Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Should I Clean all equipment w/ Bleach?
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:02 PM   #1
takedown
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Default Should I Clean all equipment w/ Bleach?

I was just looking for advice on doing a complete cleaning of my brewing equipment. After reading a number of posts about losing beers because of infected equipment I wanted to be proactive and do a complete cleaning of all my gear (auto siphon, tubing, ect.). I currently use 5 star No Rinse (which I have recently read isn’t the best sanitizer) to sanitize my equipment. I have done about 10, 5 gallon batches and was wondering if soaking all my gear in a mild bleach solution would be the most effective way to fight off infection.
Advice?


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Old 01-11-2010, 08:05 PM   #2
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Bleach is fine, but using it on stainless steel for long periods of time can cause pitting which could permanently damage it. If you really want a thorough cleaning, use PBW or OxyClean with hot water and do a 1-2 hour soak. Flush with more hot water, then soak in your sanitizer of choice. Bleach in correct amounts is fine, as is Iodophor, StarSan, etc.


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Old 01-11-2010, 08:07 PM   #3
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The problem with using bleach on a regular basis, while at the same time using municipal water, certain minerals in whatever water you use and certain plastics, is that you could build up chloramines in your brewing systems, which could contirbute to off flavors in your beer.

In some situations they work cumulatively by having little bits of chlorine in different parts of the brewing process that your beer may come in contact with, and it builds up and bammo plastic band aid flavor.

It's best to avoid chlorine as much as possible, and in the case of sanitizing ONLY in the most dire situations, like where you know for sure you have an infection.....we call it slash and burning.

I try to limit the amount of contact my gear comes to chlorine and chlorine products.

You really don't need to be hyper paranoid, despite what you may read it really is hard to ruin your beer.

If you read this thread you will see how hardy our beer really is. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/what...t-great-96780/

And in this I present some info on infections to put it in perspective. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/has-...p-batch-96644/
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:08 PM   #4
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I am a big fan of bleach if you have already had an infection.

However, if you have not had an infection, I would not necessarily recommend it. Basically: if there are no bad bugs in your equipment, what is bleaching it going to do?

If you are not happy with your sanitizer, I'd switch to Star San (my preference) or iodophore. Careful attention to sanitation is going to save you from an infection just as well as bleach.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:18 PM   #5
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Cleaning all your equipment is necessary. However, sanitizing everything is not. Any equipment coming into contact with your beer before the boil only needs to be clean. The act of boiling will take care of killing any bacteria or fungus you may have accidentally introduced into the beer. Once you chill the wort, everything has to be cleaned and sanitized. I have not had a problem with using beer brite as a cleaner sanitizer.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:54 PM   #6
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Lots of different responses already demonstrating how personal a decision it is to use bleach. There is no definitive answer here.

I will say this, however -- if you are being literal about cleaning with bleach, there are much better and much less risky (at a number of levels) cleaners out there. PBW and Oxiclean are two VERY popular ones (also my faves).

If used correctly, though, bleach is one of the most effective sanitizers out there. It is not my preferred sanitizer because it is so tricky to use, but many of us used it for years without any problems. Some (e.g., Charlie Tallie from Five Star Chemicals, the inventor of Star San) love bleach and Charlie is even on the record stating that it can be used as a no-rinse sanitizer in brewing (most not that brave myself though).

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Old 01-12-2010, 08:08 PM   #7
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If you are looking to CLEAN, then use PBW or Oxyclean. Even the strongest bleach solution (or any sanitizer for that matter) will not do you any good if your equipment isn't clean first.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takedown View Post
I currently use 5 star No Rinse (which I have recently read isn’t the best sanitizer) to sanitize my equipment.
Where did you read this?
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:22 PM   #9
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I thought real brewers don't use bleach...










Where's usmcruz when we need him now...
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsmith View Post
Where's usmcruz when we need him now...
Hopefully still in Guam.


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