Proper Sanitization Dosage

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wineview

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The "web" is international. And Star San is not available in Hungary where I live (as far as I know). So, for me alone, I see little sense in suggesting I use Star San.

And for those that have Star San available, some people may simply like doing things differently. I say tomatoe you say tomatow.....

Also, using Kmeta solutions have other uses such as long term solutions for wood barrel storage.

And so on.

Ergo, it is complicated. What works for one, may not work for another. And at any forum I like to think participants provide a diversity of expertise where each individual wine maker can select the advise they may think that will work best for them.

Hope this helps.
You make some very good points.
 

wineview

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I was just doing a search for this lol. I knew that I read it somewhere before.
So much conflicting information out there. Look what I just found.
Product Details
Our favorite sanitizer! Star San is an acid-based no-rinse sanitizer that is effective and easy to use.
  • Made from food-grade phosphoric acid, safe for people and the environment.
  • Star San is self-foaming, which helps it to penetrate cracks and crevices.
  • Odorless and flavorless, no need to worry about tainting your beer or wine.
  • Does not require rinsing when used at the recommended dilution.
  • Use only 1 oz Star San per 5 gallons of water and just 1 to 2 minutes of contact time.
  • Used as a soaking solution, it can also be applied by hand (wear gloves) or with a spray bottle.
  • Reusable: a solution of Star San will remain effective for up to three to four weeks in a sealed container; it is effective as long as the pH is 3 or lower.
Additional Information
SKU7930 - 8 oz
7932 - 16 oz
7931 - 32 oz
Star San is safe for use on all surfaces, but use caution since it is an acid; contact with soft metals, rubber, and plastic should be kept to a minimum. Star San is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and will not harm septic systems
 

Rembee

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@wineview, I fail to see any conflicting information.
As @balatonwine said, to each their own. I over the years have found that k meta and what ever powdered acid that I have on hand works best for me and my style of wine making. I merely offered up what I use. It is up to every individual to decide for themselves what works best for them. There is nothing wrong with star san. If it works for you in your best practices then I applaud you.
 

CDrew

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Not sure what the conflicting information is, but star-san is excellent stuff. I use it in a spray bottle for sanitizing surfaces, and in liquid form for doing a final rinse of carboys and storage vessels. You do get some foam which puts some people off but makes no difference to the final product. One other tip-I mix it in gallons of distilled water. Using distilled water the solution stays clear and effective for weeks (and likely months) but you use so little to make up the solution, and it's so cheap, that there is no reason not to make up fresh if there is any doubt.

One other thing-I'll put about 2L of the mixed up solution and pour it into a carboy to sanitize. You swirl around and immediately pour into the next carboy and the next. Turn the carboys upside down in a milk crate until needed and let any excess drip out. It works perfectly.

In the end, star-san is very inexpensive, has no noxious smell, and is super safe on your skin, that it's darn near ideal. The only place I don't use is when rinsing bottles just before bottling. For that I use a Metabisulfite solution.

Good luck, don't overthink this. Star-San works great, KMBS solutions work great, use what works best for you.
 

wineview

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@wineview, I fail to see any conflicting information.
As @balatonwine said, to each their own. I over the years have found that k meta and what ever powdered acid that I have on hand works best for me and my style of wine making. I merely offered up what I use. It is up to every individual to decide for themselves what works best for them. There is nothing wrong with star san. If it works for you in your best practices then I applaud you.
I wasn't comparing K-meta to Star San. Sorry if I wasn't clear. My last post pointed out that Star San is reusable and effective for three to four weeks as long as ph is 3 or lower. I was responding to a post that said Star San needed to be used within one hour.
 

