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How careful do you need to be with sanitized items?

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ESPY

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I understand the importance of cleanliness but I've noticed that by default I find myself going to great lengths to keep sanitized items "clean" and was wondering how much of this is necessary.

Here's some examples:

1) Last night I sanitized my carboy thief and then used it to take a sample. When I was finished, I wraped it in a clean towel and left it over night. Now, I'd like to use it again. Should I sanitize it again or not?

2) I use a 1-gal plastic milk jug to partially fill my carboy with water prior to adding the wort. If I let it air dry and cap it after each use, how often do I need to sanitize this jug? What if I don't cap it?

3) If something that is sanitized touches something that is unsanitized, does that immediately contaminate it? Like if I place something in my unsanitized dish rack to dry, is that a problem? Or if I set my racking cane down on an unsanitized countertop. Or the tip of the cane touches the sink while I'm moving it, etc. etc.

I'm tending to err on the side of caution and under these circumstances re-sanitize. But in the interest of saving time and money on sanitizer, I'm wondering if I'm being too paranoid?

SP
 

lostintexas

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i have wondered the same being a newbie and all to brewing. i find myself scrubing pots, hoses, canes, buckets, counters.....

i thought i was maybe being a bit anal myself.
 

Janx

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ESPY said:
1) Last night I sanitized my carboy thief and then used it to take a sample. When I was finished, I wraped it in a clean towel and left it over night. Now, I'd like to use it again. Should I sanitize it again or not?
You should rinse it thoroughly after use, then allow to dry. And you should absolutely sanitize it again before using.

ESPY said:
2) I use a 1-gal plastic milk jug to partially fill my carboy with water prior to adding the wort. If I let it air dry and cap it after each use, how often do I need to sanitize this jug? What if I don't cap it?
You need to sanitize it before each use.


ESPY said:
3) If something that is sanitized touches something that is unsanitized, does that immediately contaminate it? Like if I place something in my unsanitized dish rack to dry, is that a problem? Or if I set my racking cane down on an unsanitized countertop. Or the tip of the cane touches the sink while I'm moving it, etc. etc.
Setting sanitized items down on unsanitized surfaces can definitely contaminate them. Make yourself a tub/bucket/whatever of sanitizer and leave items in it until ready to use. You may get lucky setting down your racking cane on the counter, but one of these days you'll get unlucky.

ESPY said:
I'm tending to err on the side of caution and under these circumstances re-sanitize. But in the interest of saving time and money on sanitizer, I'm wondering if I'm being too paranoid?

SP
Doesn't sound too paranoid at all. Sanitizing is the one area of homebrewing that you truly have to be vigilant. Sanitizer is cheap (at least Iodophor is), and a little lasts a long time. A lost batch of beer can be pretty expensive, not to mention terribly disappointing.
 

Tophe

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I fill my sink with iodophor solution so if i need to resanitize something while brewing its ready to go.

I also try to avoid from using cloth towels and use lots of paper towel. Im a newb too, but i usually open a new roll of paper towel. I figure that is more sanitized than a towel in my house. You cant be too careful with sanitation.
 

D-brewmeister

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My rule is, anything that comes in contact with my beer after it has been cooled below boiling needs to be sanitized, preferably right before I use it. And of course, any beer that has been drawn out for sampling purposes should never be returned to the batch (excepting samples taken durring mashing -- I don't THINK there is too much risk there since the whole wort will be boiled enough to sanitize it). And the bucket of sanitizer to hold your equipment till you need it its a great idea :). That being said, always err on the side of caution, but don't stay up at night worrying about every detail of the batch you just did. Remember that there are no know pathogens that can grow in beer, just little buggers that can give it some off flavors/aromas.
 

Janx

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Good advice on not worrying :)

And I take samples from the mash and pour them back in too. I figure anything pre-boil is safe, but anything post-boil should only touch sanitized equipment.
 

homebrewer_99

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I concur with everything said here.

If you rinse the sugars off of the equipment right after using them then you really don't need to do all that much scrubbing. It should dissolve away with the water and repeated rinses.

If you do have an extra bucket or such that you keep filled with sanitizer then I recommend you get one of those nylon mesh bags to hold your small items in so they don't fall to the bottom. :D You can just hang it from the top of the container into the solution.
 

lostintexas

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how long is the sanatizer active? a few minutes or hours?

i have a "ALE PAIL" that i filled with sanatizer and the brew process may take a couple of hours. am i safe?
 

Dark_Ale

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lostintexas said:
how long is the sanatizer active? a few minutes or hours?

i have a "ALE PAIL" that i filled with sanatizer and the brew process may take a couple of hours. am i safe?
Try to sanatize while your wort is cooling, then cover and put your airlock in thats what I do...No problems thus far. Some times I soak a papertowl in Vodka and put over the airlock hole. I would not leave nutten open to air for 2 hours. Just like they said preboil I dont worry but once you start to cool anything that touches needs to be sanitized. Anything that touches the cool wort, or wart.... santize it, if you take it out sanitize it again. I dont mean to beat a dead horse here, but I had one batch go bad on me cause I was complacent, and thought I could get away with cutting corners. I probably have a few to many homebrews as I always do when I am boiling. Anyway have fun dont make it a painstaking process. Enjoy yourself, have fun.
 

Janx

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lostintexas said:
how long is the sanatizer active? a few minutes or hours?

i have a "ALE PAIL" that i filled with sanatizer and the brew process may take a couple of hours. am i safe?
Hours at least. You're safe. If your pail is filled with sanitizer for a few hours, you're totally cool. We keep iodophor solution in carboys for days sometimes and then rack into them without further sanitizing.

Cheers! :D
 

homebrewer_99

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It's all relative. What you are attempting to do is keep your equipment as sanitary AS POSSIBLE. The key words "AS POSSIBLE".

Techically, as soon as you remove your equipment from the sanitizer it is contaminated again by all the bacteria in the environment (air, surface you lay the equipment on, etc.). You just wouldn't want to like place it on a trash can lid or your oily work bench, etc.

How about your hands? Now there's a dirty place. I usually just sanitize them and rinse them off before handling my equipment. Like a doctor, I don't dry them off because I don't want to get any residual soap from the towels.

So don't sweat about it. :D
 

D-brewmeister

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homebrewer_99 said:
If you do have an extra bucket or such that you keep filled with sanitizer then I recommend you get one of those nylon mesh bags to hold your small items in so they don't fall to the bottom. :D You can just hang it from the top of the container into the solution.
This is a good idea, as I recently broke a Hygrothermometer in my sanitizer bucket, it must have got wacked by a racking tube, or maybe it just hit the bottom too hard. A bag to hold it all would have helped.
 
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