Pros and cons of using dishwasing soap to clean brewing equipment

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Keeping brewing equipment clean is an essential aspect of brewing high-quality beer or other beverages. 

We sure go on about it.

and on

and on.

Brewers often look for cost-effective ways to clean their equipment, without compromising on the cleanliness or the quality of their final product. Dishwasher soap is one such option that has gained popularity among brewers due to its effectiveness and convenience. 

In this discussion, we will explore the pros and cons of using dishwasher soap to clean brewing equipment and the importance of maintaining clean equipment to produce high-quality beverages.


Effective cleaning: Dishwasher soap is designed to remove food residue, stains, and oils from dishes and other kitchen equipment. When used on brewing equipment, it can effectively remove any leftover grime, yeast or other residues that may be present. 

We recommend using hot water too - detergents love being used in hot water. 

More bubbles that way too eh?

Convenience: Using dishwasher liquid to clean brewing equipment is a convenient option, particularly for those who already have it on hand in their kitchen. It eliminates the need to purchase additional cleaning products specifically designed for brewing equipment.

You can save time when cleaning brewing equipment, particularly if the equipment is particularly dirty or complex. This is because dishwasher soap is designed to work quickly and effectively.

using liquid soap to clean beer gear


Residue: One of the main concerns with using dishwasher soap to clean brewing equipment is that it can leave behind a residue. Even if the equipment is rinsed thoroughly, there is still a risk that small amounts of the soap residue will remain. This can impact the taste and quality of the beer or other brewed beverages.

Corrosion: Dishwasher soap can be harsh on certain materials, particularly aluminium or other soft metals, and may cause corrosion over time. This can damage the equipment and potentially impact the brewing process.

Rinsing: While rinsing is important for any cleaning process, it is particularly critical when using dishwasher soap on brewing equipment. Even a small amount of soap residue left behind can impact the flavor and quality of the brewed product.

Those are certainly some meaty pros and cons about using dishwashing liquid on your bear gear, but what about actual hard advice from brewers who have been there and done that already?

  1. Brewer John Palmer recommends using a dishwashing detergent like Dawn for cleaning brewing equipment but emphasizes the importance of rinsing thoroughly. He says, "Dishwashing detergents are formulated to be really effective at removing food debris and greasy stains, but they can leave behind a soapy residue. To avoid this, rinse really well with hot water."
  2. In a discussion thread on Reddit, several users recommend using dishwashing detergent for cleaning brewing equipment, but again stress the need to rinse thoroughly. One user says, "I use dish soap to clean everything, including my carboys, with no ill effects. Just make sure to rinse it really well with hot water afterward."
  3. The American Homebrewers Association recommends using a dedicated brewing equipment cleaner if possible, but notes that dishwashing soap can be used as a cheaper alternative. They caution that dishwashing soap can leave behind a residue if not rinsed thoroughly, and that it can be harsh on certain materials such as aluminum.
bear gear clean with liquid soap

Are you seeing a trend here? 

Use but rinse. 

Use but rinse. 

Use but rinse. 

Here are some other ideas to think about. 

  1. Dishwashing soap is effective for removing oils and proteins, but may not be strong enough for tough stains or residues.
  2. Do not use using dishwashing soap on certain materials, such as copper or brass, which can be damaged by the detergent. Be cautious against using dishwashing soap on equipment with porous surfaces that can trap soap residue.
  3. We strongly suggest you avoid any detergents that contain bleach or ammonia
  4. Dishwashing liquid is great for cleaning fermenters and bottles, but not for cleaning mash tuns or kettles. 
  5. Use plenty of hot water and a scrub brush or sponge to remove stubborn residues.
  6. If you suspect you have a build up of beerstone, you'll need tougher chemicals.

Overall, it seems that many brewers have had success using dishwashing soap for cleaning brewing equipment, but it is important to rinse thoroughly to avoid any soapy residue. 


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