stickman

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I've used citric acid K-meta solution for many years and it is a time tested sanitizer that works. These days I don't bother with adding any acid to the solution, I just use 10 to 15 grams k-meta per liter, the shelf life is longer and you get less SO2 vapors without the acid. I use RO water for making the dilution, the water starts at pH around 5.75 and ends up around 4.85 to 5 pH after adding the k-meta. Using these numbers the solution is at 1 to 2 ppm molecular SO2 which is enough to pickle most bacteria. The pH of the solution continues to drop over time as a small amount of sulfite reacts to form sulfate, so this drop in pH actually causes molecular SO2 to increase over time. We just need to sanitize and it's not necessary to go much further, as fresh fruit brings in hundreds to thousands of bacteria per ml. Even when adding standard doses of k-meta to the fresh must, only a portion of the microbes will be suppressed, so the viable bacteria and yeast count is never 0, in fact the remaining bacteria and yeast happen to be the more k-meta resistant strains.
 

winemaker81

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Reusable: a solution of Star San will remain effective for up to three to four weeks in a sealed container; it is effective as long as the pH is 3 or lower.
Note that this claim is by a retailer, not the manufacturer. The Five Star Chemicals FAQ contradicts this:

Frequently Asked Questions | Five Star Chemicals

When the vendor says the product is good for only an hour, I believe it has a very limited lifespan. Five Star has a legal responsibility to itself and the customers to guarantee that the product works as advertised. It's entirely likely that Star San is effective for longer than 1 hour, but the vendor protects itself by making a claim that can be verified.

It may be that the claim is for commercial use, which has strong legal implications for both the vendor and its commercial customers. For the home winemaker? 3 to 4 weeks may be true, but it's also 500 to 600 times the vendor's stated lifespan, so I'm cautious about believing it.
 

wineview

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Note that this claim is by a retailer, not the manufacturer. The Five Star Chemicals FAQ contradicts this:

Frequently Asked Questions | Five Star Chemicals

When the vendor says the product is good for only an hour, I believe it has a very limited lifespan. Five Star has a legal responsibility to itself and the customers to guarantee that the product works as advertised. It's entirely likely that Star San is effective for longer than 1 hour, but the vendor protects itself by making a claim that can be verified.

It may be that the claim is for commercial use, which has strong legal implications for both the vendor and its commercial customers. For the home winemaker? 3 to 4 weeks may be true, but it's also 500 to 600 times the vendor's stated lifespan, so I'm cautious about believing it.
Yes I see that one is a retailer and the other the manufacturer. You make some very good points all of which are valid.
 

balatonwine

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It may be that the claim is for commercial use, which has strong legal implications for both the vendor and its commercial customers. For the home winemaker? 3 to 4 weeks may be true, but it's also 500 to 600 times the vendor's stated lifespan, so I'm cautious about believing it.
Like the "sell by date" on milk, bread, cheese, etc.

What the label says and what you may experience might differ.

Meanwhile, some cheese I have that was suppose to be good till next week is getting fuzzy..... So there are variables to factor in each way..... :slp
 

Scooter68

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@Scooter68 I live in an area where I have well water. I've invested in a pretty good water filtration system which includes a dedicated reverse osmosis system. I've read that using RO water is beneficial when used with K-Meta or Star San. What is your dosage rate with Star San? I know it's 1ounce to 5 gal but do you break it down for a spray bottle?
I use 5 ml in 4 liters of water. If you have a 4 liter glass carboy (From Rossi Wines) that can do for mixing and storage. Technically the proper amount of StarSan is a hair under 5ml / gal but since I'm using a 4 liter carboy (128 oz + 6.9 oz) I just use the 5 ml mark on the quart container the StarSan came with. Just observe how fast your solution goes cloudy. With Starsan that's the visual cue to dump it. It should last several weeks. The other test is a pH test with a digital pH meter. Don't remember the magic number but that's the other 'easy' way to check on the quality of your Star San mix.
Sadly with these concentrated products getting down to quart size measurements can be a real pain unless you have a digital scale that goes down to fractions of oz/grams. I invested in one for k-meta and something else but it became too hard to measure that small and then get all of it out in into the mix you are making. For K-Meta I am lucky that I have a 1/8 tsp measuring spoon and I typically make 3 gallon batches so that works great. For K-Meta into 1 gallon batches I keep campden tablets around since they are pre-measured for 1 gallon.

