Cleaning Carboys

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

pete1325

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
430
Reaction score
75
Location
West of Chicago
Hi, I recently picked up a couple 5 gallon carboys from a garage sale ($15 bucks each), made in Italy, typical of the ones I normally buy new from my local brew shop. One was pretty clean, the other not so clean. The guy used them for making beer so the inside of the one has a film on the inside. I soaped, soaked, scrubbed with a carboy brush and used a paddle on the end of my drill but still not as clean as I'd like. Does anyone know of a solution I can use that will dissolve this film? Thanks.
 

stickman

Veteran Winemaker
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
1,535
Reaction score
1,365
I would first try an alkaline cleaner like Oxyclean free, the drill mounted carboy tool seems to work well with this solution. If an alkaline cleaner doesn't work, you may have to go to an acid based cleaner like one of the lime removers. There is a phosphoric acid based water softener cleaner that works well and is available at most home stores. The Works toilet cleaner is fairly strong and can be used as a last resort, be careful with this stuff, it's stronger than most people realize.
 

Arne

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
4,921
Reaction score
961
Take this for what it is worth. I have used chlorine bleach [Clorox] a couple of times. Don't use it where I make wine and rinse really well afterwards. Havn't had any problem with cork taint afterwards but keep it away from my winemaking. Do not use it as a general rule, just when I can't get the carboy clean with anything else. Arne.
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
PBW cleaning followed by Beerstone remover will definitely get it. Both of those chemicals by FiveStar.
If you want to try stuff that easier to source, you can try some OxyClean free (no perfumes) cleaning, followed by white vinegar.
 

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
3,891
Reaction score
3,044
Location
O'Fallon, MO - Just NorthWest of St. Louis, MO
Take this for what it is worth. I have used chlorine bleach [Clorox] a couple of times. Don't use it where I make wine and rinse really well afterwards. Havn't had any problem with cork taint afterwards but keep it away from my winemaking. Do not use it as a general rule, just when I can't get the carboy clean with anything else. Arne.
I was recently on a tour of one of the larger wineries in Missouri, near St. Louis with the wine club I am a member of. The winemaker was doing the tour, explaining his process. He had been making wine for about 30 years and serves as a consultant to several others. He remarked that he and many other older wineries always use bleach as part of the cleaning process. You can almost imagine the collective gasp from 30 of us. He made the claim that bleach was cast as the bad guy for cork taint by the cork manufacturers, but he had never bought that. Use it, rinse very well, sanitizer (he uses primarily steam for sanitizing).

All that being said, I still don't let bleach into the house,much less anywhere near my winemaking area.
 

vacuumpumpman

Vendor
Sponsor
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
4,040
Reaction score
1,020
l shock
I was recently on a tour of one of the larger wineries in Missouri, near St. Louis with the wine club I am a member of. The winemaker was doing the tour, explaining his process. He had been making wine for about 30 years and serves as a consultant to several others. He remarked that he and many other older wineries always use bleach as part of the cleaning process. You can almost imagine the collective gasp from 30 of us. He made the claim that bleach was cast as the bad guy for cork taint by the cork manufacturers, but he had never bought that. Use it, rinse very well, sanitizer (he uses primarily steam for sanitizing).

All that being said, I still don't let bleach into the house,much less anywhere near my winemaking area.

I wonder if they are using Pyrex glass carboys that can take the thermal shock from steam for sanitizing ?
 

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
3,891
Reaction score
3,044
Location
O'Fallon, MO - Just NorthWest of St. Louis, MO
l shock



I wonder if they are using Pyrex glass carboys that can take the thermal shock from steam for sanitizing ?
Stainless steel and barrels. Now I won't say he used the bleach on the barrels. I didn't think to ask about cleaning of them, but I doubt it. Probably hot water and sulfur sticks.
 

buzi

Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2012
Messages
62
Reaction score
43
Location
Illinois
Stainless steel and barrels. Now I won't say he used the bleach on the barrels. I didn't think to ask about cleaning of them, but I doubt it. Probably hot water and sulfur sticks.
Interesting. Bleach is pretty agressive on stainless steel. It causes it to rust by removing it's protective oxidation. I might use it on glass for a difficult clean but never SS.
 

monty

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
51
Reaction score
29
If i have a carboy with a film that won't come off with normal cleaning processes first I try soaking in oxyclean solution for a few days. If that doesn't work then I'll fill the carboy with a cup of bleach and the rest cold water and let that sit for a few days. That has always done it for me. After the bleach I'll give it a good rinse twice, then wash it as I normally would, and give it two more rinses.
 

