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Odd question.... cleaner vs sanitizer

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gitmo234

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Weird question, I know, but I've played with winemaking for a bit, had some great results and some horrible results. Currently have 5 gallons of grapes/juice fermenting.

You'd think i'd have picked this up earlier but before I was getting started on this batch I was picking up some stuff at a brewing store. I noticed on the rack there was cleaner and sanitizer. Then it hit me. I've been using cleaner on all my stuff, but not sanitizer.

Could this have been a cause of some of my mixed results? Right now I'm guessing its some combo of that, well water that had a bacterial infection, along with some other issues.
 

Donatelo

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I always boil the well water at my house if I'm going to put it in wine, must or whatever.
When we were kids, we used to drink the well water straight from the well. It had wiggle tails in it and we just brushed them aside, but we weren't making wine. You need good water.
 

cmason1957

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In winemaking there are two distinct steps. Cleaning, that is removing any visible grit and grim. I think it takes some kind of elbow grease to remove (that might be mechanical). I use bleach free oxyclean or its generic equivalent. Sanitizing, this is accomplished using either metabisulphite (potassium or sodium), star San or an acid based sanitizer. This kills the stuff you can't see (or at least makes the environment harsh enough it can't multiply in your wine. There are products that claim to do both, but I have never used them.
 

DoctorCAD

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In winemaking there are two distinct steps. Cleaning, that is removing any visible grit and grim. I think it takes some kind of elbow grease to remove (that might be mechanical). I use bleach free oxyclean or its generic equivalent. Sanitizing, this is accomplished using either metabisulphite (potassium or sodium), star San or an acid based sanitizer. This kills the stuff you can't see (or at least makes the environment harsh enough it can't multiply in your wine. There are products that claim to do both, but I have never used them.
I like this...cleaner for things you can see, sanitizer for thing you can't.
 

Scooter68

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Also be aware that once mixed almost all sanitizer and some cleaning solutions have a limited useful life measured in hours in some cases to weeks in other cases. Unfortunately most manufacturers don't put that information right on the containers. So whatever you chose, read up on how long your cleaner or sanitizer will last once mixed.

And I like DoctorCAD's phrase. But when in doubt do both and be safe. After spending your time, effort and money on a batch of wine it would be a shame to contaminate it with a tool or container that isn't properly cleaned and sanitized.
 

Noontime

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Agree with Scooter68, always do both (although I didn't take DoctorCAD's phrase as direction, but as purpose). We clean and sanitize everything we use during the wine making, and then clean everything when we're done. So everything gets cleaned before we use it and after so it gets stored clean, and everything touching the wine has been sanitized as well.
 

gitmo234

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Some good info here. My basic procedures could use some clean up (pun intended).

What I do is get a 5 gallon bucket (usually a fermenter I'm not using), fill it full of hot water and cleaning solution. Soak and clean for a few minutes or however long and get everything clean.

Once I'm done I dump that and use the same bucket and do the same with sanitizer but the water's hot. I know its well mixed and measured because of how quick it will find any minor paper cuts I may have on my hands. I'll then soak everything in that for a few minutes.

Anything I have that is in regular contact (large spoon, cap punch, etc) is sanitized, used, then washed off in steaming hot water that burns to touch, and hung from a few stainless steel hooks I have hanging from the ceiling. If they'll be used multiple times through out the day, I take them down each time, wash them in scalding water and repeat. Sounds like I should re-sanitize them too. I usually only sanitize them in the morning each day.

Stuff that is irregularly touch the wine (ie not a few times a day) is sanitized every time.
 

Scooter68

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What Sanitizer are you using? Products like Starsan and several others should NOT be rinsed off.
Many of the current products made for brewers/wine makers are designed to be left on things and NOT be rinsed.
Unless truly sterilized by boiling, using hot water to rinse is basically undoing the sanitizers work.
I would also read what the manufacturer of the sanitizer product recommends. Heating up some products may actually defeat their effectiveness. (Products like One Step are similar to Hydrogen Peroxide - heating breaks them down rapidly rendering them useless.)

When in doubt read and heed the instructions faithfully.
 

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