Cleaning glass carboys

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Rocky

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I would like to throw this out for some input. What are your "go to" methods for cleaning glass carboys with old stains. I bought one recently on Craig's List, the price was right for a 5 gallon ($5 American) and it had some cloudiness on the inside. Thinking I could find a way to clean it, I went for the deal. Silly me!

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The only thing I have that will reach down into the carboy is one of those carboy brushes. Except for the lightest of debris, I find them about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. I am considering one of those drill-mounted cleaners with the foam like strips that work by centrifugal force. They seem rather expensive ($30) for what they are and I have read mixed reviews on their performance and longevity. I note that they also sell replacement pads for $14, which leads me to believe they are not durable. Here is the carboy in question.

Somewhere in the past, I rigged my own drill-mounted cleaner by buying a large, straight brush and cutting off the end piece used to hold it. The brush fit in my drill and worked fairly well. Here is the brush I used.

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Any other ideas? Thank you.
 
I would like to throw this out for some input. What are your "go to" methods for cleaning glass carboys with old stains. I bought one recently on Craig's List, the price was right for a 5 gallon ($5 American) and it had some cloudiness on the inside. Thinking I could find a way to clean it, I went for the deal. Silly me!

View attachment 108269 View attachment 108270 View attachment 108271

The only thing I have that will reach down into the carboy is one of those carboy brushes. Except for the lightest of debris, I find them about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. I am considering one of those drill-mounted cleaners with the foam like strips that work by centrifugal force. They seem rather expensive ($30) for what they are and I have read mixed reviews on their performance and longevity. I note that they also sell replacement pads for $14, which leads me to believe they are not durable. Here is the carboy in question.

Somewhere in the past, I rigged my own drill-mounted cleaner by buying a large, straight brush and cutting off the end piece used to hold it. The brush fit in my drill and worked fairly well. Here is the brush I used.

View attachment 108272

Any other ideas? Thank you.

I built a carboy/bucket cleaner using a 1/6 HP utility sump pump from Harbor Freight. A couple of copper fittings and that’s about it. Put the pump in a bucket, drill a 4” hole in a bucket lid and there you have it.

I cleaned a neighbors carboy that had extreme stains on it. Took 45 minutes but the job was done. Used PBW cleanser and as hot a water temperature as you can get.

Drill a few extra holes in the perimeter and you can put your siphon canes in to get cleaned as well.

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I am considering one of those drill-mounted cleaners with the foam like strips that work by centrifugal force. They seem rather expensive ($30) for what they are and I have read mixed reviews on their performance and longevity.
I have two of these, sized for bottles and carboys, respectively. IME they work well, but nothing is perfect.

A few years back I purchased 25 and 54 liter demijohns along with a press, and both demijohns had permanent red grape stains in the top 12" of each. I scrubbed with a carboy sized bristle brush (like the one you modified for drill use) except it's got an L bend in it. The stain would not come out.

Then I tried One Step, and along with more scrubbing with the drill mounted unit, the stains were removed.
 
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The end of my drill mount carboy cleaner has abrasive pads that help clean the inside. I'd love to have 1-2 more but I can't find them on the internet or remember where I purchased it. Most of the new cleaners do not have the pads on the end.
 

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Here’s the working end, I just drilled holes in a copper end cap.

View attachment 108274
Brilliant design, Bob. Is there any particular reason you used copper? Would there be any problem if I used PVC?
What volume of "One Step" and water did you mix and put in the bucket? Is this the pump you use?

1/6 HP Submersible Utility Pump 1600 GPH

How does the One Step and water get into the siphon and cane? I am not understanding that. Thanks.
 
Brilliant design, Bob. Is there any particular reason you used copper? Would there be any problem if I used PVC?
What volume of "One Step" and water did you mix and put in the bucket? Is this the pump you use?

1/6 HP Submersible Utility Pump 1600 GPH

How does the One Step and water get into the siphon and cane? I am not understanding that. Thanks.
I use copper because I know how to solder and can find the fittings at any big box store.
I use the amount of cleanser in the instructions for the cleanser, eg. 1 TBS per gallon of hot water for my cleanser. Then I put 1 gallon of hot water into the bucket.
The canes are in maybe 4” of cleanser water so only the lower 4” of canes get cleaned. In my experience the lower 1” of the main siphon tube gets a red film on it from racking red wines.

My only caveat is I had one version only last 4 years or so when the pump failed. I think the cleanser may have degraded seals/gaskets internally. That’s why now I buy cheap disposable pumps you’re going to find at HF. Exactly the one you mentioned.
 
Same as Bob, but I think I used a 1/3 HP and just have a straight pvc pipe off the discharge. I also use a 3” coupling to help stabilize the carboy So it doesn’t tip. Wonderful job at cleaning carboys. I plug it into a power strip so I can just click it on or off. Just haven't wired a switch yet.
 
I would like to throw this out for some input. What are your "go to" methods for cleaning glass carboys with old stains. I bought one recently on Craig's List, the price was right for a 5 gallon ($5 American) and it had some cloudiness on the inside. Thinking I could find a way to clean it, I went for the deal. Silly me!

View attachment 108269 View attachment 108270 View attachment 108271

The only thing I have that will reach down into the carboy is one of those carboy brushes. Except for the lightest of debris, I find them about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. I am considering one of those drill-mounted cleaners with the foam like strips that work by centrifugal force. They seem rather expensive ($30) for what they are and I have read mixed reviews on their performance and longevity. I note that they also sell replacement pads for $14, which leads me to believe they are not durable. Here is the carboy in question.

Somewhere in the past, I rigged my own drill-mounted cleaner by buying a large, straight brush and cutting off the end piece used to hold it. The brush fit in my drill and worked fairly well. Here is the brush I used.

View attachment 108272

Any other ideas? Thank you.
Hi Rocky, for a really dirty carboy, especially if I don’t know it’s history, I use Five Star PBW Cleaner. Use hot water and let it soak for about 30 minutes, then hit it with a drill mounted carboy cleaner. It works miracles.
 
Very clever Bob, I'm going to steal your idea but use plastic instead. I want to buy one of those rotating ones but they are a little more than I want to spend.
I rotate my carboy one quarter turn every few minutes, but I don’t think it matters. Once you see the jet blast in action I think you’ll be glad you didn’t shell out $$$ for something fancy.

Keep It Simple Sister.
 
I double checked my ‘how I remembered making it’ and can’t confirm the 1/3 HP pump. I use it via adapter for my fast rack system as well, with a pvc ball valve to throttle down the pump. I don’t have a jet action tip, that will have to be next…!

IMG_3207.jpeg
 
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