Hope this is a little help although also wandering a bit too.

As to the life span of Star-San once mixed, I find it hard to understand why they would provide the various methods of checking the viability of the product once mixed if they are actually stating 1 hour. In reading about the product a couple of years ago I never saw that 1 hour statement but then companies change their product info too. IF you also read their FAQs you will see that it's not safe for pets. Obviously that statement seems odd - are they referring to not using it at ALL or what? In a longer version of the FAQs they state that: "Star San will break down into a sugar and dissolve as an extra nutrient in the beer"

Bottom line with sellers and makers providing different data it's hard to know the reality vs the legality sides of the information. If your very protective neighbor had a child with a lot of food allergies and they asked you if your homemade jelly is safe for their child.... how would you answer? That's sort of the situation companies are in nowadays. OH and StarSan is NOT effective against COVID 19, per the EPA.


Exact Quote From the Safety Data Sheet:

15.1. US Federal regulations
This chemical is a pesticide product registered by the Environmental Protection Agency and is subject to cetain labeling requirements under federal pesticide law. These requirements differ form the classification criteria and hazard information required for safety data sheets, and for workplace labels of non-pesticide chemicals. Following is the hazard information as required on the pesticide label.
15.3. US State regulations
This product does not contain any substances known to the state of California to cause cancer, developmental and/or reproductive harm.
 
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balatonwine

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measurements can be a real pain unless you have a digital scale that goes down to fractions of oz/grams
Simply scale up. And then scale down.

If I need to add 2.5 grams of Kmeta to my wine, I do not try to use my scale which will be unreliable at such low weights. Rather I create a 10% sulfite solution adding 100 g of Kmeta to one Liter (1000 g) water, and add 25 ml of this solution. Because.... Math, and I have an accurate graduate cylinder (which requires no batteries -- extra benefit).

Again, the basics of metric base 10 measures works wonders.
 
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mikewatkins727

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Bottom line with sellers and makers providing different data it's hard to know the reality vs the legality sides of the information. If your very protective neighbor had a child with a lot of food allergies and they asked you if your homemade jelly is safe for their child.... how would you answer? That's sort of the situation companies are in nowadays. OH and StarSan is NOT effective against COVID 19, per the EPA.
@Scooter68 you lost me here. Just what is OH ? In my world OH is an abbreviation for the state of Ohio.
 

Eddie_G

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When I'm making a "production run" such as starting a fermentation where I need to sanitize a LOT of stuff, I use Star-San in a gallon jug (and spray bottle). Never had any problems with it. And it doesn't smell bad like K-Meta. I use a spray bottle of K-Meta when I am doing something small, like cleaning out some bottles that friends donated to me.
 

winemaker81

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I find it hard to understand why they would provide the various methods of checking the viability of the product once mixed if they are actually stating 1 hour
As I stated previously, legal protection. My guess is that Five Star can fully guarantee that Star San is fully effective for 1 hour, but not beyond that. It's likely they have a requirement to kill X% of organisms within the 1 to 2 minutes, and if that kill rate drops below a threshold, they have to limit their claim.

Here is one possible explanation for the difference between the manufacturer and retailer claims -- keep in mind this is an illustration that I made up.

Let's say the threshold for organism kill is 95%, e.g., within 1 hour of mixing, Star San kills 95%+ of all organisms with a 2 minute contact timeframe. [I have no idea what the actual number is.]

After 1 hour the mixture degrades so the kill rate drops below 95%, and Five Star can no longer make the guarantee.

Over the next 3 to 4 weeks in a sealed container (spray bottle), the mixture slowly degrades to 50% kill rate. For home winemakers, this is acceptable. Why? We have cleaned and rinsed our equipment, so most organisms are dead and/or removed. The Star San eliminates at least half of what remains, reducing the organism populations enough that they cannot successfully reproduce enough to cause problems. Since the wine suffers no ill effects, the Star San is fully successful for home winemaker needs.

