Best cleaners found in your home to clean bear brewing equipment

Friday, February 10, 2023
You know when you are going to paint a room the key to success is your preparation of the surface to be painted. 

If you are doing the job properly, it's likely that your preparation time is more involved that the actual time it takes to paint your walls.

When Brewing beer, it can pay to keep this principle in mind - you need to prepare your equipment by keeping it cleaned and sanitized - before you get the fun part!

Here's some guidance on what kind of cleaning products you can use with your brewing gear

There are several ways to clean brewing equipment, including using hot water, using chemicals, and using specialized equipment.

Hot water cleaning is one of the most straightforward methods. Simply rinse the equipment with hot water to remove any residue or debris that may be present. For particularly stubborn stains, soaking the equipment in hot water can help to loosen them. This method is best used as a first step in the cleaning process, as it can help to remove any loose debris before other methods are used.

Cleaning with chemicals is a tried and true effective method. 

Common chemicals used in brewing equipment cleaning include sodium percarbonate, trisodium phosphate (TSP), and caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). Sodium percarbonate is a powerful cleaning agent that is often used in combination with hot water. TSP is a strong alkaline cleaner that is often used to remove stubborn stains and is particularly effective in removing mineral deposits. 

Caustic soda is a highly effective cleaning agent that works by breaking down oils and proteins, making it ideal for cleaning equipment that has come into contact with food or beverages.

What's the deal with Sodium Percarbonate?

oxi clean beer equipment

Sodium percarbonate is a strong oxidizing agent that is often used for cleaning and laundry applications. You can probably find some in your house!

It is a combination of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, and when dissolved in water, it releases hydrogen peroxide, which is a powerful cleaning agent.

The science behind the cleaning action of sodium percarbonate is based on oxidation. When hydrogen peroxide is released, it oxidizes the soils and stains on the equipment, breaking them down into smaller, water-soluble components that can be easily rinsed away. This oxidation process effectively removes a wide range of contaminants, including organic matter, minerals, and other materials that can build up on brewing equipment over time.

Sodium percarbonate is commonly found in many household laundry products and can be used as a cleaning agent for brewing equipment. For example, it is often used in combination with hot water to clean kegs, tanks, and other large pieces of equipment. It is a highly effective cleaning agent and can be used to remove a wide range of soils and stains, including mineral deposits and organic matter.

Here are a few examples of laundry brands that contain sodium percarbonate:

TSP, is it worthy of my time to clean with?

It is a white, crystalline powder that is highly soluble in water and forms a strong alkaline solution when dissolved.

The cleaning action of TSP is based on its alkaline nature. The strong alkaline solution effectively removes grease, oils, and other organic matter, as well as mineral deposits and other types of stains. The high pH of the solution also helps to loosen and dissolve soils and stains, making them easier to remove.

TSP is commonly found in many household cleaning products and is often used for cleaning surfaces prior to painting or other types of surface preparation. It is also used in laundry products as a stain remover and degreaser, particularly for removing grease and oil-based stains.

It is important to thoroughly rinse the equipment after using TSP, as the strong alkaline solution can have a corrosive effect on certain materials if not completely removed.

Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) can be found in a variety of cleaning product brands, including but not limited to:
There's a variety of cleaning products that could be used as well.

here are a variety of products and brands that are marketed specifically for cleaning home brew equipment. Some of these products contain one or more of the following chemicals:

PAA (Peracetic Acid): This is a strong oxidizing agent that is often used as a sanitizer for home brewing equipment. It is effective in killing bacteria and yeast, and is often used in a diluted solution to sanitize surfaces prior to brewing. Brands that offer PAA for home brewing include Star San and SaniClean.

PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash): This is a cleaning agent that is specifically formulated for cleaning home brew equipment. It is a blend of sodium percarbonate and other cleaning agents that are effective in removing tough soils and stains from brewing equipment. Brands that offer PBW for home brewing include Five Star Chemicals and Brewer's Best.

Iodophor: This is a sanitizer that is commonly used in the food and beverage industry. It is effective in killing bacteria and yeast, and is often used in a diluted solution to sanitize surfaces prior to brewing. Brands that offer iodophor for home brewing include Five Star Chemicals and Brewer's Best.

Have you heard of the wonder that is Bar Keepers Friend?

Bar Keepers Friend can be used to clean brewing equipment. Bar Keepers Friend is a cleaning product that is formulated with a combination of mild abrasives and cleaning agents to effectively remove tough soils, stains, and mineral deposits from a variety of surfaces, including brewing equipment.

The active ingredient in Bar Keepers Friend is oxalic acid, which is a mild acid that is effective in removing tough stains and mineral deposits. The oxalic acid works by breaking down and dissolving the minerals that have accumulated on the surface of the brewing equipment, which makes it easier to wipe away the soils and stains.

To use Bar Keepers Friend to clean brewing equipment, simply sprinkle a small amount of the product onto a damp cloth or sponge and scrub the surface of the equipment. If necessary, let the product sit on the surface for a few minutes to allow it to penetrate and dissolve the soils and stains. Then rinse the surface thoroughly with water to remove any residual cleaning product.

When using chemical cleaning products, it is important to take safety precautions to protect your hands and eyes. 

Here is a quick guide on how to use these kinds of products safely:
  • Wear protective gloves: When using chemical cleaning products, it is important to wear protective gloves to prevent skin contact. Rubber or latex gloves are recommended, as they provide a barrier between your skin and the cleaning solution.
  • Protect your eyes: To protect your eyes from exposure to chemical cleaning products, wear safety goggles or glasses. This will prevent the cleaning solution from getting into your eyes and causing irritation or injury.
  • Read the label: Before using a chemical cleaning product, read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer's instructions. The label will provide important information on how to use the product safely and effectively, including recommended dilution ratios, application methods, and safety precautions.
  • Ventilate the area: When using chemical cleaning products, it is important to ventilate the area to prevent the buildup of toxic fumes. Open windows or use a fan to circulate air and keep the area well-ventilated.
  • Store chemicals safely: Store chemical cleaning products in a safe, secure location, out of reach of children and your pet Labradoodle. Ensure the container is aptly labelled clearly to identify the contents and follow the manufacturer's instructions for storage and disposal of the product.

Watch those mineral deposits and keep any eye out for 'beer stone'.

Beer stone is a buildup of mineral deposits that can occur on the surface of brewing equipment, particularly in hard water areas. It is primarily composed of calcium oxalate, a mineral that forms as a result of the interaction of calcium ions in the water with oxalic acid, which is a component of beer. Over time, the buildup of beer stone can become thick and difficult to remove, leading to a range of issues in the brewing process, such as clogging of hoses and fittings, affecting the head retention and flavor of beer, and creating a surface that is difficult to clean.

To remove beer stone, you can use a descaler, such as Bar Keepers Friend, or a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP). Simply sprinkle the descaler or TSP on the surface of the equipment, let it sit for a few minutes to allow it to penetrate and dissolve the beer stone, and then rinse the surface thoroughly with water. 

If the buildup of beer stone is particularly thick, you may need to scrub the surface with a strong brush to remove it.

To prevent the formation of beer stone, it is important to clean your brewing equipment regularly and to use a high-quality water softener or reverse osmosis system to remove minerals from the brewing water.


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