Cleaning & Sanitizing 101

Cleaning and Sanitizing 101

Cleaning and Sanitizing 101
by The Beverage People

One of the most important aspects of any fermentation is keeping your equipment sanitary. This article outlines the basic steps and products for keeping it clean.


Rinse and scrub all equipment thoroughly after use. Cleaners are not sanitizers and should not be used as a one step procedure. Always clean and then sanitize. Use a cleaner that doesn’t leave a residue such as;

Sodium Percarbonate (Proxycarb) is an alkaline cleaner and is a great all-purpose cleaner. It contains an oxygen based bleaching agent and is a common component of “color safe” laundry bleaches. The rate of use is typically 1/8-1/2 oz per gallon for general cleaning. See our instructions for usage with maintaining barrels in our wine catalog.


TDC™ an acid cleaner is great for glass. It is unscented and comes in liquid form. Use at the rate of 1/2 Tbs. per 5 gallons of water and rinse thoroughly. PBW™ is an alkaline cleaner like Proxycarb but it doesn’t contain sodium percarbonate so it doesn’t have the same oxygen bleaching capabilities. In addition to the sodium carbonate (soda ash) it contains silicates in place of the phosphates that are in some cleaners. Use at a rate of 3/4 oz –2 oz per gallon of water. * Alternating between these products is a great way to maintain your equipment. * All of these cleaners are safe and environmentally friendly.



To prevent spoilage or contamination by bacteria or wild yeast, you must (after cleaning) sanitize all items that will come into direct contact with your beer, wine, cheese, etc. Equipment may be sanitized by boiling in water for a few minutes; this is a popular technique in cheesemaking. Boiling is not suitable for some glass or plastic items and is awkward for large objects. In those cases, a chemical sanitizer is preferred.

BTF™ is an iodine based, no rinse, sanitizer. Use BTF at a rate of 1 Tbs. per 5 gallons of water. Your water should turn orange in color, and smell like iodine. This is what you want. Submerge your equipment and bottles in the solution for two minutes. Remove items and drain any excess liquid. Once the solution is made, you can use it for a few days. Note: if the water begins to lighten in color and or no longer smells like iodine then you will want to make up a fresh solution, or add more BTF. Extended uses may stain soft plastics such as hose but this has no effect on sanitation.


STARSAN™ is an acid sanitizer and is an alternative to Iodine based sanitizers. It is an effective sanitizer but needs to be handled with care because of its corrosive nature. Prepare a dilution of 1 oz Star San per 5 gallons of water. Keep surface area wet for at least one minute and then allow to air dry, do not rinse after application.