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Only StarSan for cleaning?

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IEpicDestiny

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Hi very quick question.

I have some VWP steriliser and some ChemSan (StarSan).

When cleaning my equipment can I only use the ChemSan? Or do I need to first use the steriliser?

What's the point of sterilising (VWP) when sanitising (ChemSan) is easier?

Thanks
 

DVCNick

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Starsan doesn't clean, it just kills surface microbes that it touches.
If you don't clean properly before sanitizing with Starsan, microbes will remain and grow on the gunk that you didn't remove.

That is why you have to clean properly first before Starsan can really do its job.
 

coonmanx

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I use Oxi-Clean when I clean my carboy. Then I use a one Tbsp of bleach per gallon water mix to sterilize the carboy. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes or longer and rinse well. Store carboy upside down on a carboy dryer.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Starsan doesn't clean, it just kills surface microbes that it touches.
If you don't clean properly before sanitizing with Starsan, microbes will remain and grow on the gunk that you didn't remove.

That is why you have to clean properly first before Starsan can really do its job.
I did rinse all the gunk off everything with warm water after using everything and I can't see anymore gunk on any of the equipment, do you think it would be fine to just use StarSan after doing this?
 

RPh_Guy

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I did rinse all the gunk off everything with warm water after using everything and I can't see anymore gunk on any of the equipment, do you think it would be fine to just use StarSan after doing this?
No. For cleaning you should soak it overnight with a good cleaning product, something like oxiclean or PBW. Rinse afterwards.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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No. For cleaning you should soak it overnight with a good cleaning product, something like oxiclean or PBW. Rinse afterwards.
Would VWP be okay? And how should I soak the 25 litre fermenter overnight? I am very confused because I see a lot of professional homebrewers only using StarSan to clean their equipment
 

madscientist451

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I did rinse all the gunk off everything with warm water after using everything and I can't see anymore gunk on any of the equipment, do you think it would be fine to just use StarSan after doing this?
Just rinsing with water isn't really good enough, beer and yeast trub have proteins and other things that tend to want to stick to glass, plastic and metal. PBW gets almost everything off if you let it soak. That is what I've found when I've used it, your results may vary. You can use regular dish soap if that's what you have. Make sure you get any soap residue rinsed away.
I don't use any bleach on my brewing gear out of concern I'll get some kind of flavor problem if I don't get it all rinsed.
I'm not familiar with VWP or Chem-san, so I can't comment on that. If you follow the manufacturer's directions, those products should be fine.
 

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Would VWP be okay? And how should I soak the 25 litre fermenter overnight? I am very confused because I see a lot of professional homebrewers only using StarSan to clean their equipment
I cannot speak to VWP because I don't have it but I use PBW with very HOT water to effectively clean all my equipment after use - especially the PET grade fermenters I have as well as the brewing equipment. StarSan is a sanitizer sure, but sanitation REDUCES the microbes up to 99.99% while sterilization effectively kills or inactivates any MICROORGANISMS. Remember just because you cannot see it (like when you clean all visible debris) does not mean the "micro"organisms aren't there. Bottom line, this is not where I want to cut my processes short. in order to kill or inactivate microorganisms you need HEAT and an effective cleaner like PBW. Dentists typically have all their medical equipment sterilized in autoclaves (i.e. heat!) to sterilize the medical equipment prior to use. I personally wouldn't be comfortable if I saw a dentist simply wipe off a utensil from previous use and then spray it with a sanitary spray prior to putting it in my mouth. :) The choice is yours of course, but I am of the opinion that if you continue to use only starsan for all your cleaning needs, it will only be a matter of time before you have an infected batch of beer. Each batch of NEIPAs I brew costs about $40-60 and adding the proper amount of PBW with hot water is a VERY small amount of investment to minimize chances of infection and minimize off-flavors in my beers. BTW: after spraying my fermenter with HOT water and wiping all the debris with a sponge out, I soak it for about 1hr in a PBW mix and then rinse it with HOT tap water again, before I star san it. If your tap water can get hot enough, I don't think you need to soak for 24hrs as the temps will eventually fall and the effectiveness of the solution will likely drop off anyways. Cheers!
 

Alex4mula

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No. For cleaning you should soak it overnight with a good cleaning product, something like oxiclean or PBW. Rinse afterwards.
Whoa! Rinse overnight? Not if you clean it well. I use PBW for all my cleaning. Good scrub and rinse. Just common sense. Starsan before use. Never a problem on 35 brews.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Whoa! Rinse overnight? Not if you clean it well. I use PBW for all my cleaning. Good scrub and rinse. Just common sense. Starsan before use. Never a problem on 35 brews.
Good to know! Would VWP be okay as a replacement for PBW with the same scrub and rinse method? Apparently it uses chlorine.. Not sure what would be the best way to rinse that out completely, definitely don't want chlorine infected beer. I'm hearing alot of bad things about VWP so I'm not sure I want to use it. Would simply using starsan be alright?
 
