out posts, but with a small pond pump or something--the one I have is WAY too much for that application I think...


I built the same thing a while back... I have 2 separate PVC attachments, one straight for cleaning carboys, buckets, sankes, etc; and one with a couple t's and valves for cleaning corny posts. I run oxyclean free through everything, then rinse with clear water. Last weekend after brewing, I had some left over starsan I had mixed, so ran it through everything. I still need to build some sort of stand to hold various vessels and still have the flow fall back into the tub, but other than that, it works great. I just stick a vessel on it and let it run while I go about doing other things.
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:07 AM   #8
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Oxiclean FREE, soak overnight, and rinse with a blast of high pressure water from a hose. rinse well.
+1

Only a few times have I needed to get to the inside ofa carboy fora light scraping in a few spots!
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Old 09-15-2009, 03:29 PM   #9
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I primary in the generic white HDPE bucket. When I clean, I just wash it out with regular dishwashing detergent and a sponge, and rinse thoroughly (no scratching involved). I use carboys only for secondary, and with both glass and Better Bottles, I use PBW according to directions. Oxi-Clean is not an option for me, as our water is too hard, it will leave a film. PBW is quite effective and economical.

Once one of my buckets acquired a stain (after 20 batches or so- go figure), and I filled it with hot water and about a half-cup of Oxi-Clean. That made it nice & white again, but the stain was back after more fermenting. I the figured that the stain couldn't hurt the beer, and if it smells like hops, so does beer, right? So I just clean & sanitize now, and forget the rest.


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