Keep in mind we are not sterilizing anything -- sterilizing is 100% kill. Sanitizing reduces the organism populations enough so they are not a problem.

Another explanation is that one person said, "well, *I* think that Star San is good for a month,", and everyone else parrots it. 😉

The folks that are keeping Star San for 3 to 4 weeks? If you are satisfied, keep doing what you're doing.

IF you also read their FAQs you will see that it's not safe for pets.
According to the product fact sheet -- undiluted, Star San is harmful to the skin -- which makes sense, it's acid. So it makes sense to keep it away from pets. And children. And yourself.

My son looked at the formulation for OneStep, and said it's essentially industrial grade H2O2. He couldn't be sure it was harmful to the skin, but strongly suggested that if I get splashed, to rinse off. Better safe than sorry!

This is equally true for all the adjuncts, cleaning, and sanitizing products we use.
 

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@Scooter68 you lost me here. Just what is OH ? In my world OH is an abbreviation for the state of Ohio.
OK OK Ya caught my delayed release of the shift key. Should have written Oh, As in - Oh, by the way it's not effective against "The Virus."
I guess that declaration was needed because in the early days of the "Pandemic" sanitizers, hand cleaners, surface wipes were so scarce and people were resorting to all manner of methods to clean things.
 

Monty Knapp

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I mix 3 Tbsp K-meta in a gallon jug.
I keep a couple jugs of it ready and fill my spray bottle from them.

I spray down everything with the spray bottle - buckets, lids, spoons, graduated cylinders, hydrometers, bowls, auto-siphons, tygon tubes, .......
I pour kmeta into tygon tubes and work it back and forth to coat the insides.
I use glass pebbles to raise the level of the wine in carboys - they soak in kmeta a while beforehand.
I put corks in a stainless steel bowl and spray them down with kmeta, cover with paper towel and spray it down with kmeta to create a kmeta "gas chamber" for the corks.
After I've cleaned a 6 gallon glass carboy, I pour a gallon of the Kmeta solution into the jug, cover the opening with one hand and shake the carboy. I pour the kmeta back into it's jug and cap the carboy. It's stored with plenty of residual kmeta solution still in it. When I need it, it gets fresh Kmeta rinse.

Seems to work for me.
 

wineview

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I mix 3 Tbsp K-meta in a gallon jug.
I keep a couple jugs of it ready and fill my spray bottle from them.

I spray down everything with the spray bottle - buckets, lids, spoons, graduated cylinders, hydrometers, bowls, auto-siphons, tygon tubes, .......
I pour kmeta into tygon tubes and work it back and forth to coat the insides.
I use glass pebbles to raise the level of the wine in carboys - they soak in kmeta a while beforehand.
I put corks in a stainless steel bowl and spray them down with kmeta, cover with paper towel and spray it down with kmeta to create a kmeta "gas chamber" for the corks.
After I've cleaned a 6 gallon glass carboy, I pour a gallon of the Kmeta solution into the jug, cover the opening with one hand and shake the carboy. I pour the kmeta back into it's jug and cap the carboy. It's stored with plenty of residual kmeta solution still in it. When I need it, it gets fresh Kmeta rinse.

Seems to work for me.
Do you need to rinse the kmeta after spraying? Also, how much contact time is needed to be effective.
 

Monty Knapp

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Do you need to rinse the kmeta after spraying? Also, how much contact time is needed to be effective.
No, rinsing can introduce germs/bacteria.
I've always heard 10 minutes. But for daily stirring and specific gravity checks I have to admit I only give the utensils a minute or 2.
 
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wineview

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No rinsing can introduce germs/bacteria.
I've always heard 10 minutes. But for daily stirring and specific gravity checks I have to admit I only give the utensils a minute or 2.
Yes that makes complete sense. What about the addition of citric acid. I found this and have always been confused about the citric acid addition.


"Put about 2 or 3 inches of water in the bottom of your carboy, then add 1 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite. It is also very important that you add 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid along with it. Without the citric acid, the SO2 will not release readily enough to do the sanitizing."
 
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