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RPh_Guy

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Whoa! Rinse overnight? Not if you clean it well. I use PBW for all my cleaning. Good scrub and rinse. Just common sense. Starsan before use. Never a problem on 35 brews.
I'm suggesting to soak over night (cold side equipment) to avoid scrubbing. Some areas simply cannot be scrubbed, and plastic generally shouldn't be "scrubbed", especially with anything abrasive.

"Rinsing" only needs to be short to remove the residue from the cleanser. Ideally you'd also use an acid rinse step.
 

kh54s10

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I usually soak my fermenters overnight but, mostly, nothing else. If it has not been sitting around like a fermenter the crud should not harden and be difficult to get off. Siphons and such get rinsed right away and inspected. If there is anything visible or it has been used a lot it gets an Oxyclean soak. If not just the thorough rinse. Then before any cold side wort touches anything it gets a good spraying or soak with Starsan. No infections in my close to 9 years, and 108 batches + about 20 wines and 1 cider.
 

Noob_Brewer

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This is entirely untrue. Heat does not change the efficacy of sanitizers.
That sentence was not referencing sanitizers like star san, I was referencing for cleaners to be effective, like PBW. If you take my entire sentence into context, is it still not true? I was talking not about sanitation with that part of the sentence.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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I usually soak my fermenters overnight but, mostly, nothing else. If it has not been sitting around like a fermenter the crud should not harden and be difficult to get off. Siphons and such get rinsed right away and inspected. If there is anything visible or it has been used a lot it gets an Oxyclean soak. If not just the thorough rinse. Then before any cold side wort touches anything it gets a good spraying or soak with Starsan. No infections in my close to 9 years, and 108 batches + about 20 wines and 1 cider.
Thanks for the help, what do you soak your fermenters in though? Just water? and how hot does the water need to be? I have only made 1 batch of beer and then rinsed with warm water all the equipment used (got all the sediment out). Would it be alright to just use StarSan for my next brew?
 

RPh_Guy

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Hot water increases how quickly PBW (or any percarbonate-based cleanser) works, and it may increase the effectiveness. However evidence for that last point is lacking.

The package recommends hot water because those are instructions for a 45-minute (or so) cleaning cycle, not 12-24 hours.

Dentists typically have all their medical equipment sterilized in autoclaves (i.e. heat!) to sterilize the medical equipment prior to use. I personally wouldn't be comfortable if I saw a dentist simply wipe off a utensil from previous use and then spray it with a sanitary spray prior to putting it in my mouth.
Autoclaving is to sterilize (not to clean). We don't require sterilization.
We easily sanitize without heat.
 

Noob_Brewer

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Hot water increases how quickly PBW (or any percarbonate-based cleanser) works, and it may increase the effectiveness. However evidence for that last point is lacking.

The package recommends hot water because those are instructions for a 45-minute (or so) cleaning cycle, not 12-24 hours.


Autoclaving is to sterilize (not to clean). We don't require sterilization.
We easily sanitize without heat.
Thanks for the clarification @RPh_Guy! Because my cleaning area used has a lot of traffic with my family, I would rather use PBW with HOT water for a shorter peiord of time rather than using room temps with PBW for 24hrs anyways. Sounds like same effectiveness I guess.

Getting back to the OP now, I would like clarification on this aspect: using star san to sanitize - will not be as effective if the surface of the object is not already cleaned first (using PBW or other cleaning agent). Is this assumption correct? 5-stars website (who make star san and PBW) have in their instructions to make sure the object is cleaned with PBW or other cleaning agent BEFORE star san is applied. Of course this is from the manufacturers website, but Ive always thought that this was best practices anyways.
 

RPh_Guy

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Getting back to the OP now, I would like clarification on this aspect: using star san to sanitize - will not be as effective if the surface of the object is not already cleaned first (using PBW or other cleaning agent). Is this assumption correct? 5-stars website (who make star san and PBW) have in their instructions to make sure the object is cleaned with PBW or other cleaning agent BEFORE star san is applied. Of course this is from the manufacturers website, but Ive always thought that this was best practices anyways.
Yes, exactly. :)
Only clean non-porous surfaces can be chemically sanitized.
 

Nate R

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Hi very quick question.

I have some VWP steriliser and some ChemSan (StarSan).

When cleaning my equipment can I only use the ChemSan? Or do I need to first use the steriliser?

What's the point of sterilising (VWP) when sanitising (ChemSan) is easier?