BigSell

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
70
Reaction score
13
This may be a little to much for some of you but back when I made beer I would buy 7.5gal acid jigs with the screw on caps for my primary fermenters. So glass is made to ship and store acid. As a last resort I would buy some miratic acid at any hardware or big box store. Pour into the carboy, top off with water let set for a few days. Dump, rinse several times, then soak with a backing soda solution, then rinse again and you will be good to go. Glass will not absorbe the acid, you just need to rinse it completely. AND do all of this out side.
 

pete1325

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
430
Reaction score
75
Location
West of Chicago
I bought this product called Straight A from my local home brew shop, followed the instructions, soaked over night and it worked fine.
 

mainshipfred

Junior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
3,790
Reaction score
2,407
This may be a little to much for some of you but back when I made beer I would buy 7.5gal acid jigs with the screw on caps for my primary fermenters. So glass is made to ship and store acid. As a last resort I would buy some miratic acid at any hardware or big box store. Pour into the carboy, top off with water let set for a few days. Dump, rinse several times, then soak with a backing soda solution, then rinse again and you will be good to go. Glass will not absorbe the acid, you just need to rinse it completely. AND do all of this out side.
I was going to recommend acid myself. You can but 5% muratic easily but was afraid to recommend something that required care. The acid jugs I have appear to be 7 gallon even though the bottom has 30 embossed on it.
 

stickman

Veteran Winemaker
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
1,535
Reaction score
1,365
@mainshipfred Probably 30 liters or about 7.9 gal.

I mentioned The Works because the hydrochloric acid content is in the 15% to 20% range, care needs to taken with this stuff.
 
Last edited:

mainshipfred

Junior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
3,790
Reaction score
2,407
@mainshipfred Probably 30 liters or about 7.9 gal.

I mentioned The Works because the hydrochloric acid content is in the 15% to 20% range, care needs to taken with this stuff.
I'll have to check, a lot of my carboys are calibrated to the nearest gallon since they are all different. I thought I calibrated at least one but I do have 10 of them.
 

Sage

Junior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
663
Reaction score
882
I use a good shot of no rinse cleaner and 2 or 3 big handful of small gravel (crushed rock, not round stuff). It will remove the old caked on stuff. Swirl the carboy until it's clean. Does require strength and care with slippery glass.

Used this on an extremely dirty carboy given to me and another with dryed ??? On the inside. I did give them an hour presoak.

I use the same to clean "free" used bottles. Quickly removes the dry wine in the bottom. Never have had it fail to clean residue.
 

Mizpa

Junior
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
I brew beer, and once in a while a keg of wine - (just cranapple juice, sugar and yeast, nothing complicated), but the krausen from the beer always gave me fits, so I asked a friend what he used in his small-necked carboys - (Nowadays I like the Big-Mouth Bubblers for fermenting my beer, but I've still got a couple of small necked carboys for making wine when I feel like it). He suggested that I go get some Cascade dishwashing powder, (which works great BTW), just let it soak for about 24 hrs. I call it my "Krausen Killer." Try that on your carboy that still won't come as clean as you'd like. Works for me! It also works on those 5 gallon plastic water bottles - 'Better Bottle' - if that's what you've got (I got a free one I use for water when I buy filtered water for a beer brew - easier than trying to filter the well water here!)
Just my 2 Centavos .......
 

Venatorscribe

bucket chemist
Joined
Oct 1, 2016
Messages
241
Reaction score
184
Several avenues you can go down here. The oxyclean one is viable. But my preferred method is 500 mls of one percent k- meta solution commingled with 2 Tb spoons of citric acid. The glass carboy will sparkle up within a few hours. Another method is to use 500 mls of starSan. It will take a little bit longer. But works a treat. The last two options will at least leave your carboy sanitised as will as clean.
 
Top