Question on sanitizing powder

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Sep 1, 2009
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I have two types of sanitizing powders, one white sodium metabisulphite, one pink chlorinated detergent. Are they both for the same job? what is the difference? where should I use one and where should I use the other?

So far I used metabisulphite to sanitize my equipment, and can't find a place to use the pink stuff, so I was confused why I have two, or maybe one is enough.



Dutch Winemaker
Nov 5, 2006
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Be carefull with any chlorinated stuff.
Rinse well after using.

Any chloor related ingredients will impart off-flavors in your wine
or can harm the yeast with unpredicatble results.

Chlorinated sanitisers are however great for disinfecting
bacteria-contaminated materials.
I use them every now and then to thoroughly clean my
carboys and primaries.
However like stated before rinse very well aftherwards so not to leave any chloor parts behind.

Metabisulphite is a generally used sanitiser in winemaking.
All (temporarely) non-used carboys and primaries I have are filled
with a sulphite solution to keep contamination out.

Our cultivated yeast are more or less sulphite resistant so if you
do not rinse well, the yeast will not have problems like they would have with chlorinated products.

So sodium metabisulphite is safer to use, and chlorinated products disinfect well but have to be used with care.



Senior Member
Nov 5, 2006
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Excellent question isw. I screwed up some of the bottles in my very first batch of wine because I didn't understand the difference between these two.

1. The white powder is Na-meta or sodium metabisulfite. You may wish to switch to K-meta or potassium metabisulfite. It is more popular and more expensive, but actually makes little difference in home winemaking use. It is a contact sanitizer, ie contact with whatever you're sanitizing for 30 seconds or more should do the job. But it is NOT a cleaner.

2. The pink chlorinated powder is Diversol, and goes by many trade names. It requires soaking to be an effective sanitizer. Some folks say as little as 5 minutes, but most say 20 minutes or more. I was originally told 30 minutes. It is also a very effective cleaner. Personally I sometimes use it as a cleaner, but not as a sanitizer. It is very popular with beer makers because it is a stronger sanitizer than K-meta. I know of beer makers who soak their bottles in pink powder overnight as both a cleaner & sanitizer. Make sure to rinse well afterwards.

3. Personally I use an iodine based sanitizer called Iodophor. It's stonger than K-meta, is a contact sanitizer, and has a pleasant aroma. Also, not a cleaner.

How did I screw up? I used the pink powder as a contact sanitizer. Did not soak the bottles. Result? Some bottles went bad after aging a while. They literally stunk when opened. Others were just fine (perhaps they soaked long enough).



NZ Artist
Feb 28, 2009
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I was given both too when I started and wondered the same thing.

I use the pink powder to wash everything and soak if I have the time then I rinse well and soak some stuff in the k-meta while I put an inch or so in my carboys and primaries and seal them up to sanitise for when I need to use them.

So a double dose of sanitising but i feel thats a good thing!

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