Thanks
I think you have enough answers already, but to answee your Original Queastion of:

"What's the point of sterilising (VWP) when sanitising (ChemSan) is easier?"

The point is the two step process is our best and oberall easieat method to ensure we have done as much as reasonably possible to make and brew beer without infections (that lead to off flavors or other bad side effects).

Cleaners clean only.
Sanitizets sanitize only.

You cannot sanitize what is not first cleaned.
(Paraphrased from the great Palmer).

My 0.02:
I use hot tap water to help dissolve the pbw i use. (Pbw is a pain to get dissolved).
I srub when i can, let it soak for a bit, then rinse well. The beauty is i can put my gear away until i brew again. Then i just sanitize and done.

There are several different commercial options and several homemade versions you can use.
Search ANY online brew supply store's secrion for "cleaners & sanitizers" you will see them.
Search this forum for "homemade pbw" and you can visit howtobrew.com for a homemade bleach sanitizer recipie.

Welcome to the hobby. Obsession.
 

kh54s10

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Oxyclean, PBW or similar cleaner for cleaning.

Then Starsan, Iodaphor or other sanitizer for Sanitizing

Clean first then sanitize. Do both always.

I get away with just rinsing things like spoons and siphons if I do it right after use. But to be on the safe side I recommend the cleaners.
 

IslandLizard

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Generic Oxyclean has been fine for me for almost 9 years at a lot lower cost.​
Exactly since they are basically the same thing anyway.
FYI, PBW and Oxiclean are NOT "basically the same thing."

Aside from around 70% Sodium PerCarbonate (the main ingredient in OxiClean), PBW contains a substantial percentage (around 30%) of Sodium MetaSilicate, not found in Oxiclean. That last component adds a lot more oomph to the cleaning process, especially when heated.

Also note that PBW does not contain a significant % of Sodium Carbonate (common Washing Soda) as is found in Oxiclean. "Oxiclean generics" are even more suspect of having been cut with a larger % of much cheaper Sodium Carbonate (washing soda).
 

Nate R

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FYI, PBW and Oxiclean are NOT "basically the same thing."

Aside from around 70% Sodium PerCarbonate (the main ingredient in OxiClean), PBW contains a substantial percentage (around 30%) of Sodium MetaSilicate, not found in Oxiclean. That last component adds a lot more oomph to the cleaning process, especially when heated.

Also note that PBW does not contain a significant % of Sodium Carbonate (common Washing Soda) as is found in Oxiclean. "Oxiclean generics" are even more suspect of having been cut with a larger % of much cheaper Sodium Carbonate (washing soda).
Ah yes.... the inevitable "cutting" of powder that i learned about (the hard way) in my early 20's when i was dumb and invincible...
 

Ultryx

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Like other responses mention, Star San is a sanitizer only and not a cleaner. You need to clean and then follow it up with sanitizing. I use Oxi-Clean Free (no perfumes or dyes) to clean my gear.
 

coonmanx

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FYI, PBW and Oxiclean are NOT "basically the same thing."

Aside from around 70% Sodium PerCarbonate (the main ingredient in OxiClean), PBW contains a substantial percentage (around 30%) of Sodium MetaSilicate, not found in Oxiclean. That last component adds a lot more oomph to the cleaning process, especially when heated.

Also note that PBW does not contain a significant % of Sodium Carbonate (common Washing Soda) as is found in Oxiclean. "Oxiclean generics" are even more suspect of having been cut with a larger % of much cheaper Sodium Carbonate (washing soda).
Thanks for the info. I stand corrected. I do use a generic version of Oxiclean when I am cleaning the carboy right after I have transferred out of it. I use hot water and one of those 90 degree brushes. Scrub it down really good, rinse, and then sanitize it immediately or the next day before it heads off to a carboy dryer.
 

RPh_Guy

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Scrub it down really good, rinse, and then sanitize it immediately or the next day before it heads off to a carboy dryer.
What you should be doing there instead of sanitizing is an "acid rinse". That's exactly what it sounds like -- rinse the equipment with a dilute acid. Using a citric acid or phosphoric acid product is fine, but either way it should be rinsed with water afterwards.

The acid rinse helps remove inorganic residue and anything left behind from the cleanser.
 

coonmanx

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What you should be doing there instead of sanitizing is an "acid rinse". That's exactly what it sounds like -- rinse the equipment with a dilute acid. Using a citric acid or phosphoric acid product is fine, but either way it should be rinsed with water afterwards.

The acid rinse helps remove inorganic residue and anything left behind from the cleanser.
I just do what I do and it works great for me. As I said before I sanitize with a mixture of 1 Tbsp. bleach per gallon of water and then rinse well afterwards. Never had any issue at all.

I did say that I rinse before I sanitize....
 

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I do use a generic version of Oxiclean [...]
There's nothing wrong with using a cheap generic Oxiclean for routine cleaning. The washing soda component is a great cleaner/degreaser by itself, especially when warm (be careful with using hot liquids in glass and plastic fermenters). After the percarbonate lost its loosely bound oxygen it becomes washing soda too. The released oxygen helps in destroying organic deposits and content.

I routinely use simply washing soda for all around cleaning brewery equipment, generic Oxiclean where the added oxygen is helpful, and (homemade) PBW where the added benefit of metasilicate counts. Near boiling PBW is very useful in recirculating my plate chiller loop, cleaning the hoses at the same time. I often add some lye (NaOH) to it for extra umph.
 

coonmanx

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I also use StarSan acid sanitizer for both cleaning and sanitizing the keg after use and also for removing any cooked on stuff from the bottom of the brew kettle. The acid sanitizer does have a somewhat oily feel to it so rinsing well after use is very important. Also I use the StarSane acid sanitizer for cleaning around the house... For example the stove top when it gets gunked up. I love the stuff.
 

coonmanx

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Not using Starsan?
No. As I said before I use a very dilute bleach mixture and it works great. Rinse well and there is no flavor imparted to the beer at all. Been using it for over 30 years. LOL. Never had any issue at all. You do know that they are even recommending bleach as a cleaner that is effective against coronavirus....
 

coonmanx

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Byron Burch actually talks about using bleach on page 59 of his book "Brewing Quality Beers". But he talks about it like nobody does it anymore and then suggets iodophor sanitizer instead. I don't remember where I actually first ran upon the suggestion of using bleach for sanitation. It may have been from Papazian. Burch does mention that it could leave a flavor if not rinsed because of questionable water, but I don't have that issue and I do rinse after sanitation and before storing the carboy upside down on a carboy dryer for a few days.

Who knows, I could be the only homebrewer in the world that still uses it but that is OK with me because it is cheap and effective. Suits my needs.
 

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StarSan acid sanitizer for both cleaning and sanitizing the keg
StarSane acid sanitizer for cleaning around the house
Starsan is a rinse free sanitizer, not a cleaner. Its cleaning capabilities, aside from killing bacteria, are near nonexistent.

To paraphrase Palmer: You can't sanitize something that's not clean in the first place, i.e., you can't sanitize dirt.
 

coonmanx

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Starsan is a rinse free sanitizer, not a cleaner. Its cleaning capabilities, aside from killing bacteria, are near nonexistent.

To paraphrase Palmer: You can't sanitize something that's not clean in the first place, i.e., you can't sanitize dirt.
It actually works really good on grease buildup on the stove when used with hot water. You can even use boiling water to give it some extra oomph. It's acid properties are what provide the cleaning properties of it. Phosphoric acid to be exact. You should try it sometime and then come back and comment. Just saying. It works.

I will even use it on a hard to clean plate if there is some buildup on it. A drop or two there and it turns regular dish detergent into super dish detergent. Great stuff. It works much like oven cleaner which also contains an acid. But it has no bad smell.
 

coonmanx

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Starsan is a rinse free sanitizer, not a cleaner. Its cleaning capabilities, aside from killing bacteria, are near nonexistent.

To paraphrase Palmer: You can't sanitize something that's not clean in the first place, i.e., you can't sanitize dirt.
Comment deleted...

But yes it does work well for cleaning walls and other things around the kitchen. Great for removing grime. Try it.

Also I have heard many times from other brewers that they will use it for an overnight soak to remove grunge from various things, especially anything that is stainless steel. When I have transferred my wort to the fermenter I will use a few drops of it on the bottom of the brew kettle. Use a green scrubbie to clean it back up to shiny again. Then rinse well.
 
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coonmanx

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Just wanted to add how I use it with the keg. When the keg is empty and all of the delicious beer has been consumed... I first rinse the keg with water. Then I take a flashlight and look inside. If I see some deposits I take a small dab of Star San on a green scrubbie and reach in and hit those areas. I have fairly skinny arms so maybe that would not work for others but you could also use a long brush. Rinse again. Then I fill the keg with the 1 oz. per 5 gallon mixture of StarSan and let it sit for overnight usually. Use the CO2 to blow it out through the serving hose. When it gets down to about half empty I then usually just dump the rest in the sink. Fill completely with water to rinse and do the same thing. Once it is empty it gets stored upside down and then is sealed off until the next use.
 

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It's fine if that "works" for you and you just don't want to change, but Star San does not adequately remove organic residue and therefore should not be used by itself as a cleanser.
This recommendation is backed by both science and empirical evidence -- plenty of brewers report contamination when using only Star San for cleansing